Lifetime Achievement Award
Chairman of the Ann Lacy School of American Dance & Arts Management and founder of the OCU Dance Program and director and founder of the American Spirit Dance Company, Jo Rowan is a nationally known master ballet teacher and performer.
Rowan, who was trained at the School of American Ballet and the Bolshoi Ballet Moscow and holds a degree in fashion design and dance from the University of Cincinnati, has performed with the Cincinnati Ballet, Dallas Ballet, Garden State Ballet, Metropolitan Opera Ballet, the Dallas Opera, the Philadelphia Opera, the Tulsa Opera, the Cincinnati Opera, and as a soloist at Radio City Music Hall. She has performed as a guest artist with the Baltimore, Kansas City, and Cincinnati Symphony Orchestras.
Rowan has appeared in over 60 Equity musicals in New York, as well as at Actor’s Theatre in Louisville, Maine State Theatre, Playhouse in the Park, Kansas City Civic Center, and Starlight Theatre, to name a few. She has also appeared in numerous television commercials and was a regular on the PBS TV show, Consumer Survival Kit. Rowan performed in Grand Hotel as the ballerina Grushinskaya, a role that earlier launched the American career of Greta Garbo. She has also produced her own children’s show which toured throughout the northeastern United States. Rowan has created dance instruction records, tapes, CDs, and videos on the Hoctor, Stepping Tones, and Statler labels.
Professor Rowan received the St. Louis Tap Festival’s 2001 Preservationist Award and served as Spokesperson for National Dance Week from 2002-2004, alongside Ben Vereen, Fayard Nickolas, and Tommy Tune. Rowan received Dance Teacher magazine’s National Dance Teacher of the Year Award, and in 2004 was inducted into the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame. In 2006, she received the prestigious Flo-Bert Award, the “Tony of Tap,” in New York City, and National Dance Masters of America President’s Award presented in Las Vegas. In 2007, she received the Oklahoma chapter of Women in Communication’s award for significant contributions to communication through the arts.
She was the chief researcher for How To Make It in Musicals, Michael Allen’s authoritative book on developing a successful career as a musical theatre performer.
Formerly ballet mistress of the Dallas Ballet, Rowan has taught for all major dance organizations in the United States. She conducted master classes at the St. Louis and Detroit Tap Festivals, toured America as a ballerina with Dance Olympus, taught for Dance America and at the Boston Ballet, and adjudicated for North American Ballet Festival Competition in Boston.