Our history begins with our founder, Carole Torguson. Carol was born in Sanborn, ND on May 1st, 1923. Her dance story started early with formal training in classical ballet, and a ballet teaching career that began at age 14. She graduated from high school at age 16 and founded Canyon Concert Ballet in 1979, finally making her dream of an outstanding dance company in northern Colorado into a reality.
Carole’s lifelong passion has been dance. Over fifty years after she began she was still teaching approximately 150 children each week, dividing her time between Loveland and Fort Collins, Colorado. She also produced a series of instructional video tapes which were well-received across the U.S. She continues to attend performances and inspire our work at CCB.
Her belief that it is of paramount importance to listen to your body and give it what it needs, be that work or rest, is still one of our guiding philosophies.
Carole’s special focus was always the students from ages two to five. Canyon Concert Ballet continues to exercise her extraordinary care with these very young dancers in our Young DancerProgram. Some of Carole’s first students now bring their children to Canyon Concert Ballet to study dance, and we are proud to teach multiple generations in families!
Carole will be greatly missed, and we will always remember her dedication to and love of dance!
Carole was born on May 1, 1923, in Jamestown, ND to O’Dell and Eunice Amundson of Sanborn, ND. From a young age, her parents drove her to Jamestown for her weekly lessons with dance instructor, Marian Risk. After graduating from high school at sixteen, Carole enrolled in classes at Jamestown College. Her academic ambitions were cut short by the war effort. She followed her sweetheart, Benjamin Torguson, to Abilene, TX where he was stationed to train troops headed overseas to fight. There, they married and it was there that their first two children, Mary Beth and Dain Louis, were born.
After the war, the small family packed up and moved back to North Dakota, settling in Valley City. Both Ben and Carole had strong entrepreneurial spirits and began establishing their respective businesses while adding three more children to their young family; Terry Ann, Deborah Lynn and Rebecca Eileen. Carole opened Carole’s School of Dance and Ben, Green Valley Laundry, a commercial laundry and linen service. With five very active and involved children, Carole still managed to find time for civic involvement. She was Our Savior’s Lutheran’s Sunday School superintendent, staged, choreographed and made costumes for the church’s live pageants, choreographed numbers for the Miss Valley City pageants as well as for contestants, was active in her local PEO chapters, was an active member of the Fine Arts Guild and enjoyed her bridge club for which she hosted many wonderful themed gatherings. Together, Carole and Ben enjoyed square dancing throughout the 50’s and early 60’s. The family left North Dakota in 1968 and moved to Fort Collins, CO.
In 1979, after several expanding iterations of Carole’s dance schools, Canyon Concert Ballet Company was born and today, at 40, still thrives as Northern Colorado’s premiere regional ballet company. And with that, Carole’s lifelong dream came to fruition. After stepping down as the company’s artistic director, Carole continued to be involved with dance into her early 80’s by teaching very young dancers and by producing a series of instructional videos and manuals for dance teachers which were well received across the country.
Carole is survived by her four daughters; Mary Beth Sullivan of Fort Collins, Terry Williams of Jackson, CA, Deborah Pyle of Flagstaff, AZ and Rebecca Terrell and husband Alan of Junction, TX, two grandchildren, three great grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Eunice and O’Dell Amundson, her brother, Lowell “Budd” Amundson, her husband, Ben Torguson, her son, Dain Torguson, her grandson, John Engelhart and her son-in-law, Robert Williams.
“In life, as in dance, Grace glides on blistered feet.” ~ Alice Abrams And so it was for Carole.