Kait Kingston-Eckman has shared photos and sorrow for the loss of her mother on Facebook since her mother’s passing on December 19, 2010.
Upon asking Kait her thoughts about her mother’s life, she relayed that she was currently writing about her. She did say the following:
“Her students just plain had FUN! She had a true gift for making each student feel SO good about themselves whatever the level of dance expertise. She also had a special way of relating to teenagers that inspired them to make each piece of work their own…to claim ownership and inspire self-confidence.”
As my sister Patricia Kingston pointed out yesterday, one of her gifts was that she was an amazing mother and grandmother and did everything she could to support us all in pursuing our dreams in life, whatever they were. She celebrated our achievements as she did her students’ achievements, with great passion and pride.
Lastly, I will offer a bit about her final years in life, after having developed Pick’s Disease (a form of dementia). The illness robbed her of her speech and ability to write, however before her speech completely faded, she landed on one phrase that she was able to say for everything which was “it DOES feel good.” This phrase, as my brother Erik Kingston puts it, “became her mantra” and really taught those around her to focus on the good things in our lives”.
In the article written by Kathy Adams of the Salt Lake Tribune, she describes Joan P. Kingston’s contributions to Dance Education in Utah. She was a graduate of the University of Utah’s Modern Dance program and was an original dancer with the Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company. Joan P. Kingston contributed to the Utah State Core Curriculum in the development of a dance program for K-12 education. She danced with “celebrated choreographers such as Jerome Robbins, Alwin Nikolais, Murray Louis, Anna Sokolow, Lucas Hoving, Willam Christensen, Ruth Currie and Yuriko Kikuchi.”
“From 1985 to 2003, she taught at Rowland Hall-St. Mark’s, where she motivated students to think independently and imagine creatively.”
Then in 2006 she was awarded the Utah Dance Education Life Achievement award for her dedication to dance education for a during of fifty years. Joan P. Kingston will be remembered for her work with the Utah Dance Association.
As a back up dancer with The Performer Studio, I have had the opportunity to work closely with Kait Kingston-Eckman, Joan P. Kingston’s daughter. It was unknown to me that her mother was such a great dance icon for Utah. Currently, her daughter Kait Kingston-Eckman directs the The Performer Studio where she is following in her mother’s footsteps in the arts. Only, Kait Kingston-Eckman focuses upon theatrical productions and vocal coaching and singing. Kait has just produced a music CD with her band ‘Light Vizion’. Kait has an innate ability and passion for dance and teaching that she inherited from her mother.
A little anecdote from one of Joan’s colleagues at Rowland Hall(RHSM), Traci Brand Nelson:
I just wanted to share with you how much your mother meant to me. RHSM was my first official teaching job and she truly inspired me daily, not only to be myself but to truly reach and teach the kids. I felt as if I was a kid myself, but she let me take the reigns with each production and always supported me.
She had gusto and I loved her for it! I’ll always remember her t-shirt, “I yell because I care!”.
I loved your mom. I loved working with her and when I left RHSM I missed her and the team we all were together.
I wish you and your family love.
There is a book of condolences for Joan P. Kingston by following this link courtesy of Deseret News.