Rachel Winchester, a nationally recognized choreographer and educator, has lived and worked in the Pacific Northwest for the past 7 years, teaching hundreds of dance students and presenting her movement research across the Western United States.
Rachel is a native of San Diego, California. Shortly after achieving her Bachelor of Fine Arts from San Diego State University, she was selected as a “San Diego Emerging Artist of 2009”.
Rachel moved to Eugene, Oregon in 2011, and was a Graduate Teaching Fellow in the Dance Department at the University of Oregon for three years. During this time, her choreography was presented at the 2012 American College Dance Festival in Madison, Wisconsin, where she was also an instructor, as well as the Dance Coalition of Oregon’s Portland Choreographers Showcase, and as part of the University of Oregon Repertory Dance Company’s touring performance in various locations throughout the state.
She also continued her work as a choreographer for theatre, through her collaboration with director Michael Najjar on the 2013 UO Theatre Department production, Nine Parts of Desire.
Her choreography “GIRL POOL (an adaptation)” received one of the highest honors in collegiate dance, when it was selected to represent the Northwest region of the country, at the 2014 American College Dance Association National Conference at the Kennedy Center, in Washington D.C.
After completing her MFA in Dance, Rachel worked as a Lecturer in the Dance Program at the University of Idaho, where she instructed in modern, improvisation, jazz, tap, musical theatre, dance appreciation, and children's dance pedagogy. In Idaho, Rachel also served as an outreach instructor for Festival Dance Performing Arts Association, a guest artist for the Lionel Hampton International Jazz Festival, and an active member of the Idaho Dance Educators' Organization.
During this time, she directed a site-specific production for the San Diego International Fringe Festival, featuring choreography by collaborator Mirna Garcia, performed in San Diego and Tijuana, Mexico. Also in the summer of 2015, her original screendance, Facedance was an official selection for 40 North International Film Festival.
Most recently, Rachel served for two years as a Visiting Assistant Professor and Director of Pacific Lutheran University’s Dance Minor Program, in Tacoma Washington. There, she directed all program activities and dance concerts, while collaborating with the PLU Opera and Theatre programs, and tripling the number of Dance minor students through recruitment and community outreach. She spearheaded a PLU Screendance guest artist series, organized PLU student attendance at a national college dance conference, and was awarded a Professional Development Award by the Dean of the School of Arts and Communication.
Throughout her career in the field of dance, Rachel Winchester has received high praise from dance greats, Tessandra Chavez, Tere O’Connor, Sara Shelton Mann, and Bebe Miller. She looks forward to furthering her knowledge and incorporation of Pilates, Feldenkrais, and Braindance techniques, continuing her choreographic research through innovative storytelling, and nurturing the diverse talents of many more arts students in the future.