Heather Castillo’s foray into dance spans many facets and genres of dance including commercial work, theatrical choreography, dance education, adjudication, and research.
She is an Assistant Professor of Performing Arts, Dance at California State University Channel Islands. Heather is actively working to establish a program that emphasizes the American multicultural dance arts; focusing on Jazz, Contemporary, and Hip Hop forms. She has developed a campus wide integrative research and creative showcase Arts Under The Stars where over 150 students participate annually.
Harnessing the power of digital technologies and the concept of untethering dance studies and performance is on the forefront of Heather’s activities. She is serving as the Teaching and Learning Innovations fellow for Channel Island’s. She has successfully employed interactive, augmented, and mobile technology with performance allowing for deeper connection to the performance material for the audience. Her next challenge lies in bringing dance into online forums, including a multi-media dance journal and dance technique courses.
Building the Commercial Dance Heritage Alliance, Heather, along with research partner Tracey Bonner of NKU, is establishing a research platform to assess and understand commercial dance. Through the collection of oral histories and evaluation of commercial dance’s connection to American economics, they are working to fill the information gap, giving voice and artistic validity, to the dancers who have graced our screens and stages past and present.
As an active participant in the commercial dance community, Heather choreographs and consults for several theatrical companies in the Southern California Region. She currently is involved in a world-premiere immersive theatrical project with 5 Star Theatricals/Visionary Theatricals. This Be Madness will open early 2018.
Dancing and training in Los Angeles gave Heather a front row seat to the inner working of the entertainment industry. Her experience dancing in industrials, television specials, stunt shows, and theme parks and serving as choreographer for several regional theatre productions has given her a comprehensive view and understanding of the work ethic, tenacity, and artistic merit needed to have a professional dance career.
Heather received her BFA in Choreography and MFA in Dance from UC Irvine and was received Excellence in Choreography award. Throughout her dance journey she has received several awards in many capacities highlighting her versatility including; Miss Dance USA Nationals 1994, 2004 Rookie Coach of the year from the California Dance and Drill Team Association, 2010 Best Choreography in the Southern California Region from Broadway World, and 2011 & 2017 two-time Maximus Award nominee from the student body of CSU Channel Islands.
Passion for dance and its synonymous tie to life and community is the foundation of Heather’s career and continuing aspirations as an artist, educator, and researcher.