Artistic Dance Endeavors Gives Scholarships to Students and Families Struggling with Cancer

“What you give, you get,” says Kim Luke, founder of Artistic Endeavors Dance. “I’m a firm believer in karma.”

After dancing with national touring companies and providing choreography for broadway stars, Luke founded Artistic Dance Endeavors in 2006 with nothing more than a $1,000 gift from her father and a rented room at the University of Utah. Shortly after classes began, she noticed a young girl  periodically watching the dance instruction from outside the room. Luke soon learned that a family with a daughter enrolled in the class would bring the observer to assist her family while her brother was receiving cancer treatment.

After experiencing the loss of her father to cancer, Luke quickly decided to invite the girl to become a dance student, at no cost to the family, as an expression of solidarity. That first scholarship has evolved into a program titled “Turning the ‘C’ in Cancer to a ‘D’,” which as provides scholarships to individuals or families battling cancer to relieve financial stress and continue extra curricular activities during tumultuous time. Over the years, dozens of individuals and families have received scholarships valued at tens of thousands of dollars.

In one instance several years ago, Luke received word that a three-year-old girl had been diagnosed with neuroblastoma and had requested a ballerina theme for her birthday party. Believing that it might be the girl’s last birthday party, Luke readily agreed to orchestrate the ballerina-themed birthday party and gifted the young girl with a pair of pointe shoes. As three years old is usually too young for on pointe dancing, the girl used the shoes as motivation while continuing to battle cancer. Not only did she successfully battle her neuroblastoma, but also its reappearance several years later. Now 13, the girl continues to dance.

Luke reads to a young cancer patient.

Instead of accepting Christmas gifts of her students, Luke asks that her patrons provide a donation to the scholarship fund, which this year alone will provide approximately $15,000 in scholarships.

Luke’s commitment to helping families in need doesn’t end there. Last summer, Luke brought an entire company of dancers to perform at the 2023 Canyon Rim Cares Day of Service to honor Winnie Watson, a former students of Luke’s who unexpectedly died in 2022.

Artistic Endeavors Dance students perform in honor of Winnie Watson at the 2023 Canyon Rim Cares Day of Service.

“A lot of people come to me because they know I do this,” says Luke. “Even if I don’t benefit in any way other than hugs, it’s worth it.”

Students and families are not the only ones who have taken notice. Artistic Endeavors Dance recently won several awards, including the people’s choice for Best Business in Millcreek and the mayor’s award for best service. Luke was also recently nominated by Mountain America Credit Union for the SBA business woman of the year.