UDEO Lifetime Achievement Awardees
2023 - Chris Roberts
Chris Roberts has been teaching since 1978 and dancing since 1991- over 30 years of propelling dance education in Utah schools, one child, one classroom, and one teacher at a time.
Chris Roberts first saw the powerful influence of dance as the driver of his daughter’s carpool to BYU’s Young Dance Makers. While watching her dance classes over the years, he saw the transformation of each child as they engaged in decision making and personal expression with their whole self. He wanted all children to have this in their lives. So, Chris hired a teaching artist, Doris Trujillo, into his classroom. He watched, he listened, and he learned. With the book First Steps to Teaching Creative Dance to Children by Mary Joyce in one hand and a drum in the other, he began finding his way. He was soon teaching Chris Roberts dance regularly in his classroom and has since taught over 1000 children and hundreds of teachers the joy of dance.
He completed teacher workshops with Ririe Woodbury, RDT, and Tanner Dance. He cotaught with Marilyn Berrett and traveled internationally, presenting at daCi conferences in Brazil, Jamaica, and Australia. He served on the daCi USA board for 16 years, 8 of those years as chair, and the daCi Utah board for 17 years. He presented at NDEO in Long Beach at the NDEO conference. He was awarded the Governor’s Leadership in the Arts Award in 2012. 03 Chris has passionately led and practiced as a dance educator and classroom teacher for many decades and inspired many teachers to find meaningful ways to include movement in their classroom. He is completely deserving of this Lifetime Achievement award now that he has retired. Heather Francis Chris Roberts continually sought learning and growth in dance education until he became a true master and teacher-leader in the field.
His influence in the world of dance education is pronounced. As he finishes his career, it is so beautiful to see his life-long, although non-traditional, commitment to dance education honored. Melanie Fillmore He spent thirty years as a multi-grade teacher in Nebo District integrating dance, seven years as a district arts integration coach in Provo District, and five years teaching dance for UVU in the Arts Engage Program. He served as the elementary representative on the UDEO board for six years. He served on the leadership team of the BYU ARTS Partnership for seven years.
Chris is a naturalist and certified teacher for the environment. He does volunteer work for the forest service, from counting baby birds each spring to tracking endangered species to clearing trails and pathways for hikers and increasing forest health. He makes the world a better place. His deep aesthetic sense and appreciation for beauty brings out the best in everyone around him. Mrs. Raymond, a 6th grade teacher, shared this story: “When school began last year, we'd only been in session for a few days when the students started asking me if they were going to be able to continue dance class with Mr. Roberts. I didn't know what they were talking about so I asked, and they couldn't say enough about how much they loved learning to move in such creative ways and began begging me to make sure they would be able to keep dance in the schedule,” Raymond said. “He very generously made room for us. Chris has so much respect and kindness in his teaching style. I'm sure that is the biggest reason the students continued dancing,” she said. “At a time that students are becoming more aware and catapulting into a hyper-awareness of their bodies, Chris taught them to be comfortable and gave them tools for expression with the very part of themselves that they were most awkward with.” Raymond said that her students looked forward to dance every week and were disappointed if it ever had to be canceled. “Some of the students felt the benefits included helping them communicate better with their friends and family because they had learned to handle themselves in a dignified way during dance,” she said.
Congratulations to one of the most remarkable dance teachers Utah has ever known. Thanks for over 30 years of service to the field of dance education. A builder of people, a guardian of children and the environment who makes the world a better place. - Cally Flox
2020 - Kimberly Hillam King
Kimberly Hillam King, Artistic Director, began teaching at Davis High in 1990. She currently teaches Dance and World History. She has also coached the Drill Team and taught Physical Education, Pep Club, and Color Guard. She founded the first Dance Company at Da-vis High in 1991. Ms. King holds a BFA and teaching endorsement in Dance and History from BYU. While there, she performed with the Cougarettes and the International Folk Ensemble. She performed with the Folk Dancers throughout Western and Eastern Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the USA. Ms. King was the DHS Performing Arts Department Chair from 2003-2016. She served on the Board of Trustees for the Repertory Dance Theatre. She also served as Dance President of the Utah Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, UAHPERD. She was a committee member involved in the establishment of the Utah Dance Educator Organization, UDEO, in 2000 and later served on their board from 2012-2015. She feels it is vital to participate and serve in our professional organizations and in our dance community in order to support and further develop dance in Utah. Ms. King’s greatest love & joy is her family and the long-awaited arrival of her first grandbaby, Roman Michael King who was born on March 11, 2020!
