Founders: Anna Baker-VanCura & Barry VanCura
(423) 821-2055 ~ 3202 Kelly's Ferry Rd. Chattanooga, TN, 37419
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.
-Ruth Page's International Ballet
-American Ballet Theater
-National Ballet of Washington D.C.
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.
Co Founder and Executive/Artistic Director
The VanCuras founded the school and company Ballet Midwest, in Chicago. They were the directors of the National Academy of Dance, a community and high school boarding program in Champaign, IL. Both served on the faculty of: University of Illinios, Youngstown State University of Ohio, Columbia College of Illinois, and Rockford College of Illinois. The couple worked as artists in the WolfTrap Institute and Headstart Program in Chattanooga. Mr. and Mrs. VanCura 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. 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, The Power of Dance, won a 2007 Telly Award. The documentary of Ballet Tennessee alumnus Fred Davis, From the Streets to the Stage, aired locally on WTCI, Chattanooga's local PBS station. Ballet Tennessee won the WTCI "Be More Enriched Award" in 2010 and "Be More Innovative Award" in 2012. Mr. and Mrs. VanCura share the belief that everyone can benefit from ballet.
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.
Eglevsky Ballet of New York
Chicago Lyric Opera Ballet
Indianapolis Ballet Theater
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.