Ivy Leaf - Fall 2004
Over the past fifteen years, the Allied Motion Dance Company has had several different names and numerous different homes in cities across the nation. The group's roots, however, can be traced back to a catholic school in State College, Pennsylvania, where a twelve-year old girl named K.T. Huckabee was encouraged to dance.
"I had a teacher, Sister Natalie, who used to be a Broadway dancer before she became a nun. Every year, Sister Natalie would put together a big Broadway spectacle and all of us kids would audition. Of course there were all of these little girls who had been taking dance lessons forever or who had been in the show before. But Sister Natalie chose me for the big dance solo in 'Bridge Over Troubled Waters.' And I hadn't danced before in my life!"
Sister Natalie noticed Huckabee's natural abilities as a dancer and encouraged her to pursue her talents. Huckabee found a dance instructor in the community and began her studies in earnest. Feeling that there was no dance future for her in the State College area, Huckabee traveled to Point Park College in Pittsburgh and studied dance there for a year. She then transferred to East Carolina University where she studied jazz, Broadway-style, and modern dance. It was at ECU that Huckabee met dance instructor Patricia Weeks.
"Patricia taught modern dance and helped me to find my natural connection to movement. Before that, dancing was just something I really enjoyed doing. Now it was a part of me. Patricia helped me to see that."
After earning her bachelor of fine arts in dance from ECU, Huckabee worked on her master's of fine arts at the University of Northern Carolina in Greensboro. In her spare time, Huckabee choreographed local community theater productions. Through this work, Huckabee discovered her love for teaching and decided to make a career of dance instruction.
Huckabee began her career as a college-level dance instructor at West Virginia University. A year later, she moved to Wilmington, Delaware and taught at Glassboro State College. In 1989, while teaching at Glassboro, Huckabee founded the Sterling Dance Company.
The group was independent of the College, and featured a small ensemble of artists performing modern dance.
Huckabee's travels next took her to Weber State University in Salt Lake City, Utah. The dance company moved with her to Utah, and later to Washington State for a brief period before coming home to State College, where the group took on its current name of Allied Motion (see sidebar). After spending a few years teaching at the University Park campus, Huckabee was hired by Penn State Altoona in 1998, where she currently is an assistant professor of integrative arts and dance.
"With Allied Motion as the resident dance company for Penn State Altoona, so many opportunities have been opened up for us. Throughout the years we've always had to worry about rehearsal space, performance space, funds to rent that space… Now we don't have those limitations. Now it's possible for me to focus on what is most important: the dancing." – K. T. Huckabee