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History

The St. Pius X Dance Program began in the fall of 1985 under the direction of Lynn Fleetwood Dukes. For the first two years of her career at St. Pius X, she taught only two classes. The curriculum consisted of ballet and musical theater jazz, and the classes were divided into one beginner level and one intermediate/advanced level. The original dance classes worked only with the drama program and performed in the musicals. In 1988, another level was established solely for advanced dancers. Student interest continued to increase and in 1990 a fourth dance class was added. Upon Lynn’s departure in 1992, she had developed four dance classes (1 beginner, 2 intermediate and 1 advanced), started a visiting artist series and incorporated her dancers into several musicals such as Oklahoma, The Sound of Music and The Boyfriend.

Amy Walker Koulovatos became the director in the fall of 1992. She continued to lead the further development of the program until the spring of 1998. Mrs. “K”, as her students called her, had a marley floor installed in the dance room and on stage, and she became a full time faculty member in 1993 by teaching six classes. The levels changed to their current names of Dance I, II, III and Dance Company. Also in 1993, the St. Pius X Dance Company was established. The Company is comprised of the most advanced dancers in our school community, and they must enter through an audition process. Dance students performed in fall and spring Arts Festivals along with other artists and performers from the theater program, the band and the choir. Due to the increased number of students enrolled in dance classes and tremendous support and interest from the community, the first annual Spring Dance Concert was held in 1995.

In the fall of 1998, Lisa Martin O'Connor became the new director of the program. She trains the students in ballet and jazz. She has also developed the curriculum to include the study of modern dance, history, choreography, dance writing, and the use of technology with dance. Students are also taught stretch and conditioning exercises based on the principles of Pilates and yoga. Mrs. O'Connor has further developed the visiting artist series by including master classes choreography sessions in ballet, jazz, modern and contemporary for the upper level courses.  She has invited such notable teachers and choreographers as Ruth Mitchell, Martha Goodman, Likesa "Pumkin" Harris, Melanie Lynch-Blanchard, Kassandra Taylor Newberry, and Jerylann Warner. The St. Pius X Dance Company members were given the opportunity to letter in dance in 2000. The Dance Company performs in school assemblies, Open House, Morning of the Arts, and at local elementary schools.  All dance classes perform in the annual Spring Dance Concert and NOVO Choreography Benefit Performance.