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Hochstein Expressive Arts & Dance Faculty – Vanessa Watters

Instrument/Department: Expressive Arts, Dance/Movement; Ballet Instruction

Joined Hochstein faculty in: 2020

Vanessa Watters began her dance training at a very young age with Persis Forster in her hometown of Arlington, Texas. She attended the University of Southern California, earning a bachelor’s degree in Vocal Arts, and was named Outstanding Vocal Graduate. She also went on to earn a master’s degree in Vocal Arts from USC as well. She was accepted into the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera Musical Theatre Workshop, and danced and sang professionally in musical theatre productions throughout Southern California. While living in Los Angeles, she studied ballet for many years with Stanley Holden, former principal of the Royal Ballet Company, and modern with Charles Edmondson, formerly a dancer with the Bella Lewitzky company.

Vanessa taught ballet and musical theatre for the City of Los Angeles, Department of Recreation and Parks, from 1990 until she moved to Rochester in 2018. She directed the ballet program for children at the Westwood Recreation Center, mounting semi-annual, original productions. Vanessa also taught and choreographed for the Goleta Valley School of Ballet in Goleta, California.

Vanessa moved to Rochester along with her husband, Mark Watters, who now runs the Beal Institute for Film Music and Contemporary Media at the Eastman School of Music. For the past two years, she has dedicated herself to the study of Dance/Movement Therapy and is pursuing an Alternate Route for certification at Kinections Studio here in Rochester, supervised by Danielle Fraenkel.  


More About Vanessa Watters

Hometown: Arlington, Texas

What inspires me: Seeing the impact that music and dance have on people’s lives.

Why the arts matter: The arts connect us with our emotions and enrich our lives – they are a path to our self-expression and our communication and connection with others.

Favorite things to do in Rochester area:  Walk along the Erie Canal, visit Letchworth State Park and the Finger Lakes

When I’m not at Hochstein, you can find me: Working in my garden at home.

My favorite local restaurant: Next Door’s sushi

Favorite place to travel:  Hawaii

Favorite music: Ballet scores by Tchaikovsky – all of them.

What people would be surprised to know about me: I am a big baseball fan!