LIbby Schmoeger-dancer

Libby Schmoeger was born and raised in the lovely city of Boise, ID. This is her 3rd season with Off Center Dance. She has been trained in ballet, modern, jazz, hip-hop, acrobatics/tumbling, and has done a little aerial work. When she was 9 years old until she graduated high school she was apart of Balance Dance Company, under the direction of Leah Stevens. The scope of Libby’s dance training comes from the University of Utah where she attended as a modern dance major. She has also performed with Drop Dance Collective, Boise Dance Co-Op and Story Story Night in pieces choreographed by Chanel DaSilva, and a show for Opera Idaho choreographed by Lauren Edson. Libby currently teaches at Boise Dance Alliance and is a teacher at the YMCA in their Youth Development Program. 

Lisa Whitwell- Managing Director/dancer

Lisa Whitwell, was born to Boise native parents Monty and LeAnne Fleenor in 1978. She began dancing at age 4 with Georgia Listen of Timestep Dance Studio where her love of dance and passion for performance became evident. She danced with Dance Dimensions, Pat Harris and Dance Pros before continuing her training with Marla Hansen of Idaho Dance Theatre. After graduating from Eagle High School, Lisa continued to dance at BSU while earning her degree in Horticulture. For two years she danced with Nissa Toreon of Flamenco Fire. Her dance career includes multiple years of The Nutcracker with American Festival Ballet, dancing with Opera Idaho, and numerous student showcases at BSU. Lisa’s first season with Off Center Dance Project (2009-2010) brought her back to the stage after an almost decade long hiatus.  She earned a Master’s Degree in Business from Boise State University in 2016 and stepped into the role of Managing Director of Off Center Dance.  Lisa has written and was awarded 3 grants since 2015 that have helped fund Off Center Dance’s amazing performances, including the original works Folding/Unfolding at the Boise Art Museum in conjunction with the origami exhibit.  She continues to dance with Off Center Dance, with the upmost gratitude for Founder, Kelli Brown  Katie Ponozzo who have renewed her love of dance and passion for performing.

Taylor Wilson- dancer

Taylor Wilson was born and raised in Santa Clarita, California. When she was two years old her parents put her in her first dance class. She danced for the Santa Clarita Stars and was a part of their first “Mini’s” competition team. She is trained in ballet, tap and jazz dance. She moved to Idaho when she was 14 and joined Studio C where she competed throughout high school. When she graduated high school she went to Boise State where she was a Maneline Dancer. She did that for three years and then joined the Idaho Stampede Spirit Squad and did that for 3 years. She is an assistant coach for the Rocky Mountain High School Diamond Dancers which she absolutely loves!.

Katie Ponozzo

Katie was born and raised in northern Idaho, and studied dance at the University of Idaho with Festival Dance Academy. She moved to Boise to attend Boise State University, where she graduated with a BA in Theatre with dance emphasis, Cum Laude.  While attending Boise State she spent two years performing with Idaho Dance Theatre, one year with Stampede Spirit Dancers and two seasons with Drop Dance Collective. As an original member of Off Center Dance, Katie has danced and choreographed many works throughout the years and is excited to take over as artistic director for the 2016/2017 season.  Along with her role in Off Center Dance, Katie teaches ballet at Boise State University and is head of the dance department at College of Idaho, teaching jazz, ballet and rhythmic skills.  She also directs the high school dance department at Idaho Fine Arts Academy, a public arts school in Eagle, ID.  In 2012 she was the recipient of the independent artist grant from Idaho Commission on the arts for her dance piece "Ball Change".  

Arianna Christiansen- dancer

Arianna Christiansen, Originally from Boise, ID, has been dancing since she was three and has been competing since she was six years old! She has trained in Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Hip Hop, Lyrical, and Ballroom Dance. Currently, she is coaching and teaching at Backstage Dance Center, and previously danced on the Extreme Staffing Stampede Dance Team for The Idaho Stampede basketball team. This year she is so excited to be representing and performing with Off Center Dance Company. 

LInnaea Christiansen-dancer

Linnaea Christiansen was born in Minneapolis, MN. and moved to Idaho when she was 2 years old. She started dancing at Studio C at the age 4 where she discovered her love for dance. After 3 years Linnaea and her siblings found Natalie Gallegos where they started Salsa Dancing. Soon after they were introduced to Martha Pohl from Idaho Ballroom Dance Center and started dancing on there competitive team, going to Nationals competing in Swing, Cha Cha, and Samba, while also dancing for many local private and public events. In 2012 she started dancing at Backstage Dance Center training in Ballet, Hip Hop, Tap, Lyrical, Jazz, and Contemporary, while also competing on there Black Diamonds Team 4 years. After Helping Off Center Dance back stage with costume changes, lighting, and being the stage manger for Elements of Idaho last year, Linnaea is so excited to dance and preform for Off Center Dance.

