Donna Jean Coover Babcock (1944- ) Papers (0956kc)
Donna Jean Coover was born in Parsons, Kansas, on September 1, 1944, the youngest child of Almon Baker and Mildred May Garrison Coover. When Jean was in seventh grade, the family moved to Kansas City, where she began dance classes with Ula Sharon. Jean performed in many productions of Sharon’s Kansas City Dance Theatre, and in the summer of 1962 she studied in New York with the American Ballet Theatre and the Ballet Russe. When she was accepted to Rosella Hightower’s dance academy in Cannes, France, a scholarship fund was established for her.
Jean spent two years in Cannes, finishing at the top of her class and then traveling throughout Europe. She accepted a contract in the corps of the Bremen Ballet in Germany, and received enthusiastic reviews for a solo performance in which she replaced an injured principal dancer. After her contract with Bremen expired, she went to the Kassel Ballet, where she met and worked with her future husband, Eckhard Heidrich. They were then employed by Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet in 1969 and spent a strenuous year of touring.
In 1970 they returned to Kansas City, where they taught in local dance schools and were featured performers at Starlight Theatre. In 1972 they opened the Coover-Heidrich School of Dance in Shawnee, Kansas, and the Independence School of Dance. In 1980 they formed the Coover-Heidrich Ballet Workshop in the Norman School at 35th and Jefferson in Midtown. The Centre City Ballet was also a function of the school. In December of that year the Heidriches divorced, and Jean renamed the school the Coover Ballet Workshop.
The collection consists of family, personal, and professional materials of Donna Jean Coover Heidrich Babcock. Family papers include photographs, printed materials, and ephemera. There is a small amount of material kept by her father regarding his job as a railroad engineer. Babcock's personal and professional papers include correspondence; clippings; programs from dance and theatre performances; a great amount of material documenting her ballet career in Germany and Canada; administrative and financial records of her Kansas City dance schools; photographs; and her planning of Ula Sharon's memorial tea. This collection is closely related to that of Miss Sharon's (0955kc). 1945-1997.
6 cubic feet, oversize.
See also Frank Olin Babcock (1916-2003) Papers (1518kc)
© State Historical Society of Missouri
Monday, February 07, 2011
State Historical Society of Missouri Research Center-Kansas City
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