Ordnung, an Amish Ballet, is an original ballet by Joan Van Dyke, with devised performance co-directed by Richard Kemp.

A fifty-year old Supreme Court ruling.  An Amish girl who wants to dance. A ballet that traces the unlived dreams of those denied an education beyond eighth grade.

Dancer in a doorwayThe ballet begins in the Supreme Court courtroom in 1972 during the highly controversial ruling of Wisconsin v. Yoder. This determined that children within Amish communities were only required to obtain up to an eighth-grade education. Lena, a young Amish girl, is seven years old when the story begins. Fast-forward 10 years and Lena, now 17, wants to pursue a career in the arts – but must do so in secret.

IUP Dance Theater, along with devised theater students from the Department of Theater, Dance and Performance, guest artists, and The Mahoning Valley Ballet will premiere this collaborative work on Thursday November 10, 2022, at Waller Main Stage with a free pre-show discussion with Torah Bontrager, founder of The Amish Heritage Association at 5:00 p.m. The show runs for three performances on November 10 -11 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, November 12 at 2:00 p.m.  Tickets are available through Lively Arts at IUP, or 724-357-ARTS (2787). It is recommended that you get your seats today as there is limited seating available, .

In 1972, the Supreme Court decision in Wisconsin v. Jonas Yoder determined that children within Amish communities were only required to obtain up to an eighth-grade education. It has been 50 years since the Wisconsin v. Yoder decision, and we have seen many changes in the Anabaptist and English communities, including the impact of the environmental movement and human disruption of animal and plant habitats on the lifestyle of the Amish. Many Anabaptist people are being compelled into the English workforce without the formal education and training they need to be competitive in the job market. This verdict was highly argued and questionable, many saying that this should have never happened. The results of this law have impacted individuals raised in Plain communities for the last four generations with tens of thousands of individuals being denied a high school education. Today this law has continued to be questioned and debated among many states.  

Ordnung, an Amish Ballet is part of a larger project that includes an Award-Winning Film, “Ordnung” a dance, by Professor Jeremy Waltman and a survey designed by sociologists Christian Vaccaro and Melanie Duncan.  This project attempts to increase awareness and help facilitate a bridge to education and career goals for the Anabaptist communities. Come and decide for yourself!