I grew up with dance. I studied dance as did my sisters and my cousin who grew up with us. My choices of dance discipline were classical ballet, tap and jazz. Growing up in Minneapolis and attending college at the University of Iowa, I was exposed to a wide variety of performing arts, including dance. As an adult, I continued to pursue dance as a personal discipline and attended professional dance performances whenever I was able. I have had the profound gift of attending performances by some of the greatest ballet companies in the U.S. and abroad. I was never so moved, however, as when attending my first Valley Academy performance of Where the Wild Things Are. In all those years of studying, performing and attending dance performances, I had only seen children dance in a line in rehearsed repetition. Never had I seen children perform an actual ballet where their movements told a story. It is one thing to see adults who have had a lifetime of study and practice perform classical ballet, but to see young children seamlessly narrate Sendak's classic tale through the art of ballet was quite simply, breathtaking. More than this, however, I was in awe of the creative process of Annemarie Abderholden who created the entire ballet from the choice of music, to choreography, auditioning and training the dancers and envisioning the costuming. I wept through my first performance and have through every performance I have attended since including VAA's performances of: Hansel and Gretel, 12 Dancing Princesses, Pippi Longstocking and Peter and the Wolf. When my daughter asked to attend dance classes, Valley Academy for the Arts was the only choice in my mind. When my daughter was no longer a student, I have continued to support VAA as a patron, a fan and now as Office Manager. The kind of dance education Annemarie and Katharina Abderholden offer at VAA is truly unique. As I have watched their work throughout the years I have seen that they are not only producing great dancers, they are helping to build the future leaders of our world. Thank you Annemarie and Katharina for all you do in making our world a better place through the arts.
Lauri Ann Lumby
Authentic Freedom Academy