Festival Dance & Performing Arts has a rich and colorful history of accomplishments and service in the arts. In 1970 a young and very talented couple came to Moscow to pursue degrees at the University of Idaho. Carl Petrick and Jeanette Allyn Petrick opened a small dance school, the Moscow Dance Theatre, on 3rd St. in downtown Moscow and they started putting on elaborate dance productions with their students. The great successes of these productions inspired a dream to start a professional ballet company. In June 1972, Ballet Folk of Moscow was established with the aid of a grant from the Idaho Commission on the Arts. In 1974, Ballet Folk became company in residence at the University of Idaho with dance classes and company rehearsals held in Ridenbaugh Hall.
The company began touring, first in Idaho and then nationally. Eventually Ballet Folk, which was later renamed American Festival Ballet performed in 32 different states, and in 1976 represented Idaho at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. In the 1980’s the company was moved to Boise, Idaho to increase financial support, and a school was opened there in addition to area dance schools in Moscow, now in the UI Physical Education Building, and in Pullman and Lewiston. In 1989 the Boise and Moscow portions of the organization separated. The company, eventually renamed, Ballet Idaho, remained in Boise, and in Moscow-Pullman, Festival Dance & Performing Arts was established to continue providing dance performances, education and outreach for the Inland Northwest area. Now, with the mission of “Bringing the Arts to the People and the People to the Arts, Festival Dance reaches 15,000 people annually in eighteen communities in north central Idaho and eastern Washington.