The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

July 2, 2013

Beloved dance teacher dies at age 79

By Rick Dandes
The Daily Item

— SUNBURY — Joan Moyer Clark, 79, a longtime and beloved Sunbury-based dance teacher died Monday, but the dance studio she and her husband started 60 years ago remains a testament to her love of teaching, said her daughter, Kitty.

“She was a workaholic,” Kitty Clark said Monday afternoon. “And yes, she loved the purity of teaching. That was one of the main joys in her life, teaching ballet and modern dance at the Moyer Institute of Dance.”

Moyer had several students who went on to carve out successful careers in the fine arts; former students like Jack Hertzog, who began his dance training at the Moyer Institute when he was 12, and became a principal dancer at the Metropolitan Opera Company from 1967-1988; Peter DiBonaventura, who also danced at the Met. Another student, Ralph Anton Hoffman, trained with Moyer while he was a student at Bucknell, and later served as the artistic administrator of the Kirov Academy of Ballet, in Washington, D.C.

But she also touched the hearts, minds and bodies of many Valley parents and their kids who never made it to Broadway, or the big stage, but to whom learning to dance was one of the life changing moments of their lives.

Many of those dancers expressed their thoughts on The Daily Item Facebook page Monday.

Julie Spatzer-Clark wrote, “She was my ballet teacher and my daughters ballet teacher. Speaking in French and clapping her hands as we leaped over our friends shoes was my favorite memory. She was a great teacher and was a beautiful ballerina in her day. And damn, she had the best legs ! R. I. P. Joan, you will certainly be missed by many.”

Perhaps Vicki Vayda Oxenrider summed it up best for her — and others. “Many happy, wonderful memories. Joan was a pioneer in this area, bravely bringing much needed art and culture to us with her professional skills. We have gained so much from Joan and her special talents bringing culture to our area. It is so much more than dance lessons. Rest in peace, beautiful Joan and thank you.”