About the Artists

Lesley Thompson-choreographer, dancer

Lesley Thompson, is a dancer, teacher, and choreographer. She has trained in various styles of dance including ballet, pointe, jazz, contemporary, and modern dance. She trained at top studios throughout the country including The Edge Performing Arts Center, Millennium Dance Complex in Los Angeles, Broadway Dance Center in New York, The Rock Center for Dance in Las Vegas, and The Studios in Seattle, WA. 
Lesley worked in Las Vegas performing throughout the city and with Las Vegas agencies doing runway, print, and dance/fitness modeling.  She was featured in Circus Couture's "Possessions" as a dancer/model on the runway. Recently, Lesley lived in Seattle, WA where she performed with L.A. dancer and choreographer Tammy Gibson. 
In addition to dance, Lesley received her BA in Psychology from Boise State University.  She is a certified 200hr Yoga instructor in vinyasa and yin styles of yoga received in Seattle, WA. Lesley is the creator of the Barre Movement Method, and you can also find her teaching aerial yoga and yoga sculpt classes. 
Lesley has taught both dance and fitness classes around the country.  Lesley is excited to be back in the Boise area where she started her career with local companies Idaho Dance Theatre, Off Center Dance, and Drop Dance Collective. She is thrilled to continue to spread her love of movement to the Boise community.

Rachel Lyons-dancer

Rachel Lyons was born and raised in Boise, Idaho.  She began her dancing career with Kathy Lee School of Dance, studying Tap, Jazz, and pointe.  She also danced with Kathy’s performing company and taught for two years.  Her senior year of high school, she danced with Pat Harris and taught for Pat for nine years.  Rachel was Captain of the Boise High Dance team which she coached after graduation for three years.  Rachel continued her artistic journey at Boise State University, receiving her BA in Elementary Education.  She danced ballet with Marla Hansen and was an apprentice for IDT.  Rachel took some time off from dance to graduate and be a first time mom.  After graduation, she pursued her Master’s in Education through NNU.  While completing her Master’s, she joined Off Center in 2012 and was thrilled to dance again.  During this period she took a couple seasons off to be a mom 2 more times.  Rachel currently resides in Boise with her husband and three kids, teaching first grade.  Rachel continues to dance with Off Center Dance. 

Off Center Dance

Kelli Brown- Founder/choreographer

Kelli Brown is the founder and past Artistic Director of Off Center Dance.  While AD for OCD, Ms. Brown choreographed over 30 works and 5 short dance videos. She is an adjunct professor Boise State University and a dance educator at Idaho Arts Charter School.  Ms. Brown has performed with groups including, Off Center Dance, MahaVia, Flux, Boise Dance Co-op, Drop Dance Collective, and Idaho Dance Theatre. In addition to her performance work, she has choreographed for Alexa Rose Gallery, Drop, College of Southern Idaho and University of Texas, PanAmerica.  She obtained her Master of Arts in Dance from California State University, Long Beach and her MFA in dance performance and choreography from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. Ms. Brown has been the recipient of Fund for Teachers Grant (2015), Boise Arts and History AiR Award (2009) and project grant (2010, 2015), Idaho Commission on the Arts Awards (2010), a Surdna Foundation Fellowship (2010), Bates Dance Fellowship (2011, 2013),  and was awarded NW Dance Educator of the Year 2009.


Teresa Vaughan- dancer

Teresa has spent her entire life dancing, teaching, choreographing and judging.  For 25 years (1982-2007) she was Co-owner/Director of Dance Dimensions studio in Boise where she trained hundreds of Treasure Valley dancers.  Her passion for performing did not diminish over the years,  and after retiring from the studio,  Teresa returned to her first love-performing-with Off Center Dance where she has continued to perform and choreograph into her 60's.


Samantha Buckmier-dancer

Samantha Buckmier was born and raised in Portland Oregon. She attended Western Oregon University and earned a degree in Forensic Chemistry and a minor in Dance. She studied jazz, hip hop, aerial and modern. She has traveled all over the U.S., Mexico and China dancing with Rainbow Dance Theatre for 5 years, was an  apprentice with A-Wol aerial dance company for 2 years, and danced for local Portland shows with Subrosa Dance Collectives and Pure Dance Company for one year. She continues to teach at Thunderbird Dance Camp every summer for last ten years. Thunderbird teaches over sixteen hundred middle and high schoolers each year. She moved to Boise in September of 2013 and immediately started dancing with the Stampede Spirit and Off Center Dance company. She was the director of the Stampede Spirit for 2 years and has coach multiple dance teams in the area.

Hannah Matsen-dancer

Hannah Matsen, originally from Declo, Idaho, has been dancing since the age of three. Her training includes Ballet, Jazz, Hip-Hop and Modern. She received her Bachelor’s of Fine Art in Dance Performance and Choreography from Idaho State University. Her senior year at Idaho State, she performed at the American College Dance Festival and was a dancer in the summer musical “Anything Goes.” Currently she is teaching dance at Fort Boise Community Center. Hannah is so excited to be dancing and performing with Off Center Dance!