"For over 30 years, Kimberly King has done committed and extraordinary work as a premium DANCE EDUCATOR in her Davis High School Dance Pro-gram and her contributions to building the acceptance and understanding of Dance in Education, Society and Community. She advanced the ART of DANCE in every Concert she produced. Kim wasn't afraid to tackle complex ideas for dance, like the Cancer Is-sue, creating strong student understanding of those issues through research/personal experience (students cutting their hair and donating to Locks of Love) and weaving that knowledge into DANCE EXPRESSION. She was able to inspire empathy and understanding in the school, the community, the STATE and even national attention by accepting a male dancer with no arms and no legs into her Dance Company." - Jaynee Adair Welty (Retired Dance Educator)
"If I had to describe Kim King in one word, that word would be Classy. Classy defines everything Kim does. She is a kind and caring Educator. Kim herself is a beautiful and skilled dancer. She challenges her students physically and intellectually. Her choreography often reflects timely world events issues. As a colleague/friend she was an absolute joy to work with. Kim is very gracious and generous in sharing whatever could be of help in teaching Dance and defending the Dance Core Curriculum. Kim King has been a huge asset for Dance Education in our state, Michelle Johnson (Retired Dance Educator)
"I can attest that Ms. King is highly respected and reverenced because she is such a GOOD person and master teacher! She is a legend at Davis High School! Not only is Kim a highly skilled and deeply educated "dance" teacher, she strongly believes in educating the overall human being. She uses a variety of teaching methods to emphasize the importance of humor*, work ethic, dependability, follow-through, taking ownership, being trustworthy and honest, responsibility, respect, creativity, self-sufficiency, and self-worth. The list could go on and on!" Sonia J. Miller - (Retired Dance Educator)
2019 - Kathie Debenham
Kathie Debenham, Certified Laban/Bartenieff Movement Analyst, retired as Professor of Dance in June 2019 after teaching, creating and administering at Utah Valley University for 24 years. She saw UVU grow from 8000 to nearly 40,000 students as it changed roles from community college to regional state college to university. After teaching as adjunct faculty there from 1989-1995, she was hired as the first Dance faculty member through a national tenure track search in 1995 and worked with Connie Reynolds to begin to build the Dance program. Kathie developed the curriculum for the AS in Dance including the creation of Synergy Dance Company, the Integrated Studies Dance emphasis, and oversaw the development, writing and eventual approval of the BFA in Dance, the BS in Dance Education, and the BS in Ballroom Dance. She served as the founding Chair of the Dance Department, then Associate Dean and Interim Dean of the College of Humanities, Arts & Social Sciences, founding Interim Dean of the School of the Arts, and Associate Vice President for Academic Programs before resuming her most-loved faculty role in 2012. Kathie has been recognized with the UVU Teaching Excellence award, and the prestigious UVU Trustee’s Award and the UVU Presidential Excellence Award.
Believing whole-heartedly in institutional and community service, Kathie also served the institution as Director of Institutional Effectiveness, co-chair of the Strategic Directions Advisory Committee and the Faculty Workload Taskforce, chair of the UVU General Education Committee, member of the USHE General Education Task Force and the Re-Imagining the Undergraduate Experience Committee, and founding member of the UVU Women’s Council. She served for 8 years on the Orem Arts Council and advocated for arts access in the community. In each of these settings, Kathie found her Dance training gave necessary and essential creative and critical thinking abilities, the capacity to engage diverse perspectives, the ability to collaborate, to work through difficult situations, to be resilient, to communicate compellingly verbally and in writing, to stick it out until the job was done, to encourage others to contribute their strengths, and to find humor and joy along the way.
Prior to joining the UVU faculty fulltime, Kathie taught as adjunct faculty at Brigham Young University from 1976-1995 where she also worked with Christine Ollerton as a co-director of the Young DanceMakers and associate director of the BYU Children and Teens’ Creative Dance Program. While at BYU, Kathie joined with Chris and Cathy Black to create and present choreography for the plenary sessions of the BYU Women’s Conference. She was a member of the Provo Integrated Arts Team from 1976-1981 and worked with the Utah State Office of Education to provide arts in service to rural areas. As a faculty member at the Waterford School from 1985-1989, Kathie developed the and taught the Dance curriculum for Preschool, Lower School and Middle and Upper Schools which she later developed for the Meridian School as well. During these years she was also an Artist-Teacher for the Utah State Arts Council.
