Natasha Pyeatte

Artistic Director for Dance

Natasha Pyeatte has been dancing non-stop since the age of four, never having imagined doing anything else.  She always knew that she would grow up to be someone who dances and inspires others to dance.

Natasha has extensive professional performance and choreography experience having trained and danced with the Colorado Ballet Academy in Denver; Gotta Dance and The Edge in Los Angeles; Grand Valley Dance Company; and Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction. She has performed with Valerie Madonia, Tony Coppola, Feet First Dance Ensemble, Telluride Repertory Theatre, Telluride Aids Benefit, and the Morgan Wixson Theatre of Santa Monica.  She has choreographed for Magic Circle Theatre of Montrose, Weehawken Dance, Ouray County Players, Telluride Dance Academy, and The Ames Conservatory.

As a committed educator, Natasha has been teaching dance and choreographing since 2001. Her specialties include tap, jazz, ballet, pointe, theatre dance and aerial silks. She has acquired dance instructor training under the direction of Valerie Madonia, current Director of the Colorado Ballet Academy; at Colorado Mesa University; Frequent Flyers Aerial Dance in Boulder, Co; and The American Ballet Theatre in New York. In 2012 Natasha completed her National Training Curriculum certification in all levels of the program. Natasha is an ABT® Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Primary through Level 7 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum.

In addition to her ABT certification, Natasha is currently working on her Pilates certification through Balanced Body with Annette Petit in Telluride. Pilates has been proven to be an ideal form of cross training for dancers to keep them strong, balanced and injury free.  By integrating Pilates exercises into the classroom, Natasha keeps her dancers safe so they can have a long career and healthy body.

Natasha is passionate about the arts and has enjoyed developing the Weehawken Dance program as the Artistic Director since the fall of 2007. Utilizing her endless energy and enthusiasm, she choreographs and produces at least 3 Weehawken Dance performances a year. The communities of Silverton, Ouray, Ridgway and Montrose benefit from her talent in the 20 to 30 classes a week she teaches.  Her insight and vision inspire her students, fellow teachers and volunteers in addition to delighting anyone who sees her in action.

970.318.6674 | natashajeanne@weehawkenarts.org

Kendra Manley with Weehawken Creative Arts

Kendra Manley

Kendra Manley started dancing and tumbling at the age of 2 ½, spending most of her early years at the "Talent Factory" in Claycomo, Missouri.  Later, Kendra traveled all over the United States performing with the "Super Troop" which was part of the opening ceremonies of the 1984 Olympics.

Following in her mother’s footsteps, she cheered for the Kansas City Chiefs in 1996-1997 (her mother cheered for the Chiefs during the first Super Bowl in 1967).

Kendra rediscovered her love of teaching, dancing, and mentoring the youth in the Ouray community when, in 2010, she began working with Weehawken Dance. As a mother of 2, she understands the importance of supporting the adolescence of the community through arts and physical activity. In 2011, Kendra became a certified Zumba instructor, and in 2014 she started practicing aerial dance, which came naturally to this Cross Fit athlete and dancer. Kendra continues to inspire us all by hanging off of silks, playing on the lyra and trapeze, and getting up on stage performing in our Weehawken Dance Productions.

Valerie Kepler

Miss Valerie Kepler comes to us from western Pennsylvania. She has taught all levels and styles of hip hop, as well as jazz-pom classes since 2012. Miss Val's dance background is primarily dance team, performing hip hop, pom, kick-line, & jazz. She danced on her high school and university dance teams, and coached dance team as an adult. She is a certified National Dance Alliance Coach. Teaching authentic, foundational hip hop and history is her passion. Miss Val is also an activist member of the Youth Protection Advocacy in Dance, a group dedicated to ending the exploitation of youth in dance by promoting healthy, age-appropriate movement, clothing, and music. She holds a Master's Degree in Speech-Language Pathology and works in this field with adults on the Western Slope when she's not on the dance floor.

Melissa Demuth

Melissa Demuth has been dancing since the age of 2, and teaching for over 16 years. She has been a dedicated dancer, studying and teaching ballet, pointe, modern, hip-hop and tap. She loves the whole creative process of dance, from movement to choreography to performance. Her passion for dance has also served as an inspiration for her art. She loves integrating the fine arts with dance. She has painted her dances many times, turning movement into canvas artwork and bronze sculpture. She also enjoys creating unique costumes for her dances that enhance the choreography.

