📍584 NE Burnside Rd. Gresham, OR 97030
✉️ info@deborahmessingerschoolofdance.com
📞 503-661-6948

Our Dance History

History and accomplishments of DMSD

My studio has been in the Portland area for 51 years now and officially established in 1971. I grew up as a dancer, and after being a professional dancer for many years, I decided that my love for dance could best be used as a teacher, passing my knowledge onto a new generation of young dancers. You can read more about me on our faculty page. But here, I would like to take the opportunity to introduce you to the history and achievements of my dance studios and how we've changed the lives of many through dance. 

  • Started in 1971 w/5 students in my Mom, Carolyn Messinger's garage in Beaverton.

  • I taught ballet to the football players from several high schools including Sunset High School in Beaverton. The ballet classes were highly praised by the coaches as having made such an improvement in the players footwork that they had a winning season due to these lessons!

  • Taught and coached Marc Castillo & his partner in a disco routine that took them to Los Angeles to compete on the 1st dance show similar to "America's got Talent".  Marc Castillo has since gone on to be first an all-star fitness competitor, & then trainer, as well as a very well known dance teacher in the Seattle area.

  • I was mentored in ballet by the famous JoAnna Kneeland who made startling discoveries with regards to kinesiology & movement in the 1960's & 1970's.  These discoveries were reported to the dance world in DanceMagazine and revolutionized several schools of thought in ballet.

  • I taught Marisa Menkins who went on to be the dance stand-in for a feature film's leading lady in Spain.  Marisa went on to be a professional dancer around the US and is now a dance teacher in Lake Oswego.

  • Deborah Messinger School of Dance's performing group was invited as the only dance group from the United States to perform at the World Expo in Seoul, Korea in 1999.  Tara Marshall was the choreographer and head dancer in the group. Tara studied under Deborah for many years and teaches at DMSD, is studio manager , and part owner..  I am extremely proud of her work! Tara choreographs most of our competition dancers and has an excellent reputation for producing winning routines. 

  • I taught Tandy Morgan-Hewitt who is currently a mom & dance teacher in Beaverton area.

  • I once was the host of a cable TV show in Portland called "Tappin' with Deborah" where I taught tap dancing lessons.

  • Miss Tara & I taught Alison Camp and Kelsey Adams who have gone on to be professional dancers with a modern dance company as well as with jazz & lyrical dance companies. 

  • I was the lead dancer & also the choreographer of a dance troupe called "StarFire"  that performed in the early 80's at several local and regional entertainment venues.

  • For several years, my Jr. StarFire group was invited to perform at 1/2 time of the Far West Classic held at the Memorial Coliseum in Portland.

  • Jr. StarFire also performed for the Timbers Soccer games at PGE park.

  • Miss Tara & I taught Jessica Rohr who in 2007 was awarded a full scholarship to attend The Edge Dance & Performing Arts Professional School in Los Angeles.  Jessica went on to be a professional dancer in videos, commercials and live stage performances all over the country. She was an award winning teacher in her own right in the LA area and has recently moved up to Seattle & opened her own dance school.

  • One of our former Washougal studio students performed on Broadway in the 2010 version of Cats!  Her name is Katherine Thompson.  And she's now living in NYC.  

  • Another one of our former students, Julianna Attard was an apprentice member of Cirque du Soleil.

  • Two of our adv students, Makenna Bilodeaux & Emilee Vazquez were the overall winners & the receipients of an award at the Sandy, OR Mountain Festival Talent Show in 2014 & 2015. 

  • This year I have formed a Jr. Ballet Co. called "Demi Etoiles" which means small stars.  They will be performing at all sorts of events around the Portland area.  These are young dancers chosen by audition for any local dance studios who have a possible professional career interest in ballet.

With love,
Deborah Messinger-Seamster
Studio Owner