Along with Doris Hudson-Trujillo and her husband Pat, Kathie created, co-directed, performed with and choreographed for Contemporary DANCEWORKS (CDW) from 1986-2001. Funded by grants from the Utah State Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts, CDW provided the directors and their professional colleagues with opportunities to create work and perform as well as conduct teaching residencies in Utah public schools as well as in the Midwest.
Kathie has long been active in teaching and presenting regionally, nationally and internationally and has published widely in juried and invited settings on dance pedagogy, performance, movement analysis and somatic practice. As a founding board member and former Board Chair of the Utah Women in Higher Education Network (UWHEN), she presented in numerous settings on embodiment, art, and leadership. In 2019 Kathie received the UWHEN Distinguished Service Award. She is a Fellow of the Utah Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters and was the 2012 Honored Alumnus the BYU College of Fine Arts.
Currently Kathie serves on the Advisory Board of the Center for Latter-day Saint Arts (CLDSA) in NYC and as chair of the CLDSA Education committee. She is also a member of the Journal of Dance, Movement & Spiritualities Editorial Board. She and her husband Pat have enjoyed many years of artistic collaboration with family-making at the heart of their dance-making. Their daughters, Whitney Hasler, Marney Schaumann and Kelby Ellis each teach creative dance/Magical Movers in various settings and they have given them 13 dancing grandchildren. Presently Kathie is happily creating a new chapter in her “one wild and precious life.” [Mary Oliver, Summer Day]
2018 - Cathy Brimley
Cathy Card Brimley began dancing, at the age of 8, taking ballet classes under the direction of Ballet West's former Ballet Mistress, Bene' Arnold, and went on to study ballet at the University of Utah’s "Ballet Extension Program.” She performed and toured with Ballet West, landing several child roles in the Nutcracker, as well as Waltz of the Flowers.
While a student at Skyline High School (1971 - 1973) she was involved in the Dance Company, Pep Club, and Drill Team (La Niches'). In the fall of 1973, she attended the University of Utah, became a modern dance major, and began teaching for Granite School District's Community Education Program where she fell in love with teaching.
At the U of U, Cathy studied with an amazing list of teachers: Shirley Ririe, Joan Woodbury, Tandy Beal, Linda C. Smith, Dr. John Wilson, Bill Evans, Loa Mangelson, Ford Evans, Kay Clark and many more.However, it was Anne Riordan who Cathy felt really acknowledged her ability as a teacher and whose encouragement and praise inspired Cathy to follow a teaching emphasis.
Cathy completed her student teaching, under the direction of Linda Blackham, at Olympus High School and went on, in 1977, to receive both her Secondary Teaching Certificate and her Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree, Magna Cum Laude, with a double major in Dance and Physical Education from the University of Utah.
From there her public school teaching career took off. From 1977-1983, Cathy taught dance at Judge Memorial Catholic High School and started their Drill Team in 1979. Cathy developed her work ethic while at Judge Memorial, working long hours on the many productions each year. She notes, “Fortunately, ...my husband was very involved with set and prop designing, hanging lights and transporting dancers and drill teamers to many different locations. Although he was not a teacher, he was fondly known as the most "under paid" faculty member at Judge by Principal, Father Kenehan. My sweet husband was always my greatest supporter of my profession and still is to this day.”
In 1983, Cathy left Judge to have her first child, Katie. When Katie was 9 months old, Cathy began teaching for Pearl Wagstaff-Garff at the Life Arts Center. “I taught with Pearl for 16 years (1984 - 1999). I had an incredible teaching experience with Pearl and other faculty, including: Molly Churchill, Cally Flox, Dena Merrill, Holly Burton, Nikola Patton, Lynne Listing, Sue Williams and many other wonderful creative educators.”
While at Life Arts Center, Pearl encouraged Cathy to produce an evening of her own works, entitled a "One Woman Show” which was performed at Kearns Junior High School and then again at Kingsbury Hall on June 3rd, 1997. Dancers from Life Arts Center, as well as select students from Indian Hills Middle School performed her choreographies. “It was such an amazing gift and personal acknowledgement of my life's work,” Cathy reflects, “I cherished my time with Pearl at Life Arts Center, learning so much about creativity, passion, and the possibility to do anything you can dream of through dance.”
