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Ballet gets more legroom

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LINDON — For 20 years, the dancers in Jacqueline Colledge's School of Ballet have stretched and pirouetted and stood en pointe in cramped quarters.

Lack of space didn't cramp Colledge's style, however.

It never stopped her ballet students from achieving acclaim.

And now the dancers in the Utah Regional Ballet have leg room — and workout space, costume-storage space and office space.

The group also has access to a store full of supplies for dancers. All can be found at newly finished digs in Lindon.

"My husband owned this warehouse and the business that was here moved out," said Colledge. "One night, he came and got me and my daughters and walked us over here. He said, 'I think I can build you a nice studio here.' "

Today, the one-time warehouse is a $1 million dancer's dream.

"I've brought in teachers from all over the place, and they're impressed," Colledge said.

The new facility has three large studios, each finished with the mirrored barres, plenty of light and specially constructed spring-layered wood floors.

Offices have been built. And there's a board room, a foyer and rooms to make and store costumes.

Colledge started her ballet school in American Fork in a 2,500-square-foot studio — a space the dance school quickly outgrew.

It was tricky squeezing the dance groups into the studio, she said.

In June, part of the school moved. Part stayed as Colledge's oldest daughter, Heather Gray, is keeping the American Fork building for children's ballet classes.

Another daughter, Brittnee Squires, teaches at the Lindon facility and operates The Dance Box retail shop.

Colledge, who teaches dance at Utah Valley State College, still oversees several classes at her private dance school. The Utah Regional Ballet Company is officially in residence at UVSC. The dance majors come to the Lindon studio for their classes. Students seeking a position with the company take classes at the Lindon studio.

In all, Colledge and her daughters teach about 1,500 students, including those who come to UVSC to major in dance — a number that continues to rise.

In the new building, dancers will have a place to rest, Colledge said. When 150 performers rehearse "The Nutcracker," dancers stay at the studio for 10 to 12 hours. They need a place to relax for a few minutes, she said.

E-MAIL: haddoc@desnews.com