The dream of Joy Johnson, Karen Carothers, and ardent dance patrons in the community, Owensboro Dance Theatre, Inc. became a reality in 1982. Karen and Joy wanted to provide high quality performances to a diverse and expanding audience as well as provide dance instruction and educational services to enhance community life and the cultural environment of our region. A pre-professional dance company in its 37th season, ODT is now renowned for its passion for sharing the joy and benefits of dance with community members of all ages, all abilities, and all cultures.
ODT trains young dancers in a variety of disciplines and provides clinics and workshops available and open to all young aspiring dancers in the Western Kentucky and Southern Indiana region. We present two major productions each year featuring Owensboro Dance Theatre Company members, local dancers and guest artists from nationally recognized professional dance companies and a third production featuring a nationally recognized professional dance company along with community dancers.
Karen Carothers retired as Co Artistic Director in 2009, but continues to teach at our home school, Johnson's Dance Studio. Throughout its 37 years, ODT has served over 540,000 individuals and is proud to have graduated over 170 alumni, many of whom have continued to share their passion for dance as teachers, studio owners, professional dancers, and more! Jaysie Beth Royal and Jennie Boggess, former ODT alumni, came back to ODT as the Assistant Artistic Director (2015) and Development Director (2014), respectively. Linda Taylor, former ODT board member, rejoined the ODT family in 2015 as the Executive Director. ODT is proud to continue its long legacy of bringing passion for dance to the Owensboro community, keeping this city the heart of the arts in Western Kentucky.
Owensboro Dance Theatre, Inc.’s mission is “changing lives…one dance at a time.” Four core values are stressed in all ODT programming: (1) exceptional quality without compromise, (2) education for all, (3) innovative programs enriching the lives of a diverse community, and (4) emphasizing health and wellness through dance.
Owensboro Dance Theatre, Inc. is one of only five, 501 (c) 3 dance companies in the state of Kentucky. ODT stages three major productions each year, The Nutcracker, In Concert, and a production with a guest professional dance company. Additionally, each performance is accompanied by two area school performances in collaboration with RiverPark Center's Arts Teach Kids program.
Owensboro Dance Theatre, Inc. also provides dance education to the community through its Triple A (Arts Access for All) outreach programs. Each of these programs is designed to reach underserved community members, providing the opportunity to experience the art of dance at a reduced-cost or free of charge. In 2014-2015, ODT served over 33,000 people through its performances, education and outreach.