OhioDance History

Mission: OhioDance inclusively supports the diverse and vibrant practice of dance of all cultures and for all capabilities.

Equity, Inclusion and Justice: OhioDance is committed to honoring, nurturing and advancing dance through the lens of justice, inclusion and equal opportunity in all aspects of its programming, services and organization.

Vision: of OhioDance is to: Recognize, advocate, and communicate the personal, social, and educational value of dance to all Ohioans.

Association of Ohio Dance ``Companies (AODC) was established in 1976 in response to a request by the Ohio Arts Council that dance companies in the state organize to provide a coherent channel of communication to, and within, the dance field. AODC was incorporated in the state of Ohio as a 501 (c) (3). AODC included representatives from 16 dance companies in Ohio. The Companies were; Cleveland Ballet, Columbus Theatre Ballet, BalletMet, Ballet Western Reserve, Canton Ballet, Cleveland Modern Dance Association, Lynn Dally Company, Ohio Ballet, Dayton Ballet, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Dancentral, Cincinnati Ballet, Contemporary Dance Theatre, Shalhevet Folk Dance Ensemble, Toledo Ballet, ZIVILI.

In 1984 the organization changed its name to OhioDance. The organization held offices in Cleveland until 1989 when it moved to Columbus.

Today, OhioDance presents the arts to the community through festivals, conferences, performance opportunities, a groundbreaking Virtual Dance Collection, educational resources, professional networking and a comprehensive website. OhioDance supports the creation of art through its celebration of Ohio’s dance artists, expands and enriches an accessible platform that engages the public with Ohio’s dance, enables lifelong learning in dance, and strengthens our community by honoring dance through a diversity of dance genres.

The organization pursues its goals through the contributions of a 30-member board of directors representing dance around the state, and one full time Executive Director. OhioDance has a long history of inclusive programming with educational and networking opportunities available to all.


Founded as Association of Ohio Dance Companies
Election of First President, Gerald Kettelar, Cleveland Ballet General Manager
Circa 1980
Created First Dance Directory
Produced first statewide festival at Kenyon College in Gambier
Changed name to OhioDance
Served as fiscal agent for individuals
Received nomination for outstanding arts event of the year (festival) from the Greater Columbus Arts Council
Moved offices to Columbus, located in the James Thurber House; First National Performance Network residency hosted by Ohio Dance
Produced OhioDances!, a videotape of Ohio’s diverse dance companies
Published statewide dance directory and resource guide
Established website
Produced festival in Columbus in conjunction with Network ’98: Conference of the International Network of Performing and Visual Arts Schools; reestablished choreographers showcase
Established Two OhioDance Award categories: outstanding contribution to the dance art form and to dance education
Presented Ohio’s Dance Treasures in Columbus with Ohio State’s Theatre Research Institute, in conjunction with the Dance Heritage Coalition’s Exhibition America’s 100 Dance Treasures
Established professional auditions at the festival
Relaunched the Dance Education Website with new design and content
Presentation sponsored by OhioDance during The Ohio Arts Presenters Network in Akron, titled Demystifying Dance: Creative Successful Partnerships.
Added Dancer Health articles to the Newsletters
Revision of OhioDance website
Presented a dance performance at the Ohio Statehouse for National Arts and Humanities month in partnership with Ohio Arts Council and Ohio Statehouse
Collaborated with the Dublin Arts Council, The Ohio State University, Department of Dance and Ohio Department of Education, Division of the Arts to present a site-specific contemporary dance.
Presented an Imagination Conversation in collaboration with Oberlin College and Ohio Department of Education, Division of the Arts, discussing the role imagination plays in education
Partnered with Ohio Statehouse to offer Dance performance during the Summer Lawn Series.
Collaborated with VSA Ohio to offer dance residencies in schools for students with disabilities
Created the Maggie Patton Dance Scholarship and OhioDance Outstanding Dance Student Award for a High School Student
Co-Sponsored the OhioDance annual Spring Festival and Conference with BalletMet, Columbus
Collaborated with Amethyst, Inc., a recovery center for women and their children, to offer dance classes and a performance opportunity
Offered OhioDance Fall Festival in different regions of state
Created and developed The OhioDance Virtual Dance Collection, an interactive website that preserves and documents multiple achievements of persons and institutions who have shaped the intricate diversity of dance history and practice within the state of Ohio.
Collaborated with Center for Balanced Living, a treatment facility for clients with food insecurity, offering movement sessions
April 2017
Unveiled the OhioDance Virtual Dance Collection at the annual Festival
Established residencies in schools based on the OhioDance Virtual Dance Collection
Co-Sponsored OhioDance Spring Festival and Conference with The Ohio State University, Department of Dance, Columbus
OhioDance Virtual Dance Collection Documentary film, Ohio: A State of Dance, at annual Festival.

