HomeAbout UsActivitiesConcertsContact Us

first

About the UK Dance Ensemble

UKDE Members

Audition!

Become a Friend



 

The Origin of the UK Dance Ensemble

Dance at the University of Kentucky was originated by Mary King Mongomery Kouns, a 1933 graduate of UK. She graduated with a B.S. in Music and taught Public School Music for one year at Kenwick School. She worked with the City Recreation Department of Lexington as a Playground Director during the summers of 1933, 1934, 1935, 1936, and was an Assistant City Recreation Director in 1937, 1938, 1939 during the summers and evenings. She started on graduate work in 1934 and started as an Instructor in the Physical Education department in 1935. She finished her hours in 1936 and worked on her thesis from 1937-1938. She taught Beginning Tap, Advanced Tap, Folk Dance, Tumbling, Modern Dance, Equitation, Archery, Organized Recreation and History of Dance. 


Extracurricular activities included Folk Dance, Social Dance, Modern Dance Group, and UK Troupers. Dance at the University of Kentucky was originated by Mary King Mongomery Kouns, a 1933 graduate of UK. She graduated with a B.S. in Music and taught Public School Music for one year at Kenwick School. She worked with the City Recreation Department of Lexington as a Playground Director during the summers of 1933, 1934, 1935, 1936, and was an Assistant City Recreation Director in 1937, 1938, 1939 during the summers and evenings. She started on graduate work in 1934 and started as an Instructor in the Physical Education department in 1935. She finished her hours in 1936 and worked on her thesis "The Place of Music in the Professional Physical Education Curriculum" from 1937-1938. She taught Beginning Tap, Advanced Tap, Folk Dance, Tumbling, Modern Dance, Equitation, Archery, Organized Recreation and History of Dance. Extracurricular activities included Folk Dance, Social Dance, Modern Dance Group, and UK Troupers.

Mrs. Kouns studied two summers in Greenwich village in N.Y. with Hanya Holm, a modern dancer who made a mark for herself in the dance world--one course in 1936 and another in 1937.

Teaching in the Physical Education Department of the University of Kentucky under the able direction of Professor M. E. Potter was an experience which was one of the most valuable experiences of her life as well as one of the most happiest periods of her life. It was during a time of the Great Depression (1935-1942) and jobs and money were hard to come by. The hours were long and the pay was small.

Her greatest joy was the WAA Modern Dance Group which she started in1938. They worked after class and one night a week, and on May 11, 1939, the group gave their first performance at the Guignol Theater. Then followed recitals in 1940, 1941, and 1942. In September 1941, the group decided to take membership in Tau Sigma National Dance Sorority.

In March 1941 the group presented a program for the MacDowell Club along with M. G. Karsner's Folk Dance Group.

She was the correspondent for the National Section on the Dance in the Journal of Health, Physical Education and Recreation for two years to collect dance news items from schools in Kentucky.

King performing
King Kouns performing with Mindy Elder in the UK Dance Ensemble's "Decades by Two" in 1999, a week before her 89th birthday.

In 1986, Dr. Rayma K. Beal re-established the UK Dance Ensemble and continues to be the director and principle instructor for the group.

Mary King Montgomery Kouns passed away in 2007. We're grateful to Cynthiana Matthews for collecting and monitoring her mother's dance history.  *Special thanks to Ms. Kouns for providing these photos.

Website Design by: Vaughan A. Fielder
Website Photography by: Larry Neuzel
2006 UKDE