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Toes are tapping at Gail’s Academy of Dance in downtown Tama

November 13, 2017
By Allison Graham - The News-Herald ( , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

They say when one door closes another door opens. For one new Tama-Toledo business owner, that is quite literally what happened.

Pam's School of Dance has been an institution in the Tama-Toledo Community for the past four decades. Year after year children would climb the stairs at the Toledo Community Building and enter the world of dance. But with time, comes change. Pam Wood announced earlier this year that after 45 years of teaching dance in the Tama-Toledo community she would be retiring. Families in the community need not worry though. While Pam's School of Dance may be closing, it would not be the end of Wood's legacy in the community.

Enter Gail (Bradley) Ridout. Ridout is a South Tama County alumni as well as an alumna of Pam's School of Dance. Growing up Ridout was a student of Wood's. She has been active in dance since the age of eight, training with Wood at Pam's School of Dance. Ridout has years of experience in ballet, tap, jazz and hip hop.

Article Photos

Gail Ridout and STC senior and Gail’s Dance Academy volunteer, Kaylee Klostermann, prepare to teach a first grade class at Gail’s Dance Academy in Tama. Dance students Dreya Chamberlin, Marie Grismer, Alexandra Castro Ramirez, Kendra Svacina, Karina Lareza, McKenna Moore, Willow Fonua Dacon, Shelby Ford, Romy Buffalo, and Natalie Upah use a dance barre to practice ballet.
News-Herald photos/Allison Graham

Ridout not only has experience in performing dance but also in teaching dance. She began teaching young children as a volunteer at Pam's School of Dance when she was just 11 years old. She volunteered teaching dance until she went to college.

Ridout attended Kirkwood Community College. While at Kirkwood she continued with her passion. She was a part of the Kirkwood dance team for two years and was also a part of the Cedar Rapids Stars semi-pro cheerleading / dance team for a year.

After graduating from Kirkwood, Ridout went on to Iowa State University. There she received her bachelor's in Biology with a minor in dance. Her studies covered teaching children's dance, methods of teaching dance, modern dance II and composition, dance appreciation, sound and movement and the history and philosophy of dance.

Following graduation from ISU, Ridout returned to assist Wood once again. At the age of 21, Ridout began teaching all ages and classes at Pam's School of Dance and has been doing so for a combined 30 years.

"I am excited to continue sharing my passion for dance with others," said Ridout.

Ridout's new studio called Gail's Academy of Dance is located on 3rd Street in Tama. Ridout will be offering classes in ballet, pointe, jazz, hip-hop and tap for students age 3 through adults.



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