Tammy Theis has a multi-faceted professional and creative track record. The current Coordinator of Communications and Events for SFU History has worked as lifeguard, break-dancer, recording artist, and actress in community theatre. Working or volunteering for such organizations as YWCA of Metro Vancouver City of New Westminster, and Positive Living Society of British Columbia, she has also had experience in business administration, management, and event planning. When she’s not organizing communications and events for History, Theis is raising her two children as a single-parent and completing her Masters in Graduate Liberal Studies (GLS) at SFU.
Theis has taken a winding path to get to where she is now. As a youth, she acted in film and television from the age of 14, worked as a lifeguard from the age of 16, and continued lifeguarding while completing her BA in General Studies and Canadian Studies at SFU in the late nineties. It was at SFU, Theis recalls, where she was able to take breakdancing to a professional level. “I was walking by SFU’s campus community radio station, CJSF Radio, and I heard this music that I loved, this underground rap and hip hop that I was totally into. I popped into the radio station and met Matt and Trevor Chan, who established the radio show at CJSF, “Straight No Chaser.” These guys were awesome. They later founded the multimedia dj collective, the No Luck Club, and I started to hang out with them and others in the Vancouver-based rap and hip hop scene. It was up here at SFU, in the racquetball courts where I was schooled by “Mighty Mike” Lee and Dave “Order One” Wong in the art of breaking.”
As Vancouver’s first, professional b-girl, Theis worked as a professional break-dancer, competed in and helped organize breakdancing competitions locally and abroad after graduating from SFU. She also became involved in singing and recording music, providing back-up vocals to local heavy metal artists such as the Devin Townsend Band and Strapping Young Lad and eventually recording a demo of music she wrote and produced in 2006. “It was a really exciting and fun time for me and I loved being involved in the arts scene. I gave up lifeguarding and breakdancing after having children mainly because the breakdancing was so physically demanding [and] hard on your joints.”