Sandra Birch Allen, BFA 1964, MFA 1967, Associate Professor of Dance at Brigham Young University, was named the 2012 Distinguished Alumna of the Department. Sandra began teaching at BYU in 1968, and rose to be the Ballet Division Administrator, basically creating, nurturing and growing the program of ballet studies at BYU for the past 44 years. The University of Utah Department of Ballet particularly wishes to honor Sandra Allen’s leadership in ballet studies in higher education.
Prior to her studies at the University Sandra was one of the charter members of the Utah Civic Ballet, the predecessor to Utah’s Ballet West. During her studies and for a year following her graduation with the MFA, Sandra continued to perform with the Utah Civic Ballet, performing demi and solo roles in many of Willam Christensen’s classic works.
While at BYU Sandra also served as Associate Chair of the Dance Department, choreographed over 20 original works, restaged over 13 works for BYU Theatre Ballet, and wrote two textbooks: Reference Resource for Teaching Ballet Part I: The Teaching of Ballet, An Eclectic Approach, and Part II: Ballet Methodologies, A Comparative Analysis. In 2011 she received the Gerrit de Jong, J.r Gratitude Award. In 2008 the CORPS de Ballet International, the organization of ballet professors in higher education, bestowed its Outstanding Service Award on Sandra.
While visiting our campus on the occasion of the award, Sandra delivered a compelling lecture about the history of ballet in high education and Willam Christensen’s place within that history.