The Owensboro Dance Theatre has been integral to western Kentucky and the tri-state for over four decades. Joy Johnson, Karen Carothers, and other dance enthusiasts in the community decided to convert their passion into a reality when they formed the nonprofit in 1982.
The Theatre’s mission is simple: “changing lives … one dance at a time.” They constantly strive for exceptional quality without compromise, education for all, innovative programs for a diverse community, and emphasizing health and wellness through dance.
“We’re very fortunate to have a community behind us and many good volunteers to keep us going,” Johnson said. “We also have several amazing sponsors and a community that continues to help us grow.”
Johnson said she and Carothers wanted to provide high-quality performances to a diverse and expanding audience. They also sought to provide dance instruction and educational services that would enhance community life and the region’s cultural environment.
Most are familiar with ODT’s renditions of The Nutcracker, In Concert, and a surprise production with a guest professional dance company. However, many don’t realize that ODT offers dance therapy and courses to over 65 schools and facilities in 16 counties.
Through countless performances, classes, and outreach programs, ODT has brought the art of dance to more than 720,000 community members. They serve individuals as young as three and as old as 93, constantly spreading a message of health, wellness, and movement.
Johnson said several alums have pursued a career in the industry.
“You don’t have to be a performer or instructor – there are several other areas to go into, too,” she said. “We’ve been fortunate enough to see our students secure performing and teaching opportunities, but also others who are arts writers and dance fitness and therapy professionals.”
Upcoming events for ODT include The Nutcracker on December 2 and December 3, the Dance Battle Extravaganza in February, and In Concert in March, which will assume an Aladin theme.
ODT is connected to Johnson’s Dance Studio, which has several camps, classes, and performances planned for this summer. To learn more about these opportunities, visit johnsonsdancestudio.com.
To learn more about ODT, visit owensborodancetheatre.org.