An Open Letter from the Director

Fall 2020 

As near as I can tell from an old file cabinet in the office of the Youth Ballet, this dance outreach program has been in existence for over 40 years. First named the Dance Forum in the early 1970s it mission was to provide teaching experience for young dance majors. The Dance Forum proved itself worthy of its initial mission, but I think exceeded expectations as a strong dance outlet for the community. With an ever-changing palette of instructors, the classes were passion filled and vibrant with the energy of young artists honing their skills. 

Forty years is a long time to mature and a long time to put into practice valued program goals. The Dance Forum’s name was changed to better reflect one of those goals set forth by a previous director, Ms. J. Symmonds. Ms. Symmonds had the vision to begin a Classical Ballet School and before her untimely death had laid that foundation. 

Today the University of Iowa Youth Ballet and Community School of Dance has under its umbrella three distinct programs. The Adult and Teen program, the Young Children’s program and the Leveled Classical Ballet program. While still employing young dance majors and mentoring their pedagogy skills, the program also employs community artists and teachers providing the needed continuity of instructions. 

I felt a strong need to look back and find the programs roots as we come into unsettling times here in 2020. In that look back I find our way forward; we will adapt to learn new ways of teaching the art forms of movement that are timeless. We will do all we can to continue providing classes that are both excellent and personal. We are confident that the program will be standing and we will be dancing when this troubling time is over.