New home, new capabilities for American Midwest Ballet

dancers in American Midwest Ballet's new studios at the Hoff Family Arts & Culture Center

February 4 – Today marks the start of a new era for American Midwest Ballet, as the dancers begin their first rehearsals in their spectacular new home at the just-completed Hoff Family Arts & Culture Center in Council Bluffs.

“We’re excited about the capabilities this space will give us to create dance for our audiences in Omaha, Council Bluffs, and beyond,” said artistic director Erika Overturff.

Centerpiece of the ballet’s new facility is the main studio, flooded with naturallight courtesy of floor-to-ceiling windows ( and stylish LED lighting for the evening hours). Dancers’ leaps and turns are cushioned by a specially-constructed flooring designed specifically for ballet, encompassing more than 2,500 square feet of dance space. Two similarly-equipped studios accommodate additional rehearsals. When not in use by the company, all three studios are shared with the students of the American Midwest Ballet School.

Managed by nonprofit Pottawattamie Arts, Culture and Entertainment [PACE], the Hoff Family Arts & Culture Center also features a state-of-the-art 280-seat theater, the Polina & Bob Schlott Performing Arts Center, which the ballet will share with Chanticleer Theater and the Kanesville Symphony. Overturff said the new theater will complement Omaha’s Orpheum Theater and Joslyn Art Museum, which will remain primary performance venues for AMB.

Company dancers love the new space!

“It’s beautiful,” said company dancer Whitney Walsh after a test session at the studio. “It’s kind of overwhelming how incredible it is and how much light it gets. I’m so excited to be here every day.”

“It’s like dancing on a cloud,” said Wyatt Payne after putting the studio’s floors to the test with a number of leaps.

This week, the dancers are rehearsing for the ballet’s winter tour to Vero Beach, Florida. Followed by rehearsals for the ballet’s performance as part of PACE Interactive, a February 22 event that will introduce the Hoff Family Arts & Culture Center to the public. [More info…]

Later in February, the dancers begin rehearsals for the Season 10 finale, Swing, Swing, Swing!, with performances on April 4 at the Hoff Family Arts & Culture Center and April 11 at the Orpheum.

The ballet, a tribute to the Second World War’s “Greatest Generation” and featuring live music from the Big Band era, was American Midwest Ballet’s very first mainstage production in 2010, Overturff said — making it a fitting way to end the company’s tenth season and kick off its new era.

“We’ve been working hard for ten years,” she said. “It’s special coming back to Swing because we can stop and see just how far we’ve come.

“And we can also recapture the excitement of that first season — of putting on a show and having an audience and being a company. It’s a way of coming full circle.”

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Swing, Swing, Swing! is a celebration of the courage and spirit of the Greatest Generation as told through rollicking, elegant, and poignant dance vignettes of the 1940’s. Tickets are on sale now – see the show that served as American Midwest Ballet’s debut ballet ten years ago!

Tickets for the April 4 performance at the Hoff Family Arts & Culture Center are available at paceartsiowa.org/dance or by calling (712) 890-5600 x5601.

Tickets for the April 11 performance at the Orpheum Theater are available at ticketomaha.com or by calling (402) 345-0606.