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Founder & Artistic Director

Helen Gaus was born and raised in Scranton, Pennsylvania. She began her dance education at age five at the YWCA with Constance Reynolds who held her beginner to advanced teacher certification from the Royal Academy, London, England. When classes at the YW morphed into the original Civic Dance Centre, Miss Gaus apprenticed as class demonstrator and later became an assistant to Constance Reynolds. She held the position of Ballet Mistress for Ballet Theatre of Scranton from 1958 until Miss Gaus took the Civic Dance Centre in a different direction in 1978.

Miss Gaus spent many years working with outstanding choreographers in Scranton such as Hilda Butsova, Stanley Herbett, Henry Danton, Evelyn LeMone, Paul Glover, Michael Falatico, Paschel Guzman and Valerie Deakin. She furthered her studies in Canada at Queens College, Kingston, Ontario and the National Ballet School in Toronto, as well as various schools in New York City. She has studied under the direction of prominent teachers such as John Burker, Bettina Byers, Marjorie Haskins, Betti Olyphant, Sonia Chamberlain, David Howard, Jack Stanley, Paul Draper, Ernest Carlos, Charles Kelly, Luigi and Roye Dodge.

In 1978, Miss Gaus reopened the Civic Dance Centre, along with debut of Scranton Civic Ballet Company. Originally on the corner of Penn and Lackawanna Avenue in the heart of downtown Scranton, Miss Gaus continued her love of teaching and dance by creating a curriculum with the intention of making young dancers dreams come true of pursuing professional careers.

Miss Gaus spent three years as the owner and operator of the Ballet Academy of Baltimore and has also taught students from the Scranton State School for the Deaf. In addition, she has directed and choreographed local television commercials, special programs and mall shows, as well as various summer works with children in the Musical Theater Camp in Southlake, Texas.

Miss Gaus maintains membership with the Royal Academy of Dance in London, England. She has also received numerous awards including Marywood College Order of St. Genesius, Lackawanna Arts Council for outstanding contribution to the arts, Northeastern Pennsylvania Woman of the Week award from the Scranton Times, the 1983 Chamber of Commerce Award for 25 years of Teaching Excellence, American Heart Association Commitment Award, the Easter Seal Award for 25 years of service and the Achievement Award for MDA, and Northeast Intermediate Unit's Artist of the Year for 2007.

Miss Gaus has taught traditional ethnic dance for the Polish Women's Alliance. She also taught for several years at the Jewish Community Center, was on the faculty at Marywood College as the director of dance and was the director of the Abington Heights Dance Academy for fifteen years.

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