Celebrating over 20 years of performances, the Abingdon based Highlands Ballet Company (a 501 C-3 organization) and its feeder school, Highlands Center for Ballet Arts continues to provide aspiring young dancers education, support, and appreciation for the fine art of dance. Highlands Ballet offers advanced students the opportunity to share the special training and performing opportunities offered by a civic dance company and provides a showcase for potential professional dancers.
The Highlands Ballet Company began showcase performances in 1994 with a small group of students whose desire was to perform in a more “semi-professional” atmosphere. This group of students were more serious in their dedication to learn about the art, history and heritage of Classical Ballet. Many of these original members of the HBC are still involved in dance ...professionally, or as an avocation. Through the subsequent years students were technically prepared to enter any college dance major in the US (Butler University, UVA Charlotte, Columbia in NYC, Goucher in Baltimore, Radford, Xavier, Appalachian State, Hollins, among others) and most have graduated with honors.
HBC productions have evolved from simple showcase performances, presented once a year, to full length classical and original works presented for the Holiday Season as well as a Spring Gala and The Virginia Highlands Festival. In 2005 The HBC was invited to perform in conjunction with the Jamestown 400 year Anniversary Celebration.
Highlands recently finished the final installment of an original three year concept based on the legend of Robin Hood. The first installment ...the Adventure Begins was presented on October 30 & 31, 2010. This program included a “safe” Halloween adventure for children including a costume parade, trunk or treat in the lobby, and prizes for those children in costume. The final installment, Prince of Sherwood, enjoyed a “sell out house” at SW Virginia Community College.
In December 2013 HBC presented to the community The Nutcracker, slated to be a magnificent production with original choreography & costumes by the HBC directors. The Nutcracker will join Highlands own A Christmas Carol as holiday “must see” performances!
Original choreography and artistic vision is the hallmark of the Highlands Ballet Company’s Directors, Deirdre Cole & Deanna Cole-Roberts. Productions are numerous (over 40) and embody programs cultural, educational and entertainment value to the Highlands area. In 2002, and continuing through 2009, The Highlands Ballet produced A Christmas Carol (an original concept for dance not seen within 500 miles of the Highlands Area), for the community at large, for school children, and for the underprivileged in our community. Other original choreographies include The Nutcracker, In Celtic Days, Coppelia, Beauty & the Beast, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Appalachian Sunshine, Casey at the Bat, Gershwin by George, Alice in Wonderland, A Day in The Jungle Book, The Wizard of Oz …to name a few. Highlands is now gearing up for a brand new production. Sleeping Beauty … The Spell, a Highlands Ballet original, is a spin on the fairy tale classic.
· How young can students start ballet? What other, if any, dance styles do you teach?
At Highlands, we feel that it is more age appropriate for students to be 4 years old OR turning 4 by the end of December of the school year. Classical Ballet is our main focus during the primary years, but we supplement our curriculum with jazz/modern/contemporary dance around age 8. As dancers progress in their contemporary studies, they have opportunities to study with master teachers and learn new choreography for HBC productions. Because of the interest in dance for the child under the age of 4, we began to research early childhood programs that we felt were age appropriate and provided a spring board for any child continuing in music or dance studies…..Kindermusik® fit the bill! Offering developmentally targeted music and movement classes for newborns to age 7, Kindermusik® of Abingdon was added to the Highlands’ curriculum in 2000. Newborns to adults…..we want movement to be part of you and your child’s lives!