Dance Theater West was established by Frances Smith Cohen and Susie Silverman in 1987. Our highly trained and experienced teachers provide creative and classical dance training to students ages 3 to adult in a noncompetitive atmosphere. Our credo is, "It is not what your child can do for dance; it is what dance can do for your child."
Susan Silverman received her Bachelor's degree in liberal arts and completed a graduate program in dance and literature at the University of Arizona. Her early training and performing experience was in NYC and her collaboration with Frances Cohen began when Silverman danced in the Kadimah Dance Company. She is currently the director of DTW Classical Ballet Program and is the artistic director of Story Book Ballet Theater which collaborates in performance with Free Arts of AZ, Detour Company and Scottsdale Center for the Arts. She is the Dance Chair for the Greater Arizona Chapter of National Society of Arts and Letters and is a board member of Center Dance Ensemble.
Katie Hughes discovered dance at the early age of 5 and was fortunate enough to find Dance Theater West when she was 7 years old. There, she trained in ballet under the direction of her beloved friend and mentor, Susan Silverman. During her ten years with the studio and her six years with Storybook Ballet Theater, she performed lead roles in several ballets including "Coppelia," "Cinderella," "Sleeping Beauty" and Odette in "Swan Lake." After graduating from Arcadia High School in 2007, Katie has been attending Arizona State University working toward her degrees in both English Literature and in Film and Media Studies. Katie danced with Center Dance Ensemble from 2009 through 2019.
Priscilla Vasquez discovered dance in her childhood with Folklorico. It wasn't until her introduction to ballet and modern, under the tutelage of local dancer Nicole Olson, that she found her passion. She has gone on to dance with both Scottsdale and Glendale Community College's dance companies, studying under Angela Rosenkrans and Andrea Hansen, as well as local companies such as Ignite Collaborative and Classical Fusion Dance. Additionally, she has participated in local festivals and showcases such Blaktina, BetaDance, RAW Phoenix and Celebration of Dance
Phoenix native, Lisa Gray Young grew up studying various genres of dance, as well as acting, voice, piano, and flute. After graduating from South Mountain Center for the Arts High School, Young went on to Arizona State University, graduating with honors and receiving a BFA in Choreography/Performance. She has performed, taught and choreographed for a myriad of dance companies, theaters, schools, studios, and churches around the Valley, including Center Dance Ensemble (dancing the principle role of “Gerda” in “The Snow Queen,” ’98-’00), The Movement Source, Inc., Dance Arizona Repertory Theater, Stageworks, MesaYoutheatre, East Valley Children’s Theatre, Greasepaint Youtheatre, The Mesa Arts Center (co-founded/co-directed Step to This Dance Company), Grand Canyon University, Mesa Community College, Phoenix College, and Paradise Valley Community College. She has received numerous ariZoni Theater Awards of Excellence nominations for her choreography in the theater community and has won twice for her work in “The Orphan Train” and “The Jungal Book,” both with MesaYoutheatre.