Ms. Leney-Midkiff has been a dancer, teacher, and choreographer for over 45 years, dedicating her professional life to sharing her passion for high quality dance with young dancers. Her own studies began at Point Park College, the training school for Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. Additional training includes the School of the Pennsylvania Ballet, North Carolina School of the Arts, and the University of Michigan. As a soloist with the American Dance Ensemble, under the direction of Nicolas Petrov, Ruth performed leading roles in both classical and original repertory, including: Nutcracker, Les Sylphides, Romeo and Juliet, Pas de dix, Ruth Page’s Carmina Burana, among others. Additionally, she performed as a free-lance artist with the Pittsburgh Opera, the Physical Theatre Project, and the Pittsburgh International Folk Theatre.
Ruth holds two bachelor’s degrees from the University of Pittsburgh as wells as an MFA in Modern Dance from the University of Michigan. In Michigan, she served on the faculties of the University of Michigan and the Flint School of Performing Arts. She also established and directed a youth program at the Dance Gallery Studio/ Peter Sparling Dance Company where her students participated in a monthly exchange with the National Ballet of Canada.
The last 17 years of her career have been devoted to the education of young ballet dancers in North Carolina where she was on the faculties of several area schools, before founding and directing her own youth program and company, the Wake Forest Civic Ballet. Ruth has taught master classes throughout the United States and abroad in ballet, modern dance and her own contemporary ballet technique, and has created over 70 original pieces of choreography ranging in style from full-length classics to modern dance works. Her ballets have been honored in Regional Dance, where they have repeatedly received “gala” recognition. She has been awarded grants from the University of Michigan’s professional development fund and the Pittsburgh Dance Council and her ballets have been selected for performance in the Wake Forest Dance Festival 2017 and 2018.
She is proud to have her students dancing in companies, as well as teaching in schools and universities throughout the US, and is so pleased to be sharing her love of dance with RSB students.