About The Dance Factory
For over 40 years, The Dance Factory has been a touchstone in the Stanislaus County dance community. Originally founded in 1973 by Betty Gail Bilson and, her good friend, Lenore Hughes, the two opened the studio with Betty Gail facilitating the ballet, tap, jazz portion and Lenore overseeing the ballroom instruction. Several years and many students later, Lenore branched out to her own studio (Dance City) and Betty Gail's daughter, Debbie Bilson Holtzclaw, returned home from college to manage (and eventually own) The Dance Factory.
The Dance Factory has produced many excellent dancers who have gone on to perform on Broadway, Disneyland, cruise ships, Macy's Thanksgiving Parade and professional sports halftimes. Their students have helped to raise thousands of dollars for local charities such as Memorial Hospital Foundation and The Modesto Symphony Guild, and donate their time and talent by participating in The Dance Factory Enrichment program in which they perform for elementary schools all over the county.
In addition to the end of the year performance, the students are encouraged to attend dance conventions, take Cecchetti ballet exams, and participate in musical theater throughout the area. While not adverse to competitions, the studio prefers to emphasis that their students compete with themselves and always strive to do their personal bests. Integrity, dedication, and the joy of dance is what is strived for.
Debbie Holtzclaw - Owner/Instructor
As the owner of The Dance Factory, Debbie has been able to share her love of dance with thousands of students of all ages and has also helped groom students for competitions, colleges, and careers in dance. Before embarking on her teaching career, she won numerous awards and competitions. Her first dance award came at the tender age of 6 and she went on to win many others such as Miss U.S.T.A of California and she also represented California in the Miss Teenage America pageant. She has toured through the United States and Canada as a dancer and a choreographer. Debbie attended Brigham Young University as a dance major and returned to California where she has been a choreographer/dance instructor in the Modesto area for over 30 years. Through the years The Dance Factory has raised over $200,000.00 for local charities.
For over 25 years, Debbie has also had the pleasure of working with Modesto Performing Arts as choregrapher, where she created critically acclaimed production numbers for shows such as FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS, A CHORUS LINE, and CRAZY FOR YOU. Debbie won Sacramento's Regional Theatre Arts' 2004 'Elly' award for Best Choreographer for her work on MPA's 42ND STREET and was also honored by the Stanislaus Arts Council for excellence in arts in the field of dance in 2005.
Deanna Olson - Instructor
As a student, Deanna studied with The Dance Factory where she excelled tap, jazz and ballet (passing the professional level exam in the Cecchetti Method) Deanna performed in several local theater productions for Modesto Performing Arts as well as Sierra Repertory and in SoCal as a dancer at Disneyland. She then transitioned to working as a fitness director for Princess Cruises, where she met her future husband.
Deanna now resides in Modesto and, in addition to teaching dance, is currently a certified fitness and personal trainer (ACE). She teaches Zumba, (ZIM member) and is Pilates Matwork certified. With her strong dance background and her expertise in fitness, Deanna brings her love of dance with a healthy approach to her classes.
McKenzie Hillier - Instructor
McKenzie has been with The Dance Factory for the last 10 years, training in tap, ballet, pointe, contemporary, and jazz. She is an accomplished dancer and performer and has been featured in such shows as 'Babes in Toyland,' 'Zombie Prom,' and 'Oklahoma!' In high school McKenzie performed and choreographed for her dance production class and has been on the Dance Factory staff, for the last 4 years. Ballet has been McKenzie's passion and she appreciates its value. She's completed her Cecchetti (CCA) ballet exams through the first professional level and will inspire her students with her joy of dancing. She is now dancing her way through college where she plans to get her degree in bio-mechanical engineering. Such a joy to have in the studio, McKenzie is sunshine personified!
Maggie Sniffen - Instructor
Maggie is an Adjunct Professor of Dance at Modesto Junior College (MJC) currently teaching Jazz and Hip Hop as well as choreographing for the MJC Off-Balance repertory concerts. She received her M.F.A. in Experimental Choreography at the University of California, Riverside (UCR) and B.F.A. in Dance from San Diego State University (SDSU). Maggie received the national award for Outstanding Choreography from Dance Magazine at the American College Dance Association's National Festival and is the choreographer for D.E.G. Records' artist Lucien Dante, choreographing his record release concert in July 2015 and music video 'Love Me Lessons (Imma Be).' She is thrilled to be back in the Stanislaus community and and we are just as thrilled that she's back at The Dance Factory!
Sue Rogers - Instructor
Sue Rogers is a Dance Factory Alumni extraordinaire who, after obtaining her bachelor's degree in physical education, has been teaching Yoga and Zumba at Modesto Jr. College and the Stanislaus area for the last 13 years. She's been involved in Musical theatre for years, performing in such shows as Modesto Performing Arts' 'Oklahoma!', and '42nd St' and has toured as a backup dancer for Radio Disney. Sue always gives a fun and energetic class and we are excited to have her on staff at team Dance Factory!