Roy Fitzell | A Dancer’s Heart Is Forever Young

A lithe Roy Fitzell, now in his eighties, demonstrates a string of moves to a small class of young ballerinas. They’re eager to absorb his experience. His movements are slightly slower now with his age, but you can still see the graceful knowledge behind them.

Roy Fitzell grew up during the depression. When he was just 5 years old a woman came to the door asking if anyone in the house wanted to learn dance.

“I pulled on my mother’s apron strings and I said ‘Mother! I want to!’ and that’s where I got started,” Roy recalled.

One day during class, an agent came to watch. Roy signed up with her and she got his first role in a motion picture at Universal Studios, which developed into many television opportunities and chances to perform with well known movie stars. The makings of an impressive resume.

“So many opportunities,” Roy explained. “On stage with Frank Sinatra, Danny Kaye. I danced on the Hollywood Palace where Bing Crosby was a host. And then I travelled with the American Ballet Company all over the United States.”

From his many wonderful dance instructors, Roy learned how to teach dance to others. Roy became the Chair of the Dance Department at UC Irvine and taught there for 10 years, and continued his teaching at Southern Utah University, Dixie State University, and Westside Dance Studio in St. George.

“We decided to follow family. So we are here [in Southern Utah]” Roy said. “It’s beautiful here. I love the topography. I just love it here.”