Our History

Fall 1992    Lynn Lavin, former principal dancer and principal teacher at the now defunct Des Moines Ballet company and school established Central Iowa Dance School on 100th Street in Urbandale Iowa. Its mission is to provide ballet training without the interruption and expense of a recital.

Hank and Beth, The Pointe Academy

Hank and Beth, Directors, The Pointe Academy

Fall 1995    Central Iowa Dance, sold to Albert and Elizabeth Adams and re-organized as a partnership, maintains its niche as the only “no recital” school in central Iowa.

January 1997    Vicki Kolbinger who had been teaching at Ballet Iowa joins the staff of Central Iowa Dance when the studio run by former directors of Ballet Iowa closes mid-year.

April 1999    Due to low attendance of parents at parent observation weeks, a “Showcase” performance is instituted where class work can be demonstrated on a proscenium stage by the whole school so that parents who are working during their children’s classes can still see their child’s progress at least every 2 years. A side benefit is that the lecture-demonstration format helps parents understand the vocabulary of ballet and a bi-annual award “the Bun Head” award is instituted to celebrate the student who exemplifies the mission of the school and is an inspiration to other dancers. The first recipient is Martha Boesen – an adult dancer who demonstrates the principals of life-long learning in dance while maintaining a career as a lawyer in the Attorney General’s office.

August 1999    The first annual Summer Intensive Dance Day Camp offers 2 weeks of daily classes in Ballet, Modern and Jazz with Guest teachers from New York and Omaha. This annual event brings teachers from outside the Des Moines Metro area to students from all over Iowa.

Fall 2000    Central Iowa Dance gains tax exempt non-profit 501( c)3 status with a small board of directors with a mandate to expand dance in central Iowa while maintaining fiscal responsibility. The classes expand to a second location in the basement of Windsor Presbyterian Church at 63rd and University in Windsor Heights. Most of the students take classes at both locations in the more than 50 hours of classes offered weekly.

Jan 2001    The Central Iowa Dance Folk Dance Group begins touring to Des Moines metro area festivals, assisted living and retirement homes bringing short informal performances to underserved populations. The Folk Dance troupe performs regularly for the next 5 years.

April 2001    At the showcase, the “Bun Head Award” goes to Mark Messer who, although coming to ballet in his 20’s demonstrates that incredible progress as a dancer can be achieved late in life. He later goes to New York where he dances and works as the Technical Director for a theater in New York City.

Fall 2001    The original studio location in Urbandale is demolished and the studio’s main location is moved to 42nd and University in Des Moines. Former student, Ben Rethmeier joins the teaching staff as the primary Jazz teacher.

March 2002    The first ever trip to New York City for open classes. 17 students take a minimum of 3 classes per day at 7 different studios with professional dancers.

May 2002    The Central Iowa Dance Youth Ballet (CID Youth Ballet) offers its debut performance. Upper level students perform Daphnes & Chloe (choreography by Elizabeth Adams), Serenade (choreography by Albert Adams), a tap piece by new staff member Brandy Snook, and the company’s signature piece Things We Love (collaborative choreography by Vicki Kolbinger and Albert and Elizabeth Adams) and the comedy ballet “Madcap Mazurkas” by Elizabeth Adams. The show also includes “Want,” The first ever Choreography Club piece by student Dancer/Choreographer Madeline Krantz. Every subsequent concert performance of the Youth company will include a piece choreographed and rehearsed by students in the Choreography Club program offering students a chance to try their hand at choreography with their peers volunteering to dance in their work.

November 2002    CID Youth Ballet performance at the Des Moines Playhouse offers 2 sold out performances. The program includes a world premier of Anton Labuschagne’s “Summer Symphony” and a revival of “Washoi” choreographed by Greg Neuman whose ballets might otherwise have died with him in 1999.
Jan. 2003    Seven CID Youth Ballet company members compete in the Youth America Grand Prix. Karen Kolbinger is recognized with a special award in her age group. Callie Bachman and Elisia Purnell go on to compete in the Finals in New York City.

February 2003    “Washoi” is performed at Governor Vilsack’s inauguration at the state capital building.
Mar. 2003    CID Youth Ballet premiers the ballet “Sadako” at the Japan America Festival. This story ballet subsequently tours to churches and schools all over Iowa.

April 2003    The third “Showcase” provides an opportunity to perform the variations that had appeared at The Youth America Grand Prix intermingled with the classwork of all the students in the school. The “Bun Head Award” goes to Callie Bachman who has since moved to New York City with her family to attend the prestigious School of American Ballet.

May 2003    Central Iowa Dance is featured on Iowa Public Television’s “Living In Iowa” program.

September 2004    Tap teacher, Brandy Snook gets married and moves out of the Des Moines Metro area. Replaced for a portion of the year by Molly Wierck (who has a baby in the spring), the tap program is ultimately assumed by teacher, Ben Rethmeier.

