Jane Spain honored as Living Legend of Dance in Colorado
Longtime Broomfield resident Jane Spain, who opened up her own dance studio in 1961, no longer graces the stage, but still "dances in her head."
Earlier this month, she was honored as a Living Legend of Dance in Colorado by the University of Denver's Carson Brierly Giffin Dance Library.
Broomfield Council on the Arts & Humanities Executive Director Keri Dillingham said organization members nominated Spain, whom they called "an advocate of the arts for the past 50 years."
A ceremony was held Oct. 21 at DU.
"It was an honor and a surprise and was a very nice gathering," Spain said.
About 150 people attended the event, she said.
The library recently announced the six honorees, selected from 19 nominations, for the 2018 Living Legends of Dance in Colorado recognition.
In addition to Spain, honorees include Ana Cla ire of Boulder Ballet; Nada Diachenko, a professor of dance at CU-Boulder; the Boulder Jazz Dance Workshop; Kathy Hill of Tap-Hill Academy of Dance and the Denver Ballet Guild.
"We thank the Colorado dance community for its participation and submission of nominees," Julia Wilkinson Manley, board president of the Carson Brierly Giffin Dance Library, said. "We are thrilled to honor these individuals for their meaningful contributions to dance in our state."
The experience was "enlightening," Spain said, adding she had an opportunity to visit with dancers she had known of, but never met.Advertisement
Spain, who started dancing when she was 6, had two dance studios in Iowa when she came to Colorado Springs for a summer workshop. While here, she was offered a job at Elitch Gardens, so she sold her studios and decided to move to Colorado.
When that opportunity later fell through, she kept studying and ultimately founded the Mor row School of Dance in 1961. The school would later become Dance Arts Studio. Spain eventually sold it to Heidi Thomas, but still serves on its board of directors.Jane Spain began dancing when she was six, and recently was named a Living Legend of Dance in Colorado. (Jane Spain / Courtesy Photo)
Back then, Broomfield had a population of 11,000 â" mostly veterans returning from war and settling down to build new homes. She started her studio with 20 students and ended up with 200.
Spain is retired, but continues to volunteer for arts-related events for local nonprofit organizations and for the city and county.
Under her direction, the dance studio committed itself to providing entertainment to local nonprofit outreach groups and their events, such as the Senior Thanksgiving Dinner at the Broomfield Senior Center and the Rotary Club's Foster Children Christmas Party, Dillingham said in the application.
Spain started the studio's Children's Dance Theatre in 1974 as a program where dancers perform for free at local elementary schools to several thousand children each year. She said it is important that children be exposed to the arts at a young age so they learn to appreciate and understand it.
Spain paid for the program out of her own pocket for years until she wrote, and obtained, grants that kept the program going.
"This program has evolved to a unique approach that integrates dance with a subject that the children are learning and it's all due to Jane," Dillingham said.
Spain also began the studio's free dance classes program that are offered in sessions twice per year, Dillingham said, and she was "instrumental" in creating the studio's free six-week dance program that is offered to children attending Bal-Swan Children's Center.
Spain said she has known Thomas â" who purchased Dance Arts Studio â" since Thomas was about 7 years old and just learning to dance.
"If there was a kid who wanted to dance, Jane made sure they could dance whether (their family) could afford it or not," Thomas said.
Spain taught generations of Broomfield families to dance and continues to give back both to the studio and the art s community, she said.
In 1974, Spain volunteered to be on the board of directors of the Broomfield Council on the Arts & Humanities, a nonprofit organization that presents programs and provides support for arts groups and individuals that wish to present diverse programming in Broomfield and surrounding areas.
In the past, she has served as the council's president and to this day continues to volunteer and provide a "source of guidance" and the acts as the official historian of the organization, Dillingham said.
She welcomes people to, and procures entertainment for, the BCAH's free Summer Sunday Series. She also is the costume designer for Dance Arts Studio.
"She is the familiar, friendly face at arts and community events, a trusted volunteer for many, and a wonderful person always eager to welcome the newest person to the arts community," Dillingham said in the nomination."Without Jane, our community would not be as rich in arts and giving-back as it is today. She inspires those around her to stand up and make a difference in their communities."
The Carson Brierly Giffin Dance Library, a special collection at the University of Denver's Main Library, focuses on Colorado and the American West, including historians, researchers, students, teachers and devotees.
The library contains materials relating to social, theatrical, ethnic, ritual, dance-drama and related dance studies, as well as oral and video history recordings by the more than 60 Living Legends of Dance of Colorado honored since the program's inception in 2004.
Jennifer Rios: 303-473-1361, firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter.com/Jennifer_RiosSource: Google News Spain | Netizen 24 Spain