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Pam saved the last dance for all

After 45 years and thousands of students Pam Wood calling it a career

May 21, 2017
By John Speer - Editor ( , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

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For 45 years Pam Wood has taught dance in Toledo. She has been what she describes as the "instructor and mentor" for nearly 6,000 young and old students who have taken her classes over the years.

On Saturday night, April 29, she hosted the last recital for Pam's School of Dance. While a few tears were shed there was a lot of celebrating, too. Current and former students, their families and Pam's friends and her relatives saluted the 84-year-old teacher who gracefully took her final bow.

Article Photos

Chronicle photos/John Speer

Pam's School of Dance has held classes on the second floor of the Toledo Community Building over the years. With her retirement and the planned demolition of the building, her classes are to continue under the direction of a former student. " I feel very secure in handing over the dance studio to Gail Ridout, it will be in excellent hands and (feet)," Pam told The Chronicle.

A native of England, Pam received formal training there and was a professional dancer.

She performed in shows featuring Lena Horne, Bob Hope and Danny Kay.

With her husband, Duane, she came to Toledo in 1971 when the couple purchased Black's Dairy. A visit here by her mother prompted the start of her dance school in 1972. Friends of Pam were taking their children to Marshalltown for classes.

Pam's mother suggested starting the school because of Pam's dance experience.

While the dancing alone would keep many busy, Pam also served more than 30 years as a volunteer on the Toledo Ambulance Service and was on the Deer Creek Medical Center Advisory Board. She also found time to serve two terms as Toledo mayor.

After 45 years Pam said, " I reached the decision to retire for several different reasons; The need to be able to take time to visit family and grandchildren, also great grandchildren in their activities. Possibly becoming 84 years young in June played a significant part, want to be able to enjoy time traveling and exploring new places."

In her own words Pam wrote: " I shall miss many things about my career as an instructor and mentor; Dance has always been an integral part of my life, and being able to share this love and passion of mine for the past 45 years has been incredible.

"It is difficult to pick out specifics, things that stand out mostly are how many of our students have and are still using their talents to pursue their own dreams in using dance in many and creative ways, from performing to teaching, and in sports and rehab fields, I receive so much correspondence from former students on how dance has helped them plan their futures in many different ways.

"Having students participate through graduation has always made me feel proud of what we have been able to offer in dance education, and to see the amazing young dancers improve their skills.

"It is certainly with a great amount of humility that I step down from something that I love and am lucky enough to have enjoyed for all these years, we never really know the impact we have on young people until they tell you in writing; I am truly grateful for each and everyone of them who has impacted my life in any way."



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