The Founder

The Children’s Dance Conservatory/Island Youth Ballet is located in the historic Lakeview School on the south end of Mercer Island. Founded in 1984 by Director Susan Valencia, the school provides an atmosphere that is fun and dynamic, sophisticated and academically challenging, while embracing a reputation for high artistic merit.

The Children’s Dance Conservatory

CDC founder Susan Valencia directed The Civic Contemporary Dance Theatre (CCDT) in Portland Oregon during the seventies. This organization, a parks and recreation Dance center and school, presented original works for city wide cultural and performance events. Prominent master teachers and professionals regularly held workshops for the CCTD. Miss Valencia worked with professionals from the Martha Graham School of contemporary Dance, The Charles Weidman Dance Company, the Portland Opera and many other local artists and professionals during her tenure there.

Miss Valencia’s formative training was exclusively in classical ballet. During her college years at the University of Oregon where she earned BA in Dance, Miss Valencia twice interrupted her schooling to train and dance in NYC. Later Miss Valencia went on to do graduate work at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City continuing to develop her skill and knowledge in both modern dance and classical ballet.

Miss Valencia’s expertise was further developed through her affiliation and accreditation with the Royal Academy of Dance (R.A.D.), during the late eighties and early nineties.  After six years of study and examinations, Miss Valencia received her TC and TC Diploma.  This enabled her to promote and provide the highest possible standards for teaching classical ballet within her own school as well become an R.A.D. faculty member for the Preparatory Division, Cornish College of the Arts.

Island Youth Ballet

Performance opportunities are vital for students training to dance classically. It is the fundamental aim of this school to produce dancers who are gifted performers. Providing a structure and venue appropriate for the performing requirements of the school, Island Youth Ballet was founded in 1998. While the classroom drills the point-less seeming steps and positions necessary for a correct technique, it is in performance that color, light, and spectacle transforms the work of the day.

IYB is dedicated to the preservation of classical traditions and to that which is innovative and expansive. IYB fosters its dancers to be interpreters of the ballet and to continuously explore the role and music and its relationship to dance and its dancers.

  • Excerpts from Cinderella

    “Excerpts from Cinderella” continues an Island tradition with a springtime ballet full of hope and magic. More than 40 Mercer Island ballet students will perform highlights from the classical story of a young girl who discovers her prince with the loving help of friendly forest creatures and a fairy godmother.