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About GBC

The Gainesville Ballet Company is dedicated to promoting the appreciation, study, and performance of dance as an art form to as wide and diverse an audience as possible in the Gainesville and larger Northeast Georgia community.

Our teachers, choreographers, and board of directors are committed to providing dance training and performance opportunities to dancers ranging in age from three years old through Brenau University dance majors. We take great pride in not only offering our dancers a world-class dance education but also in offering them a positive, nurturing environment where they can grow as dancers and as young people.

The History

The Gainesville Ballet Company is a non-profit organization comprised of its middle/high school dance students, as well as select Brenau University dance majors and professional dancers. In addition to providing a training ground for aspiring dancers, the Company presents such well known performances as The Nutcracker and an annual storybook ballet. In the past, the Company's "Dance Discovery" Program provided community outreach, which included ballet classes for the Boys and Girls Club, school matinees of the Nutcracker and the spring Storybook Ballet, a semi-annual coloring contest where winners from local elementary schools won free tickets to the ballet, and lecture/demonstrations for schools, nursing homes, and civic groups. Diane Callahan founded the Gainesville Ballet Company in 1974 to provide additional performing opportunities for her talented Gainesville School of Ballet (founded in 1969) students.

The relationship of the Gainesville Ballet Company, the Gainesville School of Ballet, and Brenau University has spanned over 45 years. The partnership in conjunction with the tremendous volunteer efforts of dedicated individuals, small businesses, and corporations has allowed the Ballet to reach more than 5,000 children and 2,000 adults from 22 counties across the state of Georgia and beyond. The Board of Directors, staff, and faculty are honored to bring a quality dance program to Northeast Georgia.

The Legacy

Ms. Callahan's dance heritage reflects a rich and varied history. In addition to her predominantly Vaganova-based training, she also trained in the Cecchetti and Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) systems. She began studying dance with the co-founders of the Atlanta Ballet, Dorothy Alexander and Merrilee Smith. She subsequently studied with the famous ballerina Alexandra Danilova. Other famous Russian teachers include Michael Panaieff, Maria Bekefi, and Paul Petroff. Ms. Callahan’s RAD training came at the hands of David Blair and Rosemary Valaire; while the Cecchetti influence results from her training with Michael Brigante and Carmelita Maracci. During her professional career, she worked with the famous choreographers George Balanchine, Eugene Loring, and Robert Barnett. During her last two years in high school, Ms. Callahan was hired to dance at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles in the ballets Giselle and Coppelia starring the illustrious Cuban ballerina Alicia Alonso and her equally-famous partners Igor Youskevitch and Andre Eglevsky.

After graduation, Ms. Callahan joined Alicia’s company, Ballet Nacional de Cuba, and toured Mexico, Germany, Poland, Latvia, and the USSR, performing on both the Mariinsky Theatre and Bolshoi stages. She then returned to the USA and joined the San Francisco Ballet as a soloist . Finally coming back to Atlanta, she became a principal dancer with the Atlanta Ballet for ten years. While with the Atlanta Ballet, she trained under Robert Barnett, former Atlanta Ballet artistic director and New York City Ballet soloist. Ms. Callahan was a faculty member at Brenau University, where she was instrumental in establishing its dance degree program. She also served on the Dance Advisory Panel of the Georgia Council for the Arts. The training and experience available to Ms. Callahan’s students enabled many of them to build a life in dance as performers, instructors and arts administrators. Former students and company members have been principals and soloists with the New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theater, Atlanta Ballet, Eliot Feld Ballet, Louisville Ballet, have starred on Broadway, and danced with many regional companies throughout the country.