OMAHA — March 3, 2019 — Artistic director Erika Overturff has announced American Midwest Ballet’s plans to open an official school.
Susan Chowning, director of Motion41 Dance, will join American Midwest Ballet’s staff as school director. The studio’s co-director, Matthew Lovegood, will continue in his role as ballet master of the professional ballet company.
Chowning and Lovegood’s west Omaha dance studio — which has served as American Midwest Ballet’s rehearsal space since the company’s founding ten years ago — will become the initial site of the new school, Overturff said.
When the time comes, the company and school operations will be consolidated within American Midwest Ballet’s future home, the Hoff Family Arts and Culture Center in Council Bluffs, with Motion 41 eventually phasing out its operations.
The new $27 million, 95,000-square-foot facility, now under construction, will offer exciting opportunities for the professional ballet company and the school’s students.
“Our company and school will be housed in a state-of-the-art performing arts center, brimming with everything from music lessons to art exhibits,” says Overturff.
“People will be immersed in creativity from the moment they walk through the doors.”
While classical ballet training will be at the heart of the program, the school’s offering includes classes in a variety of styles including jazz, tap, and contemporary dance.
“American Midwest Ballet School will include an academy division focused on developing high levels of technical skill, as well as a community division with a wide range of classes for children, teens and adults,” says Chowning.
Faculty members will include current American Midwest Ballet professional dancers and former professionals with extensive teaching experience.
“A great dance teacher can have a huge positive influence on a young person’s life and development,” says Overturff. “We can’t wait to begin encouraging and inspiring the next generation of young dancers.”
Registrations for American Midwest Ballet School open April 15, with classes beginning July 15.
American Midwest Ballet, formerly Ballet Nebraska, brings the beauty, athleticism, and energy of professional ballet to audiences in the Midwest and beyond. Performing at home and on tour, its mission is to provide enrichment through programs of the highest quality: professional dance performances, educational programs, and community outreach.
The Hoff Family Arts and Culture Center, scheduled to open in 2020, is a project of Pottawattamie Arts, Culture and Entertainment (PACE), a nonprofit organization dedicated to forging a robust cultural environment by creating a new comprehensive arts center and forming alliances with performance partners.