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Thea Huijgen (pronounced HAU-chen; the ch as in Loch Ness) has been a dancer and dance teacher since the early 1970s. In The Netherlands, her native country, she performed with the professional folk dance ensemble, Het Internationaal Folkloristisch Danstheater (renamed Het Internationaal Danstheater) in Amsterdam. Thea also directed her own dance school and was the founder of the amateur folk dance ensemble, Droezjba, in Eindhoven, which she directed for ten years. Additionally, Thea studied folkloric dance in Bulgaria.
Throughout her career Thea has been involved extensively with children in folk dance, ballet, tap dance, creative movement, and theater projects in both The Netherlands and the United States. Thea is the professional Artistic Director of the Hilltop Heritage Dancers of Lynwood, Washington. The dancers, ages six to twelve, have gained a glowing reputation throughout the Puget Sound area of Washington state. In addition to performances in their own school, the group has performed at many other schools, other community events, and the Folklife Festival in Seattle over the last several years. Participating students learn and perform folkdances from around the world and in the process they learn so much more: perseverance, responsibility, commitment, discipline, respect, cooperation, and teamwork. Thea not only teaches a diversity of ethnic styles, but introduces choreography into the group's dance presentations. She brings the organizational directorship skills required to make the group's program a success. Thea teaches pre-ballet and creative movement classes to three-year-olds, ballet and tap classes for children ages four eight, and ballet and tap classes to children and adults.
Thea also donates her time to the community. As instructor with the Northshore International Folk Dancers, Thea gives shows to such organizations as the Northshore Senior Center in Bothell, Washington, where she also teaches weekly international folk dance classes. She also directs a Senior performing group, Droezjba.
For a short time, Thea taught the Wednesday night Balkan classes at The Intersection Folk Arts Center in Los Angeles, California, and was the instructor for Diedrich's International Coffee House for the month it was open.
The Alaska State Council on the Arts (ASCA) awarded the Juneau International Folkdancers $750 to host a dance three dance workshops with Thea in December of 2000. She teaches workships up and down the West coast, including Alaska and British Columbia.
Thea has been vice president of the Northwest Folk Dancers Inc. (NFDI), a non-profit organization devoted to encouraging and promoting folk dancing, particularly in the northwest United States and western Canada. Thea regularly instructs Folk Dance Teacher Training Workshops for the NFDI. With her husband Leonard. Thea edits the "Northwest Folkdancer" monthly magazine, which contains articles and information about the food, dances, music, costumes, and history of other cultures. Thea may be reached through Northwest Folk Dancers Inc.