Janet Parke to Take on New Role

The longtime Instructor and Administrator Named Senior Artistic Associate

Ballet Memphis is proud to announce that longtime, beloved staff member, Janet Parke, will be transitioning from her role as Director of School and Youth Ballet Memphis (YBM) and moving into a new opportunity within the organization at the end of this school term. Janet has been named Senior Artistic Associate and will be working closely with Artistic Director, Steven McMahon, and the Executive Team on various projects and initiatives while remaining on the school faculty.

Ballet Memphis President and CEO, Gretchen Wollert McLennon
“It’s hard to fully encapsulate Janet’s impact on this organization and we are so excited that she will continue to share her expertise and leadership on a broader scale.”

Janet has been with Ballet Memphis since 1982, the first employee hired by founder Dorothy Gunther Pugh to teach at what was then just a small ballet school. Says Pugh, “When I was a young teacher and she walked through our doors, I realized how great her gifts were.” Janet has held many roles over the course of the company’s evolution and growth, including Ballet Master and Associate Artistic Director. She has choreographed upwards of 150 works for the professional company and YBM, including Coppelia, Taming of the Shrew, Nutcracker, and Match Girl. During the last four decades she has taught more than 1,000 students and worked closely with over 400 students through the YBM program. Many of her students have gone onto successful professional dance careers, while even more have achieved success in various other fields and professions, undoubtedly leveraging skills they honed under Janet’s tutelage.

Dorothy Gunther Pugh
“Janet has given decades of her life and love to Ballet Memphis through her intelligence, imagination, and determination to help grow and nurture the school, Youth Ballet Memphis, and our basic principle that all children can benefit from an approach to movement through principles of physics, but even more importantly, that each child has unique capacities to discover and express who they are as they grow. Her commitment to the children and the long held values of Ballet Memphis has been unwavering.”

A native of Fort Wayne, Indiana, Janet trained and studied dance at the Fort Wayne Ballet Academy where she performed as a soloist and later taught. She received her teacher training at the Atlantic Foundation for the Performing Arts (Fort Lauderdale, FL) under Ruth C. Petrinovic and Brenda Gooden.

Janet’s career and myriad contributions will continue to be celebrated. Expect to see plenty more from her in this next role with Ballet Memphis!