Trudy Knowles

Trudy Knowles in her Celtic costume

Trudy Knowles was in her first dance performance when she was five years old and living in Lincoln, Nebraska. She took tap dance lessons at the YWCA, and danced in the recital to “Ball and the Jack.” After that performance she remained a dancer in her heart and soul, but didn’t pick up dancing again for 30 years.

In the 1970’s and 80’s, Trudy fell in love with international folk dancing. Too many children and too many obligations ended that passion.

Her big breakthrough came in 2000, when she had the opportunity to learn African dance from an amazing instructor. She remembers feeling the music and beat inside of her. When she looked in the mirror, however, she saw a frumpy 50 year old woman dancing off-beat and without the moves that were in her mind. When she told the instructor what she saw, the instructor said, “Then don’t look in the mirror. Just close your eyes and keep dancing.” And so she did.

She took ballroom dance lessons until she ran out of money, and then found her place with the Small Planet Dancers, where she knows she can dance without fear.

Trudy’s motto comes from a bumper sticker she once saw in up-state New York. It said, “Dance with Reckless Abandon.” She does that in her life, no matter what she’s doing.

Trudy is a teacher educator, and uses the arts to inspire future teachers in hopes that they will do the same in their classrooms. She enjoys her five children and her new grandson.

Trudy says, “ My whole life has been one glorious dance. The music is deep within me. It inspires me to work for peace and social justice in everything I do.”