American Midwest Ballet announces opening of its new school

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.

AMB announces additions and promotions to 2019-20 roster

OMAHA — Aug. 20, 2019 —  Twenty-nine professional dancers will grace the stage this season at American Midwest Ballet, the largest roster of dancers in the company’s history.

“I am excited to welcome our newest dancers and to have our returning dancers back in the studio after summer break,” said Erika Overturff, Artistic Director and CEO of American Midwest Ballet. “We are thrilled to begin work on our tenth anniversary season!”

Kelanie Murphy, promoted to company artist, is joined by new artists Isaac Sharratt and Richard Marks. Newly promoted apprentice, Madeline Koesters is joined by newcomer Jessica Lopes.

“Not only is our company the largest it has ever been, it’s also the first time we have eight men on the roster,” said Overturff. “This gives us the opportunity to take on productions that require a larger cast of men.”

Overturff said it is not just quantity that they are excited about. “The quality of our dancers has never been better,” she said.

The company’s tenth anniversary season begins with the award-winning mixed-repertory production Momentum  on October 11 and 13, followed by The Nutcracker in November and December.

In April, the season is capped off with a revival of the work that started it all ten years ago. Swing Swing, Swing! will mark the company’s debut at the new Hoff Family Arts and Culture Center in Council Bluffs, followed by a performance at the Orpheum Theater in Omaha.

View full biographies.