In January, 2015, a reception in Hyde Library brought together Leonard G. Johnson’s family members, trustees, staff, and students to celebrate the naming of the renovated dance studio in the Emery Building.
Beginning at 13 years old, Leonard was practicing dance steps from illustrations in a Dale Evans dance book, preparing himself for the many barn dances that he would attend in high school. He was voted best dancer for the class of 1947 and went on to teach ballroom dance in Denver at the Ernie Miller Dance School. The love of dance runs in the family. Leonard’s great-great niece, Peyton Dill ‘14, also danced at Thornton Academy.
Dance program director Emma Arenstam Campbell said, “This is a huge gift for the school; it acknowledges the importance and continuity of the dance program. It’s an investment in instructional space and in the program in these times when, at other schools, arts education is usually not prioritized. The naming of the studio also reflects how interconnected the TA community is. I taught Peyton as a student for three years. It’s another example of a family legacy that has committed itself to sustaining a student program at Thornton Academy.”