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About Us


Our Mission

To bring the fantastic benefits of Dance and Gymnastics to all. Primarily through the presentation of the highest quality programs under the instruction of the most suitable and thoroughly trained faculty available.

To serve our students with unparalleled excellence. Seeking always to anticipate their needs.

To serve our instructors and choreographers by providing the means for their work to reach the student community and providing the financial support to enable their efforts.


To serve our employees by providing excellent pay, benefits and working conditions, and by creating opportunities for growth and fulfillment through empowerment and personal accountability.

To serve our parents by offering programs that entertain, educate and in a positive manner promote the growth and development of their children as they mature into productive adulthood.

To conduct all our activities in accordance with ethical values, moral teachings and sound financial management.

Our Story

Miyoko Kato Thomas

Miyoko Kato Thomas received her extensive ballet training at the Tachibana Ballet School of Tokyo in her native Japan, subsequently joining the Asami Maki Ballet company. In 1964 she joined the Metropolitan Opera Ballet in New York City. A year later she signed with the Harkness Ballet Company and was promoted to the rank of Soloist in 1969. With the Harkness Ballet, Ms. Kato performed at the White House and toured Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, and throughout the United States.

Ms. Kato joined the Joffrey Ballet in 1974. She has performed leading roles in works ranging from classical ballets such as Swan Lake, Coppelia, Giselle (Queen of the Willies), The Nutcracker, Don Quixote, Les Sylphides, Raymonda, Pas des Quatre, and The Firebird to modern ballets and jazz. She has worked with numerous choreographers including Antony Tudor, Jerome Robbins, Agnes DeMille, Alvin Ailey, Twyla Tharp, Robert Joffrey, Gerald Arpino, and Jack Cole. Among the highlights of her career was a performance for President Johnson at the White House in 1965. In 1966 Kato toured Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East under the sponsorship of the State Department.

Miyoko Kato Thomas has been married to Robert Thomas since 1971. Robert and Miyoko opened the Ames Dancenter in 1978. Robert and Miyoko own and operate the Robert Thomas Dancenters in Ames (2). In more than 30 years of dance instruction, Robert Thomas Dancenters have trained over 10,000 young dancers. Robert and Miyoko are producers of the award winning Dancenter Dancers and artistic  and executative directors of the Iowa Youth Ballet.

Robert Thomas

Robert Thomas, an Iowa native, studied dance in Iowa until 1964. The Summer of ’64 Robert received a dance scholarship to Ted Shawn’s Jacob’s Pillow in Lee, Mass. From the summer of 1964-1967, Robert retained a position in the highly competitive Harkness Ballet trainee program in New York City.

In 1967, Robert joined the Harkness Ballet of New York. With the Harkness Ballet, Robert toured the United States, Europe, and the Middle East. In 1969, Robert was offered a position with the Stuttgart Ballet, the National Ballet Contemporair, the Joffrey Ballet, the Geneva Ballet, and the second Harkness company. Accepting positions with the Joffrey Ballet, Robert performed in New York, throughout the United States, Europe and Russia. Robert Thomas has been guest artist with the Andre Eglevesky Ballet Co., Lar Lubovitch Dance Co., Jack Cole, and Stuart Hodes Ballet Close-Ups. Robert has performed in over 70 major works which include ballets by choreographers such as Ailey, Arpino, Balanchine, Boris, Cole, Cranko, Folkine, Harkarvey, Hodes, Joffrey, Lubovitch, Massing, Neumeier, Petipa, Rivera, Saddles, Sappington, Severs, Van Dancing, Walker, and Willed. Robert has appeared in a variety of media from opera and stage to television. From 1984-1986 Robert Thomas was assistant Ballet Master to the Joffrey Ballet.

In 1981, Robert and Miyoko assisted in the creation of the Iowa State Center’s Nutcracker. They have served as artistic directors each year.

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