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Heather Castillo

     Lyrical Jazz Dance


Heather Castillo is performer, dance-maker, scholar, educator, mom and an associate professor of Performing Arts, Dance at California State University Channel Islands. Heather began her career as a commercial dancer in Los Angeles performing in multiple television specials for Disney, industrial shows for brands such as American Express, and has performed with stars ranging from Andy Williams to Selena Gomez. She returned to school to complete her BFA and MFA in dance and choreography at UC Irvine with the goal of broadening jazz dance practices and research within Higher Education. In 2018 she won CSUCI’s President’s award for Teaching and Learning Innovation for her efforts to decolonize the online Dance History course and for her campus-wide multimedia event Arts Under The Stars that synthesizes the arts with various creative and research projects. In 2020 she and MiRi Park were awarded the Schlundt Lecture in dance from UC Riverside and Faculty Innovation and Leadership Award from the CSU Chancellor’s Office for providing guidance and leadership in the field of dance as it transitioned to online delivery in March 2020.  In Summer of 2020 she co-produced with MiRi Park the Readin Series, a reading of W.E.B. DuBois’ Black Reconstruction.  She has most recently written a new Dance Studies program for CSUCI launching in 2022-2023. 


She moved to the United Kingdom for two years and partnered with world-renowned English Lindy Hopper Simon Selmon, together making numerous television, movie, radio, festival, and special event appearances. The highlight for the team included a fifty-one city European tour as the specialty dance act for the big band stage show "In The Mood - A Tribute to Glenn Miller," featuring The Herb Miller Orchestra (Glenn's younger brother!)



Rusty returned to the United States in 1998, making her home in Southern California. She teamed up with Peter Flahiff, in the act "SWING SHIFT" from 1998-2002, founding the swing dance school, "Lindy by the Sea," and the weekly dance, "The Rhythm Club."




In 2003, the club was renamed "Rusty's Rhythm Club" (upon Peter's retirement), and Lindy By The Sea teachers have since included Ron Campbell (2003-present), Giovanni Quintero (2003-2014), and Ted Stanley (2014-present).


Rusty is a highly sought after teacher of Tap, Lindy Hop, Balboa, Collegiate Shag, and Charleston at international dance camps, including the Herrang Dance Camp, Sweden; Boogie Baren's, Germany; Perth Hullabaloo, Australia, Dance Explosion, Norway; Russia's first Lindy Hop Festival, London Lindy Hop Festival, England; Mainz Dance Camp, Germany; International Tap Dance Camp, Finland; Tappin', in Scotland & SEAJam in Thailand, and special workshops in China, Norway, and Belgium; and nationally at Swing Camp Catalina, California; Harvest Moon Swing Out, California; Flying Home; Washington, DC; Detroit Tap Festival; the St. Louis Tap Festival; Tap City and Tradition In Tap, New York; The Groovie Movie Weekend, Washington D.C.: Swing Dance U.S. A., Florida, and The Roaring Twenties Street Jam, California; Tap for Joy, Washington; Tap In, Berkeley, California.

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