Miss Kathleen Van De Veere, Studio Owner & Artistic Director
Kathleen Van De Veere is currently balancing careers as a studio owner, instructor, vocal coach, performer, choreographer and adjudicator. Miss K moved to New York City from the midwest to attend the American Musical and Dramatic Academy, graduating in Musical Theater She has performed at Six Flags, on the Mississippi Queen Steamboat, Hale Center Theater, MTC, Gallery Theater and toured the country with AFT in Beauty and The Beast and Dinosaur Mountain.
On a whim, she moved to Oregon and founded Van De Veere Productions- Dance, Drama, Vocal studios, a competition and recreation studio offering classes in several styles, levels, and ages, specializing in musical theater and vocals. For almost 25 years her students have received national awards, scholarships and performed on Broadway, Time Square, The Grand Ole Opry, the Orange Bowl, Carnival Cruiselines and more! Many of her students have gone on to pursue careers in all aspects of the business including cruise ships, movies, TV, media, song writing, vocals, and theater.
Miss K has performed in numerous productions and recently won two Broadway World Regional Theater Awards for Best Cabaret show in Portland and Outstanding Choreographer for Mamma Mia 2022. She is still working with her mentor, the world renowned vocal technique teacher, Adrienne Angel out of NYC. When in NYC, you can catch Miss K performing on the cabaret circuit at Don’t Tell Mama and Broadway Comedy Club, and soon Birdland! In Oregon, she performs at local wineries and special events. Miss K was also awarded the Career Achievement Award at the Mrs. Oregon Pageant.
Miss K brings over 25 years of competition judging experience to the table and enjoys currently judging for Starpower Dance Competitions, the Worldwide Leader in Talent Competitions at regional and national events! Her passion is inspiring performers to reach their dreams through her positive teaching style.
Miss Becky Burkeen, West Linn Teacher
Becky Burkeen grew up in Southern California where she fell in love with dance at Act III Academy in Redondo Beach, especially jazz and tap. As a dedicated dancer at the studio from ages 10 to 18, she also found a passion for musical theater, a passion she also studied throughout high school. At the University of San Diego, Becky was on the cheerleading squad, active in her choreography classes and by her senior year, was dancing in the NFL for the San Diego Chargers. Performing at the Super Bowl in Miami was one of the most memorable performing highlights of her life. After graduating from college and starting her career as an elementary school teacher, Becky moved to Portland, Oregon. She was cast in a professional production of Oklahoma! with the Musical Theater Company, where she met Miss Kathleen! Miss Becky continued dancing professionally for the local arena football team, the Portland Forestdragons, before dancing in the NBA for the Portland Trailblazers. After being a Blazerdancer, Becky returned to her theater roots, performing in the Gallery Theater’s productions of Chicago and Willy Wonka. She also taught classes and coached teams for Van De Veere for several years while her two daughters grew up dancing at the West Linn studio. Becky now works in higher education and enjoys supporting her two daughters and one son in all of their artistic and athletic endeavors. Becky is thrilled to return to VDV to continue sharing her love for the performing arts with young dancers.
Miss Christine Hamel, McMinnville Teacher
Hamel Dance Academy owner and instructor Christine Hamel started her dance training when she was just three years old. She went on to train at the School of Pacific Ballet Theater (now known as Oregon Ballet Theater), Summer Dance Lab at Whitman College, Smith College, and Studio Flay Ballet in Geneva, Switzerland. Upon graduating from Smith College, with a degree in political science and French, and a minor in dance, Christine returned to Portland and danced professionally with St. Clair in Company for several years as well as performed in various classical ballets under the direction of Barbara Remington. She has taught for Portland Public Schools, Beaverton Arts and Communications School, Portland Parks and Recreation, Sherwood YMCA, and several private studios including Stites Performing Arts Center.
Additionally, Christine completed the Summer Dance Institute for Teachers Program at the Creative Dance Center in Seattle, Washington. She is passionate about teaching and enjoys watching her students progress in their training. Many of Christine’s former students have been accepted into leading dance programs such as Summer Dance Lab, the Joffrey Ballet School’s summer dance program, Paul Taylor Modern Dance summer intensive, NW Dance Project’s Summer Dance Institute, BodyVox’s JAG program and summer intensive, NYU Steinhardt summer dance intensive, the Da Vinci Performing Arts Magnet School, Dance West, Jefferson High School performing arts program, and various college dance programs. Christine has three sons and a daughter.
Miss Lydia Dolence, McMinnville & West Linn Teacher
Lydia “Liberty” Dolence is a performer and instructor who is thrilled to join the VDV team! Lydia started tap dancing at age 5 and was in her first musical – Sound of Music – at age 9. Lydia danced classically and competitively throughout her youth, as well as performed and choreographed in multiple musicals including White Christmas, Oklahoma, Shrek the Musical, Quilters, Honk!, and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
Lydia got two degrees at Messiah University in Pennsylvania where she received a B.A. in Theater and a B.A. in Dance. She choreographed for multiple collegiate projects, including her own original physical theater work As I Talk To Me.
Lydia returned to the Pacific Northwest after graduating Magna cum laude, and since then has performed and taught for Oregon Children’s Theater, Northwest Children’s Theater, Jester Educational Theater, Gallery Theater, and Penguin Productions.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Miss Rachel Hannon, West Linn Teacher
Rachel Hannon was born and raised in West Linn, OR, and began her dance journey at the age of 3. At 8 years old, Rachel joined the VDV studio and competed here for 10 years in a variety of styles such as jazz, tap, lyrical, and contemporary, but absolutely fell in love with hip-hop the most. After she graduated high school, she attended the University of Oregon and joined the University of Oregon Hip-Hop Team, where she was able to continue her love for hip-hop and grow as a dancer and choreographer throughout her college years. Recently, in June of 2023, Rachel graduated from the UO with a BS in Human Physiology, and has since moved back home to West Linn to teach here at VDV and start her career in the health care/medical field. Rachel is so excited to join the VDV staff and begin teaching back at the studio that started it all for her!
Miss Renata Retter, West Linn Teacher
Renata Retter grew up in the Los Angeles area where she began dancing at the age of two, and began competing at the age of 6. After graduating from high school, she taught at her home studio for five years. She also attended California Lutheran University and received her Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science in 2017. Renata also presents choreography and class plans at MusicWorks Unlimited, which is a company that provides training and teaching materials to other dance teachers. She is currently working on her Doctorate in Chiropractic at the University of Western States in Portland. Although her education is her main focus, Renata simply could not stay away from dance! She is very excited to join the VDV family!
Miss Sara Manriquez, McMinnville Teacher
Miss Sara grew up in Newberg and started taking dance with Miss Kathleen in 2002. She competed on the Elite team with Van De Veere Productions and earned multiple Diamond awards at Spotlight for her lyrical solos. During her time as a student at Oregon State University, she was a member of The Elite Dance Team and also a captain of the team for one year.
While working on her Master’s in School Counseling, Sara taught contemporary at VDV West Linn for two years. Sara is now in her fifth year as an Elementary School Counselor, and she loves that both jobs allow her to work with kids on maximizing their full potential. She enjoys yoga, hiking, gardening, and also has a 14 pound cat named Mulder. This is her eighth year teaching at VDV.