While at the Life Arts Center, Cathy began a long public school career. She coached the Drill Team and also taught dance part-time at Hillcrest High School from 1986 to 1989. . After a short break to have her second child, Ryan, she returned as a dance teacher at Indian Hills Middle School from 1991 to 1998. While at Indian Hills, Cathy received two prestigious awards: the University of Utah Young Alumni Award and also the Huntsman Award for Excellence in Education.
In 1999, after 16 years, Cathy left the Life Arts Center and transferred to Union Middle School where she continued her public school teaching career for another 14 years, until her retirement in the spring of 2013. Cathy says, “My life evolved around my family and [my work at] Union. Once again being part time, I still found myself leaving the parking lot every evening when everyone else had already gone home. My weekends and evenings were filled with watching dancers on video, critiquing each dancer in a short synopsis so that they would have some individual feedback on their skills test, composition or rehearsal performance... so that each and every dancer from my beginning to advanced dance classes could be the best they could be. I truly believed it helped improve each dancer's performance and made for a rewarding and successful production. Time, enthusiasm and personal feedback was the best way for me to reach the kids and create a passion for dance.”
It was this dedication to her craft that earned Cathy the Dance Teacher of the Year Award in 2002-2003 awarded by the Utah Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance.
After her retirement from public schools in 2013, Cathy couldn’t keep from dancing and went back to private studios teaching at Emotions Dance, in 2013 - 2014, and then in the fall of 2014, she “went back to [her] roots” and began teaching for Nicholas Cendese, of RDT, at his studio in Sandy, UT, South Valley Creative Dance.
Another post-retirement experience has been with her daughter Katie Brimley Bates. Cathy says, “one of the greatest joys has been working with my daughter, Katie, at James E. Moss Elementary School (2014 - 2018). Moss Elementary is a Title I school and is the hub for the refugees in the Salt Lake Valley. Needless to say most of the students at this school cannot afford the opportunity for outside dance classes, so Katie and I, with the support of her Principal, Judith Kissel, have created dance opportunities for these children after school. It is truly heartwarming to see the faces of these enthusiastic children as they perform. Although, a quarter of them cannot speak English, they have learned that dance is a universal language that everyone can understand and enjoy.”
Cathy summed it up best when she wrote, “Besides my amazing family, teaching has been my life, my love, my passion. I congratulate all dance teachers, because I know how much time, hard work and enormous dedication it takes to create a successful opportunity for students. Teaching dance has never been boring. Each day brings new surprises, intense emotion, difficult challenges, and incredible fulfillment. I have laughed, I have cried, and cherished each moment. I praise and thank my mentors, colleagues, friends and family for their guidance, encouragement and support throughout my career. I cannot think of a better profession in the world than being able to share the
“Her energy in class is so brilliant and infectious that dancers work harder than they ever thought they could, just by following her example.” -- Nick Cendese-Shaw, RDT and South Valley Creative Dance
“Cathy has a face full of expression, with eyes that see every person in the room clearly and to their fullest potential.” -- Tami Redd-Knubel, former Life Arts student and current dance colleague
“Her classes were always motivating and inspiring. I loved that she always reminded us of the "why"...there was always a reason, a purpose, or intention behind our dancing. It changed my perspective of what dance was and how it could influence the world for the better.” -- Morgan Hastings, former Union Middle School student
“Through dance theater education and performance, Cathy has given and given. Every faculty member, parent and student has experienced a conversion to the wonders of Time, Space and Energy through her impeccable methods. How fortunate those thousands of kids are to have had Cathy Brimley as their guide through life.” -- Pear Wagstaff-Garff
Special thanks to Julie Ahlander and all those who contributed to this tribute.
2017 - Becky Reed
Becky Reed transformed dance in southern Utah. Dance was once thought as halftime entertainment. Through her years of education, our community now realizes dance is a wonderful art form. She should be recognized for the education and change she created!