Melissa graduated from Colorado Mesa University (formerly Mesa State College) in 2005 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Art and a minor in Dance. She is currently teaching Preschool in Ouray and is excited to share her love for dance with her children's generation!

Autumn Bailey

Autumn found her passion for dance at a later age than most of her counterparts, beginning classes at age 13 with Carol Yearout of Ballet Arts (Kennewick, Washington). She studied ballet and was accepted to their company, Dance in Flight, where she had the opportunity to perform in ballets including “Swan Lake”, “Firebird”, and “Coppelia” as the lead role of Swanilda. She found her love for theatre molded perfectly with her newfound passion!  Before relocating to Colorado for love, Autumn taught ballet to all ages through Dance Connection and Tri Cities Academy of Ballet.

Autumn began teaching ballet with Weehawken Dance in fall of 2015, and has thoroughly enjoyed developing our intermediate ballet students. 

Leeann Rackleff

Leeann Rackleff began dancing at the age of 6 and loved ballet from the very beginning.  She danced through her teen years and into college taking classical ballet, contemporary, and lyrical. She thoroughly enjoyed performing, dancing on pointe, and taking master classes from the Joffrey Ballet. Leeann graduated from Southern Virginia University in 2006 with degrees in nursing and early childhood education.

Dance was put on hold for a while after college while Leeann’s family grew. She married Paul Rackleff and became the mother of two beautiful children.

Since then, Leeann has been back to her first love, ballet! She has been assisting Miss Natasha with her classes since 2014, and began teaching her own classes in the fall of 2015. Preferring to teach the littlest Weehawken dancers, Leeann teaches pre and primary ballet as well as Wee Little Hip Hop at Weehawken Dance in Montrose.

Caroline Richardson, dance instructor with Weehawken

Caroline Richardson

Caroline Richardson was born in Colorado, U.S.A. and trained at  The School of American Ballet~Juilliard,  American Ballet Theater II and  The National Ballet School. She is a former First Soloist with  The National Ballet of Canada and danced with the company for 10 years from 1985 to 1995 beginning her professional career at 17. With  The National Ballet, she performed an extensive contemporary and classical repertoire internationally and worked with many of the world’s leading choreographers: Glen Tetley, William Forsythe, James Kudelka, John  Neumeier, John Alleyne, Christopher House, David Parsons and Robert Desrosiers.  Coaches and teachers include: Eric Bruin, Magdalena Popa, Sergiu Stefanski, Joysanne Sidemus, Reid Anderson, Joanne Nisbet, Roslyn Anderson and Natalia Makarova among others. Aside Caroline also performed as a guest artist at the  Hamburg Ballet 20th Anniversary Gala  under John Neumeier and assisted William Forsythe in the setting of the second detail on  Frankfurt Ballet. 

As an independent dance artist, Caroline has collaborated and performed in many projects creating an impressive body of work.  She has danced in:  Andrea Nann's  Pulse  at the Dancing on the Edge Festival in Vancouver, Toronto’s  Dancer's for Life Benefit~National Commission  and the  Fringe Festival of Independent Dance Artists. Caroline has also performed numerous pieces in the annual  Well World Dance Benefit  in Toronto including the solo  InsideSand  by Peter Chin, Owen Montegue's Arenal and  Salmo Del Viento, Michael Ondaantje’s  The Nine Sentiments {choreographed by Roberto Campanella and Robert Glumbek} as well as her first solo work  Inda~Horses Never Lie with Karen Kain as mentor. She has worked in studio  with Peggy Baker learning selected repertoire and participated in  TheNational Ballet's Choreographic Labs  with dance artist Bill James.  

