Young Peoples Dance Theatre

General Information for Parents


The mission of Young Peoples Dance Theatre (YPDT) is to provide youth with an opportunity to develop dance and movement skills, express feelings through movement, utilize their imaginations, maintain or improve physical fitness, and develop social interactions through the arts, specifically dance, by offering opportunities to learn, rehearse and perform various dance forms with an emphasis on creative dance and international folk dance and an exposure to other dance forms such as social dance, jazz, ballet, tap, and modern dance.

Young Peoples Dance Theatre began in the Fall of 1991 because a parent at UNI’s Malcolm Price Laboratory School was interested in her sixth grade daughter and friends having additional dance experiences. She contacted the music teacher at the Lab School and the dance faculty at UNI and together they established policies and procedures for the inaugural group of sixth graders at MPLS. A grant from the Iowa Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance provided support for a portable sound system and compensation for the UNI student instructors.

By 1996 YPDT dancers included third, fourth, and fifth graders as well as sixth graders at MPLS. The former physical education teacher at the Lab School who was now teaching in the School of Health, Physical Education and Leisure Services was the faculty advisor. In 1998 a graduate student in HPELS assumed leadership for the program and it was expanded to be offered in two more schools, one in Cedar Falls and one in Waterloo. In addition, UNI student instructors received university credit as a Practicum course.

The program is now under the direction of Jason Schadt, an instructor in the School of HPELS, and is offered to second through fifth graders in ten elementary schools in Waterloo, Cedar Falls, and outlying school districts.


YPDT is open to boys and girls in second through fifth grades in several local elementary schools. Enrollment is limited to 20 students at each school.


YPDT is a before-school or after-school program offering youth a chance to participate in dance.

  • Edison Elementary: Thursdays, 3:35 - 4:25 p.m. - Gymnasium
  • Janesville Elementary: Tuesdays, 3:20 - 4:10 p.m. - Lunchroom
  • New Hartford Elementary: Thursdays, 3:30 - 4:15p.m. - Art Room
  • Lincoln Elementary: Tuesdays, 7:40-8:30. - Gymnasium
  • Orchard Hill Elementary: Thursdays, 7:40 - 8:30 a.m. - Gymnasium


For your child and all YPDT members to benefit from the program it is important that they attend regurlarly. The YPDT sessions are planned so that each lesson builds on the previous. The instructors will keep track of attendance and tardiness. It is very important that YPDT members arrive on time so that they receive all the attention given to warming-up to prevent injuries. If school is not in session, including delayed starts and early dismissals, for either UNI or the Elementary schools (winter break, Thanksgiving, snow days, teacher conference days), YPDT will not meet.


Weekly Sessions:

Loose comfortable clothing for movement; barefoot, dance shoes, or gym shoes.



Black pants (jogging pants, dance pants, workout pants, not jeans), tennis shoes and the YPDT T-shirt. The T-shirts can be ordered through YPDT; you must supply the rest. If additional pieces are needed, we will try to choose pieces that the children will already have in their closets. Notification will be given in plenty of time if additional costume pieces are necessary.