November 2003    CID Youth Ballet performance includes “Fiddle Faddle” a world Premier by Marcus Galante and the classical ballet masterwork, Les Patineurs.

May 2004    CID Youth Ballet collaborates with Simpson College Opera to offer “Gloriana” as part of the Youth Ballet performance. It is the first time the company performs with live musicians. This program also features Guest artist Matthew Carter of the Omaha Ballet partnering Karen Kolbinger in the Black Swan Pas de Deux, and the world premier of “Constellations” a contemporary ballet by Albert Adams.

August 2004    The Des Moines Register publishes an article celebrating the 4 male teachers at Central Iowa Dance: Albert Adams, Ben Rethmeier, Daniel Rojo, and Lewellyn Lynner who for the 2004-05 school year adds Breakdancing to the curriculum of the school.

September 2004    Albert Adams, accepts an “Above and Beyond” award from Governor Vilsak for his tireless work as mentor to Iowa dance students. That year, Albert Adams is also nominated for and receives a “Character Counts” award.

January 2005    CID Youth Ballet offers another performance at the Des Moines playhouse featuring the classical masterwork, “Corsaire Pas de Trois” as well as “One Heartbeat from Paradise” an original work by Albert Adams, inspired by the automobile accident of several of the performers in this work, and “Madcap Mazurkas” is performed with live accompaniment by pianist Wendy Sontag.

May 2005    Showcase and CID Youth Ballet performances are held on the same weekend at the Scottish Rite Masonic Center. “Bun Head” award is given to Jackie Koehler who is a senior that year and subsequently goes to Mercyhurst College to pursue dance. The CID Youth Ballet performance “Tutu Much” features the classical ballet “Paquita” with solos by Emily Cumbie Drake, Kris Gall, Dora Novak, Emily Asher, Kyla Pickrel, Jackie Koehler and featuring Lisa Barrick in the Pas de deux with Albert Adams.

August 2005    After a 2 year market analysis, Central Iowa Dance changes its name to “The Pointe Academy” while maintaining its commitment to the “no recital” format in order to more accurately describe its emphasis on Classical Ballet training. The school fulfills a dream 5 years in the making by closing both studio locations in Des Moines and combining both studios under one roof at its present location in West Des Moines.

November 2005    Taking advantage of the larger space in its new studio, CID Youth Ballet now renamed The Pointe Academy Dance Ensemble offers its first “In Studio” performance. The one-hour performance of excerpts of the ballets to be performed in Feb. 2006 is well received and sets a precedent for more informal performances. This more intimate venue, complete with theatrical lighting, is perfect for providing a more thorough explanation of the works to be presented.

February 2006    The Pointe Acedemy Dance Ensemble performs at Central Campus in Des Moines, featuring a world premiere “T for 5” by Albert Adams, and the classical masterwork “Pas de Quatre” restaged by Elizabeth Adams as well as “Soleil” a modern piece by former student Jessica Sand (now a working professional dancer in New York City) and “Continental Breakfast” the first contribution to the CID Youth Ballet repertory by Ben Rethmeier.

March 2006    14 students go to New York City and take open classes during spring break.

June 2006    Summer Intensive Dance Day Camp celebrates its 8th anniversary with an “all Iowa” guest teaching staff for the first time. Jennifer Weber from Quad Cities Ballet and Taryn Packheiser of ISU join the ranks of such luminaries as Anton Labushagne, Marcus Galante, Jessica Sand, Sarah Keating, Dianne Aldrich, Kristy Tancred, Rider Vierling, Warren Dixon who have taught Iowa’s dancers in the summer.

November 2006    The Pointe Ensemble goes “on tour” with a 1 hour performance for underserved populations of retirement communities as well as the “Sadako” Ballet which is performed for Grinnell Elementary, Fenton schools, Urbandale Elementary and Middle Schools, Altoona Elementary and Winterset Methodist Church. The tour repertory is also performed “in studio” for parents, friends and fellow dancers.
Dec. 2006    Members of the Pointe Ensemble are joined by Emily Cumbie Drake, Karen Kolbinger and Jackie Koehler (former Ensemble members studying dance in College) to perform a World Premiere liturgical dance at 1st Christian Church in Des Moines on Christmas Eve.

May 2007    Showcase 2007 is presented at Scottish Rite Masonic Center. The “Bun Head Award” goes to Kylie Schwartz. The Pointe Ensemble performance “Three Cheers for Five Years” celebrates 5 years with 3 world premieres including “One Big Rush to Rock” and “Victory” choreographed by Albert Adams, “Encore Concerto” by Elizabeth Adams and audience favorites “One Heartbeat from Paradise”, “Things We Love”, “Baroque Variations” as well as classical variations from “La Fille mal Gardee” and “Sleeping Beauty”.