1937 ~ 2012
Passion, a word not nearly powerful enough, helps describe Joy's dedication to classic ballet. Her career began with the legendary George Balanchine when she was a 16-year-old dancer with the New York City Ballet ("Symphony in C," "Swan Lake," "Firebird," and many others). It continued with nearly four decades of teaching aspiring young dancers in a score of schools. She was founder, manager or director (or all three) in local and regional companies from Oklahoma to California to Utah.
Joy Feldman Ludlow died Saturday night (June 9, 2012) in her home in Salt Lake City, surrounded and embraced by her loved ones. She hadn't smoked in 25 years, but the cause of death was lung cancer. She was 75.
After she retired, her boundless energy focused on gourmet cuisine and charming her friends, neighbors and relations with thoughtful entertainment and spirited conversations.
"She was always glowing," said her lifelong friend, Deanna Zollinger, who came from Somerset, N.J., to say goodbye. "People were always coming and going in her house. She loved people."
Joy was born in Brooklyn on April 6, 1937, the only child of Louis and Lillian Feldman (née Halfer). After study with the School of Performing Arts and the School of American Ballet, in a very short time she joined the New York City Ballet in 1953. She performed with the company until 1961. Tours took her to Australia, the Far East and Europe. Then as now, the NYCB was considered the best in the world. The director and ballet master was Mr. Balanchine, the brilliant choreographer whom Joy regarded - according to her husband - as a father figure. He would have a profound influence on her later career as a teacher of ballet.
She was married on June 3, 1960, to Conrad Ludlow, who would be a principal dancer with the NYCB for many years. In 2011 he retired from the University of Utah after 25 years as a teacher and associate professor of ballet.
Joy's career as a performer ended when she chose to raise a family, but in 1970 she became an instructor with the Andre Eglevsky School of Ballet. Three years later, she and Conrad founded Ballet Oklahoma and its ballet school. She was the director. She was also co-founder and co-director of the Department of Ballet at Oklahoma City University.
Later, in Utah, she served as the director for the Ballet West Academy and as an adjunct professor of ballet for the University of Utah Ballet Department. She was a visiting artist-in-residence at schools throughout the country. She also helped found the New York Connection, a summer ballet camp in Bozeman, Montana, where she was a primary ballet instructor for several years.
As an instructor, she was highly regarded for her skills in teaching pointe and technique.
"She had such beautiful combinations," said a fellow instructor, using the word for ballet exercises usually improvised by the teacher. "Complex, yet simple."
Joy is survived by her husband, Conrad; her son, Rhys, and daughter-in-law, Vivian Cordial, in Richmond, Calif., and her son, Morgan, and son-in-law, Alex Yemat, in Seattle, Wash.; her grandsons, Noah and Nathan Ludlow, in San Rafael, Calif.; her brothers-in-law, Lynn, in San Francisco, and Roger, in Sunnyvale, Calif., and numerous nieces and nephews.
At Joy's request, no funeral services are planned; the family encourages donations in her memory to local hospice organizations. Further information: firstname.lastname@example.org
Published in Salt Lake Tribune from June 17 to June 18, 2012