All of us at Chehalem Valley Dance Academy – staff past and present – are proud of the dancers that have passed through our doors and danced on our floors. We truly believe that dance skills are life skills and the Alumni of CVDA prove that. Whether you become a professional dancer, take dance class, or never dance again, your time spent at CVDA will have a great impact on your life. Check back for more updates on these Alumni and more.
Liz O’Donnell As of 2013, I have been dancing at CVDA for 12 years. When my family moved to Newberg I was playing soccer and piano, as well as taking horseback riding lessons. My piano teacher wanted me to practice for an hour each day, but I was not having any of that. I remember thinking that I knew that tap dance existed, but I didn’t know how they made all those sounds with their feet! I was intrigued, so I asked my parents to put me into a dance class. Every year I added another style of dance, and by middle school I was fully immersed in dance classes at the studio. My Mom said she noticed when I turned from a kid who took dance classes into a dancer. I don’t remember this shift as distinctly, I just remember doing more and more of what I loved.
At CVDA, I learned about the professionalism involved in dance. I learned how to stay calm backstage and to layer my tights for quick changes in our recital. I learned how to be organized, and I practiced figuring out my own schedule; something that was not always easy when you were taking every class possible for my age. I watched the dedication of the older dancers and I learned that it is important to work hard. One of my proudest moments was the year I was moved up into the advanced teen tap class. Though I grew to love all the styles of dance through the encouragement of the CVDA teachers, tap always has a special place in my heart. My sophomore and junior year of high school I auditioned for the accelerated tap class and got in, and was able to compete with the class my junior year before joining Performing Company my senior year.
Looking back on my years as a student at CVDA, I appreciate more and more the wonderful experience that it was. I always felt supported by my teachers, and they encouraged me to reach toward my goals. They gave me guidance when I fell short, and rejoiced with me when I triumphed. I am realizing more now how much the staff pours into each student, and the dedication they have inspires me to settle for nothing short of my best in whatever challenges I face in my life outside the studio.
In the years since, I have been able to continue dancing at the studio, as well as take on new roles as I adjust to life as a college student. Even though I have not decided to pursue a dance career, I love being a part of the CVDA community. The relationships I have built over the past few years were too dear to me to part with, even as I began a new chapter of my life out of high school. Currently I am entering my junior year of college at George Fox University in Newberg, where I participated in the GFU Dance Team the last two years. I do not know where dance will fit into my life in the future. However, I am thankful that CVDA is a strong foundation from which I can leap into the world, and equally a welcoming home to which I can return.
Charissa Fuller I began dancing when I was seven years old at CVDA and instantly fell in love with dance. After I took my first jazz class with Holly, I knew that I had finally found an activity that I wasn’t going to dread going to, like I did with playing soccer and swimming. Instead I couldn’t stand waiting a whole week to go to class again. Then after only dancing for a year I was asked to be a part of the Performing Company. I felt like this was such a huge accomplishment for me, which pushed me to dance even better. While dancing at CVDA I have took every opportunity to expand my skills as a dancer but without all of the help from the teachers at CVDA I wouldn’t be the same person that I am today. This year I am attending Cornish College of The Arts in Seattle, Washington to receive a Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance. I would have never thought that I would still be continuing dance as my career, but because of the encouragement and support from all of the teachers, I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else but dancing. I know that I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for the training and skills that I have learned from CVDA. I was taught to never give up and always work towards your dreams and goals. I find inspiration from my peers and especially the teachers at CVDA. I have seen many people accomplish their dreams and I know I am capable of doing the same because of what CVDA has taught me to do.
Bethany Auld I wouldn’t be where I am now if I didn’t attend Chehalem Valley Dance Academy. Not only did I learn dance technique and performing skills, but life lessons as well. I started dancing in Miss Holly’s jazz and tap class when I was about five years old. I remember walking into that room scared out of my mind (I used to be extremely shy). I fell in love! The first dance I remember doing was a duo with my childhood friend with Rachel. When I joined the Performing Company in middle school I was so grateful and excited for what I was about to experience. Not only did I start living at the dance studio but I made so many friends that I still have and value immensely to this day. I am not the same person I used to be. WIth the help of the amazing instructors at CVDA I grew up, and came out of the small and closed box I lived in. I was taught that I, myself, can stand out and be an individual in the world without worrying what others think about me. I was taught how to be confident, and grounded, and inspired. I cannot say enough about how much my personality and life has been affected.CVDA has and always will be a home to me. I love substituting in classes every once in a while. With how much passion and love I gained from dancing at the studio I started a summer dance program with the McMinnville Community Center. I had so much fun and learned a lot from that. I taught a jazz and hip hop class for six weeks for teenagers. I also had the opportunity to choreograph Newberg High School’s musical, Pirates of Penzance. I put over one hundred hours into choreographing and teaching the dances. With much help from Kristen Coats, I felt very accomplished and was happy to say that I was a dancer at CVDA. I am now a freshman at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, WA. I am a member of the dance team here, and teaching a few routines. I am also a Licensed Zumba Instructor. Story is, Chehalem Valley Dance Academy and all of the amazing people that run that studio have lead me along this awesome life I am jumping out into. I am so appreciative of EVERYTHING they have done for me.
