In 1975 I was working at the Clark County Community College in Las Vegas, NV teaching Pottery and Dance. After we moved to Pahrump in the late 70’s, the college set up an outreach program for me to teach dance for adults at the old Pahrump Valley High School on Mount Charleston St. I also taught an adult exercise class and a children’s ballet class at the original community center in the Amargosa Valley. The parents of those children insisted on having a “recital” at the end of a short 8 week program. To my amazement, Marta Becket, the world renowned dancer of Death Valley Junction showed up at that small recital!
Several years later when my daughter, Venza, was 3 years old I realized the need for a fun, physical activity for the children of the valley. Mr. Jack Sanders (Sander’s Family Winery) was then general manager of the Saddle West Casino and graciously allowed me to teach in their ballroom after school for many years. The first students were called “Donna’s Desert Dancers”. I also taught at the Moose Lodge and the Preferred Equities Sports Complex, now Nevada Treasures. Eventually we converted an old feed store on Frontage Road, owned by my parents, and created our first real dance studio. That building is now gone and a new one stands in its place just next to our current location.
A ground breaking event occurred in 1992 when Donna’s Studio of Dance partnered with the Pahrump Visual and Performing Arts Council and the Pahrump Writer’s Guild to create and produce our own theatrical version of the Nutcracker Suite which was filmed and televised on KPVM Channel 41, new to the valley at that time.
The best thing to happen to the studio was the addition of our Director and Ballet Mistress, Kathy Eason. Her high standards, attention to detail and love of dance and dancers have guided the studio through the years.
At this point, I have taught two generations of Pahrumpians and seen many talented young students grow up and continue with the studio as instructors and assistants, a practice we encourage. It is my hope that dance instills a sense of confidence in our students that goes well beyond performing in recitals, a sense of belonging to a team and a community, and a sense of well being which will promote a healthy lifestyle.