In her early film work, she began with director Jurgen Lutz’s  A Moving Picture choreographed by Ann Ditchburn featuring Leonard Cohen and  Elimination Dance with Michael Ondaatje and director  Bruce MacDonald. Music videos include work with Jane Sibery, Blue Rodeo, Sarah Mclachlan and Moby.                                                                                                                                                             

Short films have been made of her work in Arenal and Salmo Del Viento both directed by Rob Gray~this gave her “Honorary Mention” for her performance in  Arenal  by the jury of the  Moving Pictures Festival of Dance on Film and Video   in Toronto.  Other films include:  Bone~shot in Tunisia with director Gregory Nixon,  The Rings of Saturn choreographed by Robert Desrosiers/directed by Mose Mossanen and  The Nine Sentiments~part of a CBC film, Shadow Pleasures directed by Veronica Tennant. Her film Horses Never Lie  directed by Kathi Prosser won her  an  American Choreography Award for  Outstanding Achievement in Short Film and was honored by juries from the  Moving Pictures of Dance on Film and Video Festival Toronto, the  Dance on Camera Festival  at Lincoln  Center New York and the  Dance Camera WestFilm Festival  at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles. Caroline  also contributed to the film’s musical score on solo acoustic guitar alongside Greg Keelor of  Blue Rodeo, cellist Anne Bourne of Loreena Mckennitt/Jane Sibery and composer Tom Third. Additional film screenings include:  World Wide Short Film Festival Toronto,  Ultima Oslo Norway,  New Jersey State Film Festival at Cape May,  Screendance Festival Pennsylvania,  High Performance Rodeo Festival Calgary,  Victoria International Film Festival, TTV Festival Bologna Italy, Napolidanza-II Choreographo Festival Italy, Festival Internacional de Video-danza de Buenos Aires Argentina, Edinburgh Film Festival and multiple screenings of  Horses Never Lie  ran at the  2010 Winter Olympics  in Vancouver with containeR. Her most recent film Sacred Earth/Living Temples with director Jan Nickman, premiered at the Patagonia Wild and Scenic Film Festival  and aired on  PBS National U.S.A

Caroline continues to work with dance in film. She also currently teaches and coaches in Colorado for the Palm Arts Dance Program in Telluride, Weehawken Creative Arts in Ridgway and works with numerous schools throughout the United States and Canada in summer dance intensives. 

Wendy Shima

At age 8, Wendy was hooked on dance and theater and began her ballet training in the Cecchetti method of ballet. By college, she had switched to training in the Royal Academy of Dance ballet technique, added jazz classes to her repertoire and went on to dance in musical theater performances such as Kiss Me Kate and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. After college, she completed her Level 1 Orff-Shulwerk Certificate in teaching music and movement, as well as the Phyllis Weikart training in international folk dance, and has worked with those techniques in her Montessori classroom to teach music and dance for over 25 years. Over the past year, she has been assisting Miss Natasha with her ballet level 2/3 class and loving every minute of returning to ballet. Wendy and her husband also currently teach Lindy Hop Swing classes for adults.

Emma Gould

Emma Gould has been a student at Weehawken dance since 2008, and in that time has proven herself to be a dedicated dancer, class assistant to Miss Natasha, and role model to the younger students in the Weehawken program. Her most notable lead roles with Weehawken Dance include:  Alice in "Alice in Wonderland" 2009, Snow Queen in "Nutcracker Sweets" 2013, Cheshire Cat in "Alice in Wonderland" 2014,  the Sugar Plum Fairy in "The Nutcracker" 2015, and the Wicked Witch of the West in "The Wizard of Oz" 2016.

After being brought up in Weehawken Dance with American Ballet Theater National Training curriculum guidelines and class assisting for several years, Emma is excited to have a class of her own. Emma loves the littlest Weehawken dancers, and remembers her own first ballet classes at the age of 3 where her love of dance first developed. Emma has the patience, kindness, technique, and ability to teach this level and loves it.  She is thrilled to share this passion with the children of Ridgway in pre-ballet!

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Classroom Locations

* It’s important to know that some classes may be held in other locations that may not be listed below. Locations will be specified accordingly in class descriptions.

Weehawken Ridgway

Primary staff office
1075 Sherman Street
Ridgway, CO 81432
(970) 318-0150

The Sherbino Theater

604 Clinton Street
Ridgway, CO 81432

Hypoxia Gym

1900 550 Uncompahgre National Forest
Ouray, CO 81432

Weehawken Montrose

310 S 9th Street
Montrose, CO 81401

Wright Opera House

472 Main Street
Ouray, CO 81427