ABOUT PATTY HARPER
Patty Harper became a professional dancer at the age of thirteen. She received the greatest part of her training in Chicago, studying with top instructors in the fields of tap, jazz, ballet, acrobatics, and character. Upon graduation from high school, Patty received a dance scholarship and attended the Barnum Fine Arts School of Michigan Avenue in Chicago. She later trained in the field of ballroom in the Arthur Murray and Fred Astaire techniques. Patty performed in theatres, fairs, hotel performances, and clubs throughout the United States and Canada.
Patty opened her one-room dance studio in Abilene in 1965, next to a candy store in Burro Alley. Patty juggled raising seven children and becoming a successful teacher and business owner. Three daughters followed in her dancing and teaching footsteps. Her son Christopher danced professionally with the Louisville Ballet. After five years in her first studio, Patty expanded the studio to accommodate the growing enrollment.
Patty Harper traveled across the United States to continue her training. She taught workshops for the National Association of Dance as well as Dance Masters Chapter 35, of which she is a charter member. Patty taught summer workshops for numerous Texas drill teams including the Cisco Wrangler Belles. She choreographed numerous routines for the Belles and accompanied them as they performed in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in NYC in 1973, 1977 and again in 1981. She also choreographed the special routine they performed in the Bob Hope 4th of July Spectacular in 1975.
Locally, Patty choreographed several productions for Abilene Community Theatre. Her students performed in numerous festivals, nursing homes, theatre productions, and special activities. Her semi-professional group performed in several clubs in Abilene. She also had a semi-professional twirling company, The West Whirlwinds, who performed at fairs and parades across the Big Country.
In 1980, due to the huge number of students, Patty moved the dance studio to its present location on North 1st Street in Abilene.
In 1985, Patty was asked to teach the worldwide entertainment troupe UP WITH PEOPLE.
Patty Harper retired in 1988 and lives in San Antonio, Texas. She attends performances of the current Patty Harper Dance Studio dancers as she is able. Her legacy continues through the generations of dancers who enrich their lives with the art of dance through Patty Harper Dance Studio.