In 1978, Kathy and Eddie Gasper founded the
F-M Center of Dance, located at Block 6 on Main Avenue in Fargo. Shortly after, the Gasper’s founded Fargo’s first professional dance company, the Red River Dance and Performing Company. For the next 14 years, Eddie and Kathy’s drive and determination brought invitations to tour the former Soviet Union, perform at the World Fair in Barcelona, Spain, Tivoli Gardens in Denmark, showcase their choreography in Washington, D.C., and tour extensively throughout the U.S. and Canada. Under the artistic direction of Eddie and Kathy Gasper, the Red River Dance and Performing Company became one of the most respected regional touring companies in the nation.
In 1996, the doors of Carousel Dance Theatre opened with the mission statement: “To be ever in motion for all artists’ dreams and expressions." For the next 8 years, the CDT student population had grown, the reputation of the Gaspers continued to spread, and graduating students were being offered scholarships at major universities and positions in ballet companies, on Broadway, on television, and in major motion pictures.
EDDIE GASPER (1929 - 2015)
Eddie Gasper came to the area as Director/ Choreographer at Minnesota State University, Moorhead. He has been commissioned by the New York Metropolitan Opera Ballet Company, worked through the League of Regional Theatre and was guest artist/ instructor in various universities and organizations.
Eddie was also Bob Fosse’s assistant for over a decade working with him on and off Broadway and in Hollywood. In London, he choreographed at the Palladium for the BBC’s Talk of the Town. On Broadway, he choreographed Fig Leaves are Falling with Barry Nelson and Dorothy Loudon, and appeared as lead dancer in Can Can, Sweet Charity, West Side Story, Irma la Douce, Music Man, and Guys and Dolls.
Eddie had directed night club acts for Juliet Prowse and Judy Carne, and has also directed Ginger Rogers, Phil Silvers, Donald O’Connor, Agnes Moorhead, Kathryn Grayson, and Howard Keel, to name a few. He had the pleasure of working under the direction of Jerome Robbins, Agnes DeMille, Michael Kidd, and Onna White.
Locally, Eddie was the Founder and former Co-Artistic Director/Choreographer for the Red River Dance and Performing Company from 1979—1995, directed the main stage musical at Trollwood Performing Arts School from 1981—1991, Co-Director of Carousel Dance Theatre from 1996—2004, founder and owner of Gasper's School of Dance 2005, founder and co-artistic director of the Fargo-Moorhead Ballet (2004—2007).
KATHRYN GASPER (aka Mrs. Gasper or Mrs. G)
Kathy Gasper has an impressive classical background complimenting her appearances on the Broadway stage, television, cabarets, regional theaters, and summer stock productions. Kathy has been a soloist and principal dancer with the Milwaukee Ballet, Weisbaden Ballet, Illinois and Chicago Ballets, the Florentine Opera, the Chicago Opera Ballet and the Merion Cole Ballet.
Kathy’s professional musical comedy roles includes Damn Yankees, Pajama Game, Bye Bye Birdie, Gypsy, Oklahoma, and Annie.
She has been privileged to have studied and performed under outstanding choreographers Lupe Surrano, Luigi, Jamie Rogers, Madame Clistove, Ellis DeBoulay, Peter Genaro, and Ron Fields. She was assistant choreographer for the Doc Severinson & Brothers and Sisters night club act at the Plaza Hotel in New York and Hawaii.
Kathy was the Founder and former artistic director of the Red River Dance and Performing Company 1979—1995 in Fargo, ND; choreographed and was the director of the dance department at Trollwood Performing Arts School from 1981—1993; founder and co-director of Carousel Dance Theatre from 1996—2004, founder and owner of Gasper's School of Dance 2005; and founder and co-artistic director of the Fargo-Moorhead Ballet (2004—2010).