Carlee Hoshowski My name is Carlee Hoshowski and I started dancing at CVDA at the age of 9 and I have been dancing ever since. Up until I was 15, I never took dance seriously. I played softball, volleyball, basketball and basically any other sport you name, I played. Once I got on to performing company at CVDA, I saw a whole different side of dance and I knew that was what I wanted to do. I dropped all my sports and just focused on dance. By that time I was way behind everyone. Kristen made sure I knew that “no matter how good you get, there is always something that you can work on to make yourself even better.” Ever since then I have lived by nothing but that statement. The one thing I do know about myself is when I put my mind to something my determination fuels me to success, which I am still discovering. September 2010, I moved to LA right out of high school. Some people thought it was risky but I didn’t care. Right when I moved down here I became a work study at Millennium Dance Complex. Soon after I started teaching the kids program there as a part time job, fell into assisting under a choreographer named Brooklyn Jai who started his own website BrooklynJaIStudio.com which I currently work on. Now, seven months later I have worked with several artists, performed at the Pre-Grammies, Children’s Dream Awards, Good morning LA, etc. I currently just signed with MSA dance agency. Now, I am planning out my two summer tours one with Ashlee Keating on the East Coast and one with Brooklyn Jai in parts of Russia. I never thought that I would be where I am today. Every day I thank God for putting me on this earth to do this amazing gift. I am looking forward to what he brings me next but I could of never done it without my teachers and parents from CVDA. You guys changed my life and will forever be in my heart right along with me.
Karley Molzahn I began dancing at the age of 10. I was at CVDA from 2000-2007 as a dancer and then after I graduated high school I became a substitute and then a full time dance instructor in the years 2008-2009. My first year of college I attended George Fox University. Me and this one other girl worked real hard on keeping a dance team and cheer team in line. So with that I was the captain and choreographer for the two teams. With that in progress I also taught ages 3-18 at CVDA.
In 2009 it became time for me to move to SOuthern California. A dream that I wanted to acheive for at least a moment in my life. Also with that dream I wanted a chance to have some sort of a career with dance. Since I have lived in California I have been in 5 shows and parades at Disnleyland Resort. Each parade/show has had something very significant and inspring with it. I also have been a part of making a music video for Ryan Marks (at ryanmarks.com). And still attending classes while im down in Southern California.
From history to present I have carried all of my training and love that I received from CVDA on back in all these years. I would have never made it this far with out all my instructors or even my core group from CVDA. All my credit goes to what came out of that studio. With that I know I have many more dreams and many more goals I will work towards. As long as I put my foot out there I am proud whether I get there or not! God has a plan, and you just have to make sure you give anything a shot because something great will come out of it!
Daphne Clark Hello. My name is Daphne Clark, formerly known as Daphne Morter. In other words…I’m married now and happier than ever! After I left Chehalem Valley Dance Academy I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do. I took a year off and traveled with a Christian singing/dancing group called the Continentals. I was able to visit 10 countries and 35 states. That was a beyond amazing opportunity for me, but it also made me realize that Newberg is the place for me! I applied to George Fox University attended for 2 years studying marketing (may or may not continue that endeavor)… In March 2010 I married the love of my life. I may not be a Lady Gaga back-up dancer, a Rockette or a prima ballerina at the American Ballet Theatre, but I definitely do boogie hard in my living room. I will ALWAYS love to dance, where ever I may be.
I danced at CVDA from 2002-2007. Those five years were definitely life changing, and I would not be the person I am today without the people I met and the skills I was taught. The main thing I learned at the studio was the importance of optimism. The encouragement I received from my teachers helped me to build confidence and a positive attitude. We were taught to dance because we loved to dance, not because we loved to compete or show off.
I also gained an incredible group of friends through CVDA, dance is something that can bond people like nothing else. I am still best friends with the girls that I grew up dancing with. Although we all may be in different places geographically, we stay in close contact and when were together its like no one ever left.
I am not sure where life is going to take me next, but as for now I am beyond blessed and full of joy every day. And don’t worry for everyone who misses me…I haven’t gone far. You can find me slingin espresso on a daily basis at Dutch Bros, or walking my adorable dog downtown Newberg. Life is good.
Sami Roberson I was apart of CVDA from 2004-2010, and am now attending the University of Oregon (go ducks) and am on the UO hip hop team (Jam Squad). I have also been able to begin classes in the UO performing arts program because of my CVDA training. Within the next year or two I’m hoping to get involved in a few dance internships based out of California. My greatest friends have all come from my CVDA family, and I would not be nearly as a responsible, strong, or goal driven person if it weren’t for my time at CVDA.