Evie Pena-Shives -
EVIE PEÑA-SHIVES began studying dance with Danish ballerina Grethe Sullivan and earned her formal ballet training with the Harkness Ballet School in New York City. She forged a ballet career dancing professionally with several companies, including Milwaukee Ballet, Minnesota Dance Theater, Ballet Austin, and Tulsa Ballet Theatre. Her versatility as a ballerina offered her a range of notable roles, among them: Swanhilda in Coppelia, the Cowgirl in Agnes de Mille’s Rodeo, the Sugar Plum Fairy from Nutcracker, and the Ballerina Doll in George Balanchine’s Steadfast Tin Soldier. A moment Peña-Shives highlights in her career is when she danced the classical pas de deux from Le Corsaire. An understudy with only a moments notice, Peña-Shives stepped in to replace an injured ballerina. Supporting her in the pas de deux was none other than her husband Willy Shives, and by all accounts, it was a magical moment. One critic recalls it like this:
Shives’ partnering of Pena-Shives, who is his wife, was at once moving and seemingly
effortless. But, however well the couple danced together in the pas de deux, it was their
individual leaps and crisp turns that rightly brought the audience to its feet with accolades.
—Susan Everly-Douze Sep 14, 1991 (Tulsa World)
Peña-Shives has been on the faculty of several dance institutions including the School of Ballet Chicago, Chicago Ballet Arts, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and Pittsburgh Dance Alloy. Peña-Shives was honored in 2012 with the Patron of the Arts Award from Chicago’s Our Lady of Mount Carmel. She holds a Master’s degree in Education from DePaul University in Chicago and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from Chatham College in Pittsburgh, PA. Peña-Shives has worked in journalism and public relations. She dedicated years of service in the Chicago Public Schools teaching regular and gifted education at the Walt Disney Magnet School in Chicago. She continues her work as an educator with the Austin and Eanes Independent School Districts. She is also a freelance writer and lives in Texas with her husband and two daughters.