Executive Directors

Karen McNally
Phillis Levine
Harriet Wadsworth
Doreen Dunn
Vickie Dummer
Diana Turner-Forte
Robin Sheppa
Karen Mozingo
Jane D'Angelo

Board Presidents

Gerald Ketelaar, Cleveland Ballet
Jeanne Coen, Canton Ballet
Melissa Obenauf, ZIVILI, Columbus
Margaret Tcheng, Ohio University, Athens
Tim Van Leer, Wexner, The Ohio State University, Columbus
Jeanne Coen, Canton Ballet
Vickie Blaine, Chair, The Ohio State University, Department of Dance, Columbus Jeanne Coen
Barbara Schubert, Ohio Ballet, Athens
Marc Ozanich, University of Akron
Arnecia Patterson, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company
Susan Van Pelt, The Ohio State University, Department of Dance, Columbus
Lucinda Lavelli, Unversity of Akron
Susan Van Pelt, The Ohio State University, Department of Dance, Columbus
Constance Hawk, Ohio Ballet, Akron
Neil Sapienza, University of Akron
David Guion, Dublin Arts Council, Dublin
Rodney Veal Sinclair College, The Art Show, Dayton

OhioDance Festivals

June 5-7, 1981
Kenyon College, Gambier
First Festival - Guest Speaker, William Como, publisher from Dance magazine, opened Festival
June 17-20, 1982
The Ohio State University, Columbus
June 3-5, 1983
John Carroll University, University Heigh
June 1-2, 1984
Otterbein College, Westerville
June 14-17, 1985
School of Creative and Performing Arts, and the Dance Hall, Cincinnati
June 11-14, 1987
NEODance Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland
June 6-11, 1988
Celebrate the Diversity of Dance and Dance the Celebration! Alliance for Dance and Movement Arts, Ohio Theatre Columbus
June 4-11, 1989
The Ohio State University, Columbus
June 14-17, 1990
Survival: Endurance/Duration, University of Akron
June 11-14, 1992
Dance Uniting the World, BalletMet, King Arts Complex, Columbus
June 12, 1993
Baldwin Wallace College, Berea
October 26-27, 1996
Answers from the Heart, Galbreath Pavilion, Ohio Theatre, Columbus
October 25-26, 1997
Come into the Circle, University of Akron
October 30-November 1, 1998
Re:Generation Ohio Theatre and Capitol Theatre, Columbus
October 29-30, 1999
Dancing into the Millennium: Mind/Body/Spirit Wittenberg University and Kuss Auditorium, Clark State Performing Arts Center, Springfield
November 3-4, 2000
Think Globally, Dance Locally, Galbreath Pavillion, Ohio Theatre and Ohio State University’s Sullivant Theatre, Columbus
October 18-20, 2001
Celebrating 25 years of Fabulous Feats! Case Western Reserve University and Cuyahoga Community College, Cleveland
October 2003
Vern Riffe Center for Government and the Arts, Capitol Theatre and Galbreath Pavilion, Ohio Theater.
May 20-22, 2005
University of Akron
May 12-13, 2006
Dayton, Ohio
April 20-22, 2007
Bowling Green State University
March 8 2008
Ohio State University, Columbus blizzard, rescheduled May 31, 2008
April 3-4, 2009
Ohio University, Athens
Oberlin College
2013 Fall Festival
Ohio Northern University, Ada
2014 Fall Festival
PlayhouseSquare, Cleveland
BalletMet Columbus
The Ohio State University, Department of Dance

The OhioDance Award

The OhioDance Award was established in 1979 in honor of Gerald Ketelaar, first president of the OhioDance Board of Trustees, to recognize outstanding contributions to dance in Ohio.

In 2000, two categories were established:

  • Outstanding Contributions to the Advancement of the Dance Artform (recognizes choreographers and dance artists dedicated to the creation of new work and preserving dance history for future generations)
  • Outstanding Contributions to the Advancement of Dance Education (recognizes dance educators dedicated to teaching dance and dance history as well as new, innovative dance techniques)

In 2011, creation of OhioDance Outstanding Dance Student Award, given to a High School Senior dance student.

In 2012, Maggie Patton Dance Scholarship and OhioDance Outstanding Dance Student Award, was added to honor the passing of Maggie Patton, Columbus resident founder of DanceCentral.

In 2016, an award in memory of Cheri Mitchell, Executive Director of BalletMet and OhioDance Board of Director was created to honor Outstanding Contributions to Dance Arts Administration (recognizes dedicated administrators in the dance field).

