Debbie Gilbert

Primary Discipline: Dance

Areas of Specialty: Performer, Choreographer, Teaching Artist

Based in: Seattle

Phone: 206-523-0218




Debbie Gilbert is the Co-Artistic Director of the Whistlestop Dance Company. Whistlestop has earned a reputation for excellence in creating dance experiences for people of all ages and abilities. The Dance Educators Association of Washington awarded Whistlestop its 1996 Honor Award for outstanding contribution to dance education in Washington schools. Gilbert performs, choreographs and teaches students, educators, and teaching artists both nationally and internationally. She is a dance mentor for Arts Impact and has served on the Arts Implementation Task Force (OSPI/WSAC) and the Arts Endorsement Committee (OSPI). Senior dance consultant for the development of the Elementary Dance Curriculum Model (Washington Alliance for Better Schools), Ms. Gilbert has also written dance curriculum for Seattle and Anacortes School Districts. In 2009, she was a keynote co-presenter for the UW Jackson School of International Studies K-12 Mosaic. She also performs with the Light Motion Dance Company, showcasing wheelchair and stand-up dancers and with Tickle Tune Typhoon. 

Artist Statement

I believe anyone can dance and that you can dance about anything. I also believe that dance is basic to learning. I love working with the diverse ideas and abilities of the public school students and teachers, crafting programs to meet individual needs and making connections with other aspects of school learning. The challenge keeps me constantly thinking, moving and learning. I begin by asking students to help me set expectations for both safe and creative experiences. Then I help them build dance concepts and skills and apply those skills through improvisation and choreography. Finally, students reflect on their work. I have also led classroom-based performance assessments that allow the students to appreciate their accomplishments with dance creation and performance. As a mentor to teachers, I develop an individualized approach that will support the teacher’s work in bringing dance to students. Watching students make discoveries through dance keeps me coming back.


Suitable for Grades: K-12

Preferred Grades: K-12

Curriculum Integration Possibilities: Literacy Reading, Writing, Math, Science, History, Social Studies, Technology, Other Art Disciplines

Additional Interests/Experience:

  • Leading Professional Development workshops for K-12 Teachers
  • Working with at risk students
  • Working with students with special needs / disabilities
  • Working with students who are English Language Learners

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