Pasadena Dance Theatre (PDT) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to support, foster and advance the art of dance through professional performances and educational programs.
Evelyn Le Mone
Pasadena Dance Theatre, a non-profit dance organization, was started in 1958 by Ms. Evelyn LeMone. From a very early age, Evelyn wanted nothing to do but dance. Years of training from repeated trips to Los Angeles on the "Red Line" to study with the top teachers of the time, lead to her career as a noted performer, master teacher, choreographer, the owner of LeMone Ballet Center and the artistic director of Pasadena Junior Ballet Company which evolved in 1958 into Pasadena Dance Theatre. With her eclectic training in all forms of dance, she evolved her own "Free Style Ballet" form, which lead her to be the President of the largest dance teachers association in America, and to a professorship at the Pasadena Playhouse College of Theatre Arts. She created full-length ballets with innovative costumes and sets, and strong storylines such as "The Emperor's Nightingale", ``Twelve Dancing Princesses"
and her annual Christmas Ballet, "The Search for the Bluebird". Evelyn’s creative, classical, and exceptional training enabled many of her dance students to go on to professional careers with some of the top ballet companies in the country. These original alumni of PDT also brought their talents to movies, television, and stage work, as well as back to the classroom. This strong foundation set the stage for Ms. Cynthia Young, who was selected to succeed Ms. Evelyn LeMone as Artistic Director and continue PDT’s commitment to building excellent dance training and community.
Cynthia Young received her formal training with the San Francisco Ballet School and the University of Utah. Joining Ballet West, she rose to become the youngest principal dancer with a major American ballet company, touring extensively throughout the United States and Europe and performing a diverse classical repertoire which included Cinderella, Swan Lake, Coppelia, Serenade and Les Sylphide in addition to modern and contemporary works by Michael Smuin, Bill Evans, John Butler and Robert Gladstein. She became affiliated with Pasadena Dance Theatre in the late 1980’s when she began choreographing the annual Nutcracker performances for the students of Le Studio with fellow Artistic and Executive Directors Phillip and Charles Fuller. In 1996 Ms. Young became the sole Artistic Director of Pasadena Dance Theatre and
continued producing and choreographing The Nutcracker along with several other professional works such as, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, “Cinderella”, “Sleeping Beauty” and others for the students and professional company of PDT. Additionally, Ms. Young opened the Studio Theater, an intimate performing space for new works and concert performances in 1999. Under Ms. Young’s direction, PDT’s students gained the opportunity to share the stage with seasoned professionals, and many continue to dance, choreograph and teach professionally around the world. Ms. Young dedicated over 30 years to the organization, leading the studio through the pandemic of 2020 and bringing our full professional production of The Nutcracker back to the San Gabriel Mission Playhouse in 2021. In March of 2022 Ms. Young retired from her position as Artistic Director.
PDT is thankful for the dedication and passion of both Ms. Evelyn LeMone and Ms. Cynthia Young in fulfilling our mission: “To support, foster, and advance the art of dance in its various forms, through the presentation of performances and educational programs.” Some of Ms. LeMone’s former students are current members of our Artistic Advisory Committee to support the school where their dancing journey began. Ms. Young’s former students and company members, Ms. Ashleigh Doede and Mrs. Jessamyn Vedro-Lawrence now serve as Conservatory Director and Interim Artistic Director respectively. We are thrilled Mrs. Vedro will be choreographing and directing PDT’s Nutcracker for the 2022 season.
As a new chapter for Pasadena Dance Theatre begins, we are grateful for the strong legacies of our founder Evelyn LeMone and her successor Cynthia Young. Their students continue to support and actively participate in the studio they once called home and for that reason the future for PDT is bright. We welcome you to be a part of it with us!