Josephine Schwartz, Founder, Dayton Ballet
Ira Weiss, Ohio Arts Council
Helen Alkire, Ohio State University
David McLain, Cincinnati Ballet
Heinz Poll, Ohio Ballet
Ian Horvath, Jr., Cleveland Ballet
Phyllis Levine, Executive Director, OhioDance
Frederic Franklin, Cincinnati Ballet
Kathryn Karipides, Case Western Reserve University
Andrew Bales, President/Executive Director, Cleveland Ballet
Jeraldyne Blunden, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company
Jackie Calderone, TAPS, Columbus
Jeanne Coen, Canton
Daryl Kamer, BalletMet
James Truitte, Dayton
Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus
Marc Ozanich, University of Akron
P.W. Manchester, University of Cincinnati
Marjorie Witt Johnson, Cleveland
Kelly Holt, Case Western Reserve University
Vickie Blaine, Ohio State University
Dennis Dugan, Tech Directions Associates, Akron
Lucy Venable, Ohio State University
Jefferson James, Contemporary Dance Theater
Gladys Bailin, Ohio University, Athens (Dance Artform)
Lynda Sackett, Beck Center for the Arts, Lakewood (Dance Education)
Wilma Salisbury and Alex Martin, Cleveland (Dance Artform)
Nan Klinger, Cuyahoga Valley Youth Ballet
Dick Blake, Cleveland (Dance Education)
Kathryn Mihelick, Leaven Dance Company (Dance Artform)
Robin Sheppa, Columbus (Dance Education)
John Giffin, Ohio State University (Dance Artform)
Dimi Reber, Antioch (Dance Education)
Sandra Kerka, Columbus (service to the dance field)
Lucinda Lavelli, University of Akron, past OhioDance President ( Dance Artform)
Marlene Leber, Hathaway Brown School (Dance Education)
Cheryl Wallace, choreographer, performer and writer, Cincinnati (Dance Artform)
Lana Kay Rosenberg, University of Miami University Dance Theatre (Dance Education)
David Shimotakahara, Artistic Director and founder of GroundWorks Dancetheater, Cleveland (Dance Artform)
Mimi Brodsky Chenfeld, Columbus, movement educator for over 51 years (Dance Education)
Kevin Ward, former artistic director of Dayton Contemporary Dance Company (Dance Artform)
Louise Guthman, Ohio State University, Associate Professor Emerita (Dance Education)
Lynn Deering, Director of Dance and Artistic Director of the dance company at Cleveland State University (Dance Artform)
Madeleine Scott, Director, School of Dance at Ohio University (Dance Education)
Nusha Martynuk, Choreographer and Professor of Dance, Chair, Theatre and Dance, Oberlin College (Dance Artform)
Kaye Davis, Associate Professor of Dance at the University of Akron (Dance Education)
Gerard Charles, BalletMet, Artistic Director, Columbus (Dance Artform)
Karen Bell, The Ohio State University, professor, Chair of the Department of Dance, Dean of the College of the Arts, and Associate Vice President for Arts Outreach, Columbus (Dance Education)
Jazmine Rutherford, Ott-Budig Cincinnati Ballet Academy, Cincinnati (OhioDance Outstanding Dance Student Award)
Diane McIntyre, Dancer/choreographer/director/teacher, Cleveland (Dance Artform)
Loren Bucek, Columbus City Schools educator (Dance Education)
Taylor Ramos, Toledo School for the Arts (Maggie Patton Dance Scholarship and OhioDance Outstanding Dance Student Award)
Bill Wade, Executive/Artistic Director of Inlet Dance Theatre, Cleveland (Dance Artform)
Marlene Robbins, Dance Specialist at Indianola Informal Alternative School, Columbus City Schools (Dance Education)
Chloe Napoletano, Akron School for the Arts
Matthew Keller, Miami Valley Ballet Theatre, Hamilton (Maggie Patton Dance Scholarship and OhioDance Outstanding Dance Student Award)
Mary Verdi-Fletcher, President/Founding Artistic Director, Dancing Wheels Company and School, Cleveland (Dance Artform)
Kelly H. Berick, Firestone High School, Akron (Dance Education)
Emily Gaffga, Creative Movement Center, Cleveland (Maggie Patton Dance Scholarship and OhioDance Outstanding Dance Student Award)
Tom Evert, Artistic Director, DANCEVERT, Cleveland (Dance Artform)
Karen King-Cavin, Educator, Columbus City Schools (Dance Education)
Paige St. John, Magnificat High School, Cleveland (Maggie Patton Dance Scholarship and OhioDance Outstanding Dance Student Award)
Rodney Veal, Sinclair Community College, The Art Show, Dayton (Dance Artform)
Susan Van Pelt Petry, The Ohio State University, Department of Dance, former Chair, Columbus (Dance Education)
Cheri Mitchell, BalletMet, Executive Director (posthumous Dance Arts Administration)
Alexandra Cassidy, Beck Center, Cleveland (Maggie Patton Dance Scholarship and OhioDance Outstanding Dance Student Award)
Sheri “Sparkle” Williams, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, company member (Dance Artform)
Melanye White Dixon, Associate Professor, The Ohio State University, Department of Dance, Columbus (Dance Education)
Pamela Young, Executive Director, DANCECleveland (Dance Arts Administration)
Lia Ferguson, BalletMet, Columbus (Maggie Patton Dance Scholarship and OhioDance Outstanding Dance Student Award)
Sarah Morrison, Executive Director, MorrisonDance, Cleveland (Dance Artform)
Monica Kridler, Momentum Founding Artistic Director, Columbus (Dance Education)
Mari Davies, Executive Director, Toledo Ballet (Dance Arts Administration)
Lydia Davis, Miami Valley Ballet Theatre, Hamilton (Maggie Patton Dance scholarship and OhioDance Outstanding Dance Student Award)
Leila Hill, Margaret Leiber School of Dance, Brookville (Maggie Patton Dance Scholarship and OhioDance Outstanding Dance Student Award)