Jan Hurst, Artistic Director of Columbia Dance, has devoted the greater part of her life to the study of ballet and its related fields. Among her significant teachers were: Willam Christensen, Mattlyn Gavers, Finis Jhung, Toni Lander, Gordon Paxman, and Anatole Vilzak. Jan began her dance training in Portland, Oregon with Maria and Serge Dare. Jan earned both her Bachelor of Fine Arts and Master of Fine Arts degrees in Ballet from the University of Utah with honors, with an emphasis on teaching and choreography. Among her more notable career positions are faculty member of the School of the San Francisco Ballet, Chairperson of the Department of Dance at William Woods College, Director of the School and later Artistic Director of the Lexington Ballet, guest Artistic Director of the Springfield Ballet, Visiting Professor of Dance at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, and dance faculty for the Kentucky Governor’s School of the Arts. Jan won the 1976 Utah Bicentennial Choreographer’s Award and a NationalAssociation of Regional Ballet Monticello Scholarship. She has received numerous choreographic grants as well. She joined Columbia Dance as Artistic Director in July 1996. Jan delights in sharing her wealth of knowledge of dance with her students.
Éowyn Emerald Barrett is a Canadian born choreographer and dancer, currently creating in Portland, Oregon who was recently selected by The Times of London as “a talent to watch.” Employing technical virtuosity and emotionally complex storytelling, her work strives to communicate, challenge, and evoke a clearer picture of the relationships that unite us. Her company Éowyn Emerald & Dancers are based in Portland, and recently returned from their second international tour to the Festival Fringe, in Edinburgh, Scotland, to rave reviews. Éowyn is the creative producer of Pacific Dance Makers, a biannual show in Portland, Oregon that hi-lights work by choreographers from across the Pacific region. Éowyn received her BFA in contemporary dance and choreography from The University of North Carolina School of the Arts, where she studied closely with Dianne Markham. She has also received training from The Juilliard School, Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company, Utah Regional Ballet and the RDA Craft of Choreography Conference. She has studied with such artists as: Joan Woodbury, Ruth Barnes, Les Watanabe, Camille Brown, Janice Lancaster, and Jamie Martinez. She also had the honor of being an assistant to Slyvain Emard when he set his work “Le Grand Continental” on White Bird and 160 of Portland’s dance enthusiasts. Awards and recognitions include: two works selected and premiered at 12 Minutes Max in Seattle, WA, three pieces selected and performed for RDA/Pacific Festivals, RDA Monticello award and scholarship, NFAA A.R.T.S. Award for Choreography, three 1st place Weiler Choreography Awards, and was twice selected as a Critic’s Choice in The Times of London.
Laura Branfield Began her ballet training at the Academy of Ballet Arts in Vancouver, WA with Noreen Kendall, under the Royal Academy of Dance curriculum. She continued her training at Columbia Dance, where she became the youngest Regional Dance America company member at the studio to date. She also enjoyed years of training from Zachary Carroll and Jan Hurst, whom she is honored to have as a friend and mentor. During her time at Columbia Dance, she expanded her dance knowledge by studying flamenco with Laurena Marrone, seizing opportunities to take master classes with notable professionals in Portland and the surrounding area, and attending summer dance intensives with the Walla Walla Dance Lab and Milwaukee Ballet School, where she was awarded a merit scholarship.
After graduating from Clark College with an Associate of Arts in 2005, Laura received a scholarship to study dance at Boise State University. She has been teaching at Columbia Dance for over 10 years and serving as a rehearsal assistant to both the school and the Columbia Dance RDA company for over 5 years. During her tenure at Columbia Dance, Laura was awarded a scholarship to participate in the Joffrey Ballet Summer Intensive in New York City, where she studied with Francesca Corkle, Africa Guzman, Era Jouravlev, Brian McSween, Desmond Richardson, and Davis Robertson. Most recently, Laura has enjoyed the opportunity to choreograph pieces for the Columbia Dance Junior and Junior II companies, while working with all levels and ages of dancers, from youth through adult.
Brent Luebbert fell in love with dance at the Vancouver School of Arts and Academics. He continued his dance training with Columbia Dance Center as a member of our RDA/Pacific Columbia Dance Company. Before college, Brent danced for a year as an apprentice with BodyVox. He then went to Point Park University and graduated with a BFA in Modern Dance. He also worked with The Pillow Project, an improv based company, which lead him dancing through the streets of Paris, London, Amsterdam and Dublin. After graduating, Brent joined Attack Theatre in Pittsburgh. He is currently dancing with Éowyn Emerald & Dancers and is a full company member with Portland based BodyVox.
Rebecca Malcom has taught students of all ages for 30 years. She discovered her passion for education at age 16 when she began teaching private music lessons to area children. She earned her Bachelors of Arts in Music Education from Oregon State, followed by a Masters of Arts in Elementary Education from Western Oregon University. Rebecca then worked as the primary music teacher to 550 children at Silver Star Elementary in Washington. With the birth of her first daughter, she began teaching from home and thus continuing her commitment to education. Rebecca has been part of our Columbia Dance family since 2000. She is excited to be teaching and supervising our Children’s Classes.