Janice Baker is an Assistant Professor in Dance, holding a B.F.A. from the University of Utah and an M.S. from Kansas State University. A Des Moines native, Janice's activities in the world of dance have influenced and nurtured all corners of the state and all ages and populations of Iowa's moving human community.
At I.S.U., Janice teaches classes in ballet, jazz, modern dance, tap, social and folk dance, pedagogy, elementary and secondary movement education, and rhythmic aspects of movement. She directs the I.S.U. Dance Tour Company and is the faculty advisor for Orchesis II and the I.S.U. Ballroom Company. In this capacity she directs and produces Footfalls, the fall studio concert, Images of Dance, the spring studio concert, and stages the dancing for Madrigal Dinners, the medieval music/movement/culinary extravaganza produced in the Memorial Union each January. With the Tour Company, Janice presents lecture demonstrations and performances for a variety of campus and off-campus events, including university extension programs, chatauquas, and the Iowa public schools.
Janice's teaching career encompasses a vast array of experiences. She teaches for the New Visions Dance Project and represented Very Special Arts Iowa at the International Festival of Very Special Arts at the Kennedy Center. She has been the owner/director of The Dance Place, a private studio in West Des Moines since 1983, where she teaches all technical styles and creative movement for children and adults. With Mary Joyce Lind, Janice is an Associate Director of Iowa Dance Theatre which links many area studios in diverse educational and performing activities. One such activity is the Summer Dance Workshop, which brings nationally and internationally-known guest artists into Iowa State to choreograph, perform and teach during June/July. She has given master classes for the Donna Reed Festival, the American College Dance Festival, the American Alliance of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance and public schools in Des Moines, West Des Moines, Madrid and Fort Dodge. In association with her work in the public schools she is the recipient of a grant to update Iowa's dance curriculum for the Iowa Department of Public Instruction.
Choreography, direction and performance in dance and musical theatre are as central to Jance's daily life as breathing and driving. At I.S.U., she creates dances not only for all of the concerts she directs, but also for Barjche, the gala spring dance concert, and for I.S.U. Theatre and I.S.U. Music. She has choreographed for the Des Moines Ballet, Adventureland, Iowa Dance Theatre, the Ingersoll Dinner Theatre, as well as for many high school swing choirs and musicals. She has helped create, choreograph, direct and produce original musical theatre productions and children's theatre. As a long-time director for the Ingersoll Dinner Theatre, Janice has directed and choreographed over 50 musicals including 1776, Tintypes, Grease, Guys and Dolls, and The Red Garter Review. As a performer, some of her favorite roles have been Cassie in A Chorus Line, Molly Brown in The Unsinkable Molly Brown, The Mute in The Fantastiks, Essie in You Can't Take it with You, and Agnes in I Do, I Do. Janice also dances regularly for Iowa Dance Theatre, Dance Co'Motion and I.S.U. Dance.
Janice's service activities have included acting as a panelist for the Iowa Arts Council and the Nebraska Arts Council as well as giving many years of service to the Iowa Dance Council. She is the Chair for Dance Scholarship judging for the Donna Reed Festival and has served for many years as a judge for the Iowa State Fair Talent Competitons. She has been instrumental in taking dance to such diverse locations as halfway houses, special education classrooms, nursing homes and prisons.
Of I.S.U. Dance, Janice says, "I see I.S.U. as a community of dancers. We make connections between all forms of dance and all types of dancers. There is space here to grow and embrace dance as a lifetime activity."
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