Arts & Entertainment

Ballet academy celebrating 25 years Aug. 4

The Tri-Cities Academy of Ballet and Music will celebrate 25 years with an open house Aug. 4 at its Richland studio.

Joel and Debra Rogo are co-directors of the Mid-Columbia Ballet and owners of the Tri-Cities Academy of Ballet and Music.

They moved to the Tri-Cities 25 years ago from Los Angeles to take over the ballet company and start their dance studio after traveling the world with dance companies.

They met in Sydney, Australia, where Joel was part of the original touring production of A Chorus Line.

"When the show closed, I returned to the U.S.," he said. "Debra joined me a short time later, and we married 33 years ago."

Joel grew up in Los Angeles, and Debra's hometown is Melbourne, Australia.

"In Los Angeles, I worked in the wardrobe union and took stage managing jobs when I could get them," he said. "Debra accepted a position as the ballet mistress for the Omaha Ballet, so we moved there, where I took a position as assistant production manager and assistant stage manager for Opera Omaha."

But Omaha, Neb., wasn't quite what they hoped for. They returned to Los Angeles, where Joel went back to work for the wardrobe union and stage managing. Debra became a ballet teacher.

"That's when she heard about a ballet school for sale in Richland," he said. "Debra was pregnant with our daughter Rebecca, and we decided that the life of a theater gypsy probably wasn't the best. We decided to buy the studio and give it a try for five years."

That was 1987, and the Rogos are still loving it.

"I guess you could say it worked out OK," Joel quipped.

The Rogos invite the public to their open house and to help celebrate their silver jubilee from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 21 Aaron Drive.

*Dori O'Neal: 582-1514;