Ruth Brinkerhoff Biography

Ruth Brinkerhoff

Kewanee High School, 1950

Ruth Helen Joanne Lamberty was born on January 11, 1933 in Kewanee, IL to James and Helen Lamberty. She was educated in many schools across the country in her younger years. In 1950, she graduated from Kewanee High School and went on to attend The University of Utah.

During her time at the University of Utah, Ruth was a part of the University of Utah Ballet program. After graduation, she went on to complete her teacher training at Brigham Young University. She received a B.A. in Elementary Education in June of 1961 and completed her Royal Academy of Dance certification there as well.

Upon graduation from BYU, Ruth entered the public school system and began teaching dance to public school students in Salt Lake City, UT. This was the beginning of her long career of teaching that lasted over 40 years.

She attended and graduated from the Allegro School of Ballet in Chicago which would later be called the Ellis-Du Boulay School of Ballet after Richard Ellis and Christine Du Boulay.

In 1960, she returned to Utah and shared her knowledge by giving an eight-week course on Ballet theory at BYU. This course covered such topics as the history of dance and ballet, the relationship of dance and ballet to other fine arts, basic dance patterns, music theory (as related to dance) and ballet theory.

Ruth Brinkerhoff

Mr. and Mrs. John Brinkerhoff

Later, in March of 1968, Ruth met John Brinkerhoff in Snowflake, Arizona. They fell in love and John moved from Arizona to be closer to Ruth in August of 1968. The next month, Ruth opened The Dance Studio in Provo, Utah. John and Ruth married at the Salt Lake Temple on November 15, 1968. They bought a home and settled down in Provo, Utah.

Ruth’s heart and soul went into her teaching. She would later change the name of her school from The Dance Studio to Utah Ballet Academy and it stayed under that name until closing its doors in 2008. Starting in 1978, she began writing a comprehensive ballet curriculum that she sold to dance schools around the country. Teachers began to collaborate with her and thus the Ballet Arts for Young Children series was developed.

In 1978, Ruth created the Utah Valley Civic Ballet under the name of “Aspen Folk and Ballet Company.” According to their website, “the Aspen Folk and Ballet Company served the community by performing at Senior citizen care facilities, city celebrations, local schools and at the Shakespeare Festival in Cedar City”. The school is still functioning today with Earlet Mainers as the Artistic Director. (Visit the Utah Valley Civic Ballet Website.)

Many of Ruth’s students went on to become professionals. Mary Wall, for example was under Ruth Brinkerhoff’s instruction for 12 years. In those 12 years, she learned to teach ballet and has also danced with Ballet West, University of Utah Ballet and Brigham Young University Ballet and Folk Dancing Company.

In January of 2008, the Utah Ballet Academy closed its doors. Soon after, on June 8, 2008 Ruth passed away, leaving a legacy of excellence in ballet training, a love for her students and for the art of ballet, and a curriculum series that lives on today.

Explore Ruth Brinkerhoff’s Ballet Curriculum Library.

Ruth Brinkerhoff Biography

6 Responses

  1. Hello Mrs. Brinkerhoff,
    In 1961 when I was a child, I took ballet lessons at the Allegro School of Ballet in Chicago’s Fine Arts Building. I have been trying to recall the name of my wonderful ballet instructor. He was Russian and I believe he and his wife taught classes at Allegro in 1961,
    Can you help me identify him?
    Thank you,
    Mrs. Joyce Miller Bean
    [email protected]

    Joyce Miller Bean December 1, 2015 at 9:24 AM #
    • She passed away.

      Jojo June 19, 2016 at 6:16 PM #
    • Joyce,
      So sorry you were unable to get in touch with Mrs. Brinkerhoff before she passed. Good luck getting in touch with your instructor!

      Kim Hungerford June 21, 2016 at 4:52 PM #
  2. This was such a pleasant surprise! I am up late, culling the internet for exercises and class plans, making sure I don’t forget anything, as I prep for a new year of teaching ballet and I find this lovely write up on Mrs. Brinkerhoff!
    Ruth was my first ballet teacher! I took the RAD exams and began pointe under her tutelage. I received compliments throughout my years as a dancer regarding a strong and correct foundation in pointe, which I always credited to Ruth!
    She was truly a grande dame.
    It was also a pleasure to read about her establishing the Utah Valley Civic Ballet Company. I had forgotten about her roll as founder. I danced with UVCBC for several years, having the privilege of working with Earlet. (However, I was somewhat of a petulant teenager and never gave Earlet enough credit or respect for all her time and dedication to the company.) She is an outstanding artistic director and I’m delighted to see she is still at the head of UVCBC!
    Thank you again for posting about Ruth! I have such fond memories of her. And am very pleased to learn her curriculum books are available!

    Holly Meagher September 4, 2017 at 11:33 PM #
    • Holly,
      This is amazing! It’s such a great honor to hear from one of Mrs. Brinkerhoff’s former students. It feels like I know her, though we never personally met, and I love to hear about who she was, how she taught, and of course, the impact she has made on the next generation. Thank you so much for reaching out and leaving your story here. Good luck with your class planning for the year, and please let me know if you need help with anything. I’d be honored to assist you!

      Kim Hungerford September 11, 2017 at 11:38 AM #
  3. I studied with Mrs Brinkerhoff for over ten years at the Utah Ballet Academy in the late 70’s – 80’s. Not only did I learn from the absolute best – everything has continued to stick. My feet are strong due to her pointe classes and the discipline she taught me has been such a value. She was amazing – I can still remember dancing the Tarantella from Swan Lake in her yearly productions. Now only did I learn ballet she also taught us folk dances that I still remember. I really wish I could have seen her before she passed away. She was amazing and taught me so much!

    Raquel March 14, 2018 at 4:09 PM #

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