Founders: Anna Baker-VanCura & Barry VanCura

(423) 821-2055 ~ 3202 Kelly's Ferry Rd. Chattanooga, TN, 37419 


City of Chattanooga's Department of Youth & Family Development, Chattanooga Boys Choir, Chattanooga Christian School, Center for Creative Arts, Creative Discovery Museum, Mountain Arts Community Center, and Siskin Children's Institute. 



Based in Chattanooga since 1987, Ballet Tennessee embodies the spirit of community through dance by fulfilling its mission with professional track, outreach and educational programs, plus well-crafted performances. With the belief that "Everyone benefits from ballet," all projects have strong elements of outreach under-served audiences, youth programming, and arts in education. VanCura Ballet Conservatory fosters a love of dance and its discipline in a positive learning environment. As the official school of Ballet Tennessee, its mission is to develop strong classical ballet technique, to offer quality training in related dance idioms, and to develop artistry in all students. 


Barry VanCura (1948-2013) & Anna Baker VanCura 

The VanCuras founded a school and company, Ballet Midwest, in Chicago. They were the directors of National Academy of Dance, a community and high school boarding program in Champaign, IL. They have been on the faculty of: University of Illinois, Youngstown State University of Ohio, Columbia College of Illinois, Rockford College of Illinois and more. They worked as artists in the WolfTrap Institute and in the Headstart Program in Chattanoooga. The VanCuras attended the 1998 and 2000 International Ballet Conference in Vail, Colorado, 1999 Teacher Seminar in Chautauqua, New York, and 2003 and 2007 National Conference of Dance/USA. They served as judges and guest instructors for Dance Masters Convention in Nashville, Tennessee. Anna has been a resident guest instructor for Center of Creative Arts High School in Chattanooga. The VanCuras received the Margaret Martin Award from the Tennessee Association of Dance in recognition of Outstanding Service to Dance in Tennessee. 

Ballet Tennessee's mini-documentary, "Power of Dance," won a 2007 Telly Award. Ballet Tennessee won the WTCI "Be More Enriched Award" in 2010 and "Be More Innovative Award" in 2012. Ballet Tennessee's 2010 Nutcracker featuring New York City Ballet's principal dancers, Jenifer Ringer and Jared Angle and Fredrick Davis of Dance Theater of Harlem, was filmed by WTCI and shown locally and nationally throughout the Christmas season. 


The mission of Ballet Tennessee is to embrace diversity in all areas including age, ethnicity, ability, sexual orientation, socio-economic levels through the art of ballet by providing quality performance and instruction. 


Ballet Tennessee Summer Intensive, Dance Alive, Talent Identification Program, Lecture Demonstrations , Master Classes, Outreach Education, Conservatory Training 


The minute you feel comfortable and approach class with a "I know how to do this" attitude, that is when the artist within is asleep. Repetition is necessary to build a solid foundation of dance. How do you develop your artistry? Arrive each day filled with curiosity about what is to come, bring 100% of yourself to dance, be open to learning (this also means accepting corrections and guidance with grace) and BELIEVE in yourself. 

-Anna Baker Van-Cura, Executive Director 

Anna Baker-VanCura 

Co-Founder, Executive/Artistic Director 

Anna Baker-VanCura began her dance training with Josephine Schwarz in Dayton, Ohio. She was selected by Frederic Franklin for a Ford Foundation Scholarship with the National Ballet of Washington, D.C. in 1964. 

Professional Credits: 
-Ruth Page's International Ballet 
-American Ballet Theater
-National Ballet of Washington D.C. 
Chicago Ballet 
Chicago Lyric Opera Ballet

Ms. VanCura was on the faculty of the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. She was recognized as Artist in Education by Ohio Arts Council and served on the Dance Panel. She remains an out-of-state consultant. 

She studied in Russia on the first three years of the Soviet method of training.  A popular guest master teacher, Ms. VanCura has taught for the Tennessee Association of Dance, Bill Evans Summer Dance Institute, Memphis Dance Alliance, and Northwest Ballet of Florida. 

 She received her third Outstanding Teacher Award from the Tennessee Governor's School for the Arts as one of the state's outstanding educators. She was awarded along with 10 prominent women leaders in the Chattanooga "Unbought and Unbossed Award" from Girls Inc. 

Barry VanCura
Co Founder 

Mr. VanCura held a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree majoring in Ballet from the North Carolina School of the Arts. His early training in Chicago began with teachers Edward Parish, Bernice Holmes and Loretto Rozak. He was selected by New York's David Howard to be an apprentice for Harkness Ballet. He trained at School of American Ballet Theater and Igor Youskevitch School. 

Professional Credits: 
Eglevsky Ballet of New York
Chicago Ballet
Chicago Lyric Opera Ballet
Indianapolis Ballet Theater
Milwaukee Ballet
Tucson Ballet 

As Executive Director of Ballet Tennessee, Mr. VanCura brought both classical ballets and original socially engaged works to the Chattanooga dance audience. He staged classics such as The Nutcracker, Firebird, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Paquita, and The Seasons. 

His original works include: Alice in Wonderland, Alice Through the Looking Glass, Bessie's Blues, A Christmas Carol, Calling all Angels, Amethyst, Ancient Mother, Ballet Goes Country, Concerto, Consolation, Dracula, Ecclesia, Free Spirits, Gahalet (Embers), Genie's Wish, Imagine, Love Songs, Pocahontas, Sirens, Tennessee Tribute, Yellow, and others. 

Concerto, Consolation, and Pocahontas won first place at the Panoply Choreography Competition in Huntsville, AL. Ecclesia and Tennessee Tribute were finalists. 
His 1997 ballet Amethyst, a collaboration with UTC, was televised nationally and received an Art Award in South Carolina and commendation in New York. In 1999, Mr. VanCura, his ballet Gahalet won
Best Dance Drama in the Zoie Film Festival.

"You really have a jewel here in Chattanooga"

-Denise Jefferson