A 2008 recipient of the Governor’s Arts Award, Penny Askew is in her fourth season as School Director for Oklahoma City Ballet. A native Oklahoman, Ms. Askew began her serious training with Candace Jones Smalley at Western Oklahoma Ballet Academy in Clinton. She also studied at the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute, in addition to Ballet West, The School of Pennsylvania Ballet, and the National Academy of Arts. Many notable teachers influenced Ms. Askew during her formative years, including Robert Joffrey, Richard Englund, Lupe Serrano, David Howard, Bruce Marks, and Toni Lander.
For over 25 years Ms. Askew was the Director of Western Oklahoma Ballet Academy and its pre-professional performing company Western Oklahoma Ballet Theatre, serving as the primary artistic, administrative, and marketing force behind the organizations. Her students have gone on to professional careers in ballet, modern dance, and musical theater companies, have received scholarships to professional and university training programs, and have taught and choreographed professionally across the United States and in Europe.
Ms. Askew holds a Master of Science in Applied Psychology from Southwestern Oklahoma State University, and also received her Master of Fine Arts in Dance/Choreography from the University of Iowa. Ms. Askew was named Outstanding Choreographer of the Regional Dance America National Choreography Conference in both 1996 and 1998, and her works have been commissioned by many companies. She is an American Ballet Theatre® Affiliate Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Primary through Level 7 & Partnering of the ABT® National Training Curriculum and has successfully presented students for examinations. She has taught for AileyCamp New York, Regional Dance America/Southwest Festivals, and for the Glenda Brown Choreography Project. She was also the Regional Dance America/Northeast adjudicator for the 2017 National Festival in Phoenix.
As Director for The Oklahoma City Ballet Yvonne Chouteau School, Ms. Askew is responsible for creating class schedules, leading the school faculty, and teaching various levels, in addition to directing the end-of-year performances, the Oklahoma City Youth Ballet, and the Oklahoma City Ballet Summer Intensive. She also serves as a Ballet Master for the professional company teaching, coaching, and assisting with rehearsals.