Susan Hovey has taken the helm as director of St. Croix Ballet in Stillwater, the studio and company founded in 1991 by Karla Sweeney, who retired this last year due to an ongoing 14-year battle with late-stage breast cancer.
Hovey began teaching at the studio in 2004 and has directed St. Croix Ballet’s spring productions of “Cinderella,” “Sleeping Beauty,” and “Coppelia” as well as directed it’s three-week summer intensive.
From 1993 to 2003, Hovey co-directed a Kiel, Germany, ballet school. Hovey has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance from Creighton University in Omaha, Neb., and has danced professionally with Jo Savino, David and Anna-Marie Holmes, Nevada Dance Theater and Wuerzerburger Staatstheater in productions of “Swan Lake,” “Sleeping Beauty,” “Giselle,” “Coppelia” and “The Nutcracker.”
In addition to Hovey’s appointment, the studio announced that Gloria Wahlroos, who has a BFA from the University of Minnesota dance program, will lead St. Croix Ballet’s 3- to 6-year-old Children’s Program. Wahlroos joins two other current teachers — also SCB alums — Laura Daugherty and Abbie Defiel, to round out the studio staff.
“There is something very special about alumni of St. Croix Ballet returning to their home studio to continue the studio’s great dance tradition,” Hovey said.
St. Croix Ballet’s year-round program includes two full-length ballets — “The Nutcracker,” now in its 23rd year, and a spring show; a three-week summer intensive that includes modern, character, jazz, ballet, and Pilates, and a summer gala performance in Stillwater’s Pioneer Park.
The 2013-2014 school year also includes adding master classes with guest teachers, a Pilates program, open to students and adults, and Flemenco dance. The school also has a weekly Pas de Deux for level V and up.
“Without a doubt, St. Croix Ballet, which is grounded in the Russian ballet training known as the Vaganova Method, is one of finest ballet and dance training programs in the Twin Cities,” Hovey said.
Hovey notes that this summer, eleven St. Croix Ballet students applied for and were accepted into some of North America’s top dance programs including Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, Ballet Austin, Bossov Ballet, Gelsey Kirkland Academy and numerous others.
“Our students are often invited by the schools to stay year round,” Hovey said. “In short, St. Croix Ballet training can take a dancer as far as they wish to go in the dance world.
“While some of our alumni have gone on to careers in dance and the arts, most of course do not,” Hovey added. “But all who have been part of the St. Croix Ballet family throughout their elementary and high-school years ‘as their sport,’ have taken the discipline, training and the love of dance and the arts and helped them forge successful life trajectories and careers in many fields. Of this we are most proud.”