Changemakers of Niagara: Terri Filips Vaughan

Photo by Brian Rock

By: Alison Chodak

NIAGARA UNIVERSITY, N.Y.- Ever since she was a little girl, Terri Filips Vaughan loved dance and specifically likes to express herself through choreography. She started dancing at the age of three and decided to go to Hope College for choreography. She later pursued a three-year graduate program at Texas Women’s University. After having received her terminal degree in those seven years, Filips Vaughan continued on with her career in choreography.

Following her education, Filips Vaughan opened up a company called INSYNC Dance Theater, which she likes to stress was established before the famous boy band. It was a professional tap and jazz studio that toured around the Midwest. The name then changed to IDT and her colleague took over the dance studio after she left. The company no longer exists.

During her time and after leaving the dance studio, Filips Vaughan choreographed many musical theatre shows. Some of her favorites were “Curtains,” “Pajama Game,” “Cats,” and “Two Tickets to Paradise.” Out of those four shows, she directed and choreographed two of them. She enjoys directing and choreographing because it provides were with the ability to comprehensively create the production her way. She can fully pursue her vision.

Filips Vaughan came to Niagara University in 2000. She has never looked back. She is very thankful for her colleagues because they all work well and they all have a role to play.

During her time at NU, she moved her way up to the Chair of Theatre and Fine Arts. This means she handles the educational portion, what classes are offered and who teaches them. She wants the students to have a higher degree of professionalism and she wants them to be creative with their choreography as well.

Filips Vaughan is very excited for the future of the Theater Department at NU because they will be turning the Heritage Room into a black box theater. They want to expand the Theater Department and hope to see it grow into a bigger program.

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