Born and raised in Southern California, Becky graduated from California State University, Fullerton with a degree in Physical Education with Dance Emphasis, and a minor in English. She later attended USIU San Diego where she earned a Masters’ Degree in Education. Meanwhile, she continued her studies in jazz (Hama, Debbie Reynolds Studio, Lynda Gay), ballet(Linda Scarano), and tap (Jimmie DeFore, Mark Tabron) throughout Orange County and Los Angeles. In addition, while at CSUF she was a member of the Disco Team and a member of the Pom/Cheer Squad all four years. After teaching at Esperanza High School for ten years, she moved to St. George, Utah in 1991 with her family, where she received endorsements from USOE in Modern Dance and Health Education. She has been in education for over 34 years, retiring in June 2016 from Pine View High School.
In addition to dance she taught and coached gymnastics, cheer squads, as well as swimming in both the private and public sector. She taught at dance studios in both Orange & Riverside Counties. She was involved in Community Theater, her favorites being “Cabaret” and “The Wiz”. She was cast in commercials as a backup dancer and was a dancer/pom girl for the TV Series “Battle of the Network Stars”. She was a member of a professional dance troupe that opened for bands at the Troubadour and the Roxy in the 80’s and danced in Super Bowl half time (1987) with some of her former students, as well as industrials.
Becky’s students are now in many fields, not limited to, but to include; dance education, the entertainment industry and professional dance companies. While teaching in California, Angels Baseball Organization and Disneyland invited Becky and her dance team to be the only high school dancers to perform alongside Disney for “Opening Game Day” at Angel Stadium.
In California she was a member of SCSBOA & CAPHERD as both adjudicator and clinician. In Utah, she was a member of UAPHERD, UDEO, NDEO and State Affiliate for NHSDA. She worked as a Jazz Dance Instructor for United Spirit Association for six years with such names as Sue Llewellyn, Linda Talcott (Tally), Paula Abdul, Andy Vaca, and Tina Landon. She has been a clinician, guest speaker, choreographer and adjudicator as far north as Alaska, as far south as Texas and from the West Coast to Oklahoma. In thirty four years, she has taught Dance I, Dance II, Dance III, Dance IV/Company, Men’s Dance Class, Social Dance, and Social Dance II, which have included Modern (including Improvisation & Composition), Jazz, Theater Jazz, Ballet, Tap, Ethnic & Folk Dancing, and a variety of social and ballroom dances.
She presently resides in Southern Utah with her husband of 35 years, and their one son resides in Southern California near the beach which she intends to visit frequently!
2016 - Kay Andersen
Kay Andersen received his BA from Southern Utah University, and his MA from New York University in dance education with an emphasis in performance/choreography. His career has spanned four decades and six continents. For twelve years he was a soloist, participated in the creation of important roles, and taught company and master classes with Nikolais Dance Theatre and the Murray Louis Dance Company of New York City. He performed worldwide in venues such as the Paris Opera Garnier, Kennedy Center, Brooklyn Academy of Music (NYC), The Joyce Theater (NYC), Spoleto Festival (USA), American Dance Festival (Korea, USA), Carlton Festival (Brazil ), Italica Festival (Spain), Athens Festival (Greece), Aix en Provence Festival (France), Kuopio Festival (Finland), Jacob’s Pillow (USA), served as a cultural ambassador to India representing the State Department, performed for President Reagan at the Kennedy Center Honors CBS telecast featuring the Nikolais Dance Theatre, and many more.
Kay worked as a performer/teacher/choreographer for Televisa of Mexico City where he appeared in weekly television specials, commercials, and toured throughout the republic of Mexico. He performed as a guest artist with Simona Bucci’s Imago Dance Theatre of Florence, Italy, and Ema Pulido’s San Juan de Letran Danza Comtemporanea, Mexico City, Mexico. Other performance credits include New York based companies: Shapiro and Smith, Linda Nutter Dancers, Erroll Simpson Dance Company, Zipolitos, among others. In Los Angeles he performed extensively with the American Folk Ballet and was a member of the company for 24 years. One of his earliest performance memories is as a seven year old performing for neighborhood friends balancing and tap dancing on the backs of cows on the family dairy in Petersboro, Utah.
Kay Andersen continues to teach and choreograph throughout the United States and abroad, most recently in Mexico, the Netherlands, Italy, and China. At SUU he is a proud recipient of the Thunderbird Award, Professor of the Year, and 2014 commencement Distinguished Educator award honoree. He loves being in the studio, working with students through the creative process, visiting schools throughout the state, and many years teaching at the MOVE-IT summer intensive RW workshops. He is the current Chair of the Department of Theatre Arts and Dance at Southern Utah University.