My first name is Persian and my last name is Prussian. I am a Kansas City native that is currently working in Minneapolis. I am a dancer with the Continental Ballet, and I also choreograph, act, and model professionally. I share life with my wonderful husband, Jake Thede, and my favorite colors are Prussian blue and ballet pink (which you will see in my brand). Discover more about my education and professional life below.
Education and Training
Throughout her 21 years of dancing Vashti has trained in many different styles including ballet, modern, jazz, contemporary, and commedia dell’arte. She grew up training with the Kansas Regional Ballet, a pre-professional company, and additionally spent two consecutive summers at the Juilliard School and four years at the Conservatory of Music and Dance at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. She graduated from the University of Kansas with her BFA in Dance Performance in 2015.
Vashti has twice won the Monticello Foundation Award, receiving one award for dance in 2006 and a second for choreography in 2009, which allowed her to attend two Craft of Choreography Conferences.
Likewise she won two full scholarships to attend the Artist INC Kansas City Business Program based on her outstanding choreographic efforts and entrepreneurship in the Kansas City area in 2010 and 2012.
In 2015 Vashti received the Jumpstart Award from the University of Kansas for her outstanding achievement in dance and choreography to further her professional development. She also earned a certificate of research from the University of Kansas for her avid study and interactive presentation on psychoneuromuscular injuries and how they can lead to P.T.S.D. in a dancer's body.
The breadth of Vashti’s choreographic work spans several genres including opera, film, musicals, and concert dance. She recently co-directed A Midsummer Night's Dream for the Lawrence Arts Center School of Dance and was commissioned to set a work on the Lawrence Ballet Theatre entitled, Organic Machines, that was received with draw-dropping reviews. Another one of her concert works, Like-Poetry, was accepted to be performed at the Mid-states Regional Dance Festival in Anderson, Indiana, in 2009, and the American College Dance Festival in St. Olaf, Minnesota, in 2010. Vashti has choreographed two musical excerpts for the Lawrence Opera Theatre as well as choreographing the “Wedding Dance” for The Marriage of Figaro, followed by a two-part series of operas entitled Night in the Museum and Night in the Museum II: The Second Floor for the opera department at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Her most recent opera collaboration was with the University of Kansas opera department and the Helianthus Music Ensemble where she choreographed the world premiere of The Nightingale. Vashti's passion for the big screen has also inspired her to forge paths in filmmaking. She has produced two dance films,Bear Ice and Angelic Rush, with her company YACO Productions and has choreographed and performed for various indie films in the Kansas City area.
Upon graduating college in 2015, Vashti spent two years as freelance dancer and choreographer while working in the commercial industry. She choreographed and performed for several modern and contemporary productions throughout the Kansas City area. As a ballerina she guest performed for the Lawrence Ballet Theatre as "Claire" in the Nutcracker and "Medora" in Le Corsaire dancing the lead variations and grand pas de deuxs. Commercially Vashti was an actress and model with I and I Agency where she worked for Dillards, MAC, AMC Theaters, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City, Hearst Television, and MDR Television.
Vashti used her talents to benefit various levels of her community. Her involvement in academia included choreographing two musicals, Once Upon a Mattress and Grease, for Staley High School and a full-length music medley production for Pembroke Hill Middle School. Around the Kansas City metro she choreographed and performed for weddings, ministries, charity banquets, and women’s centers. On the corporate level Vashti choreographed a flash mob for one hundred and twenty employees for Farmer’s Insurance Company’s Annual STIP Celebration. To benefit rural Kansas areas she performed with the dance group, Communitas, directed by Hanan Misko, at the Smokey Hill River Festival in 2014 to further artistic education about different styles of dance and music. She was also a vital member of the Lawrence Arts Center School of Dance where she served as a dance teacher and choreographer for three years.
During Vashti's time training with the Kansas Regional Ballet under the directorship of Dennis and Kathy Landsman she was able to create precious memories that would last a lifetime.