published Sunday, January 13th, 2013

Ballet Tennessee leader Barry VanCura dies

Barry VanCura
Barry VanCura
Photo by Staff File Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Barry VanCura, longtime executive director of local dance training and performing program Ballet Tennessee and the VanCura Conservatory, died Friday, according to a notice posted on the organization's website.

VanCura and his wife, Anna Baker VanCura, were the founding directors of Ballet Tennessee. The organization celebrated its silver anniversary in May 2012, marking 25 years of teaching, performing and encouraging the development of dance in Chattanooga.

"Barry was one of the kindest, gentlest spirits, and I know I speak for the entire arts community when I say he will be incredibly missed," said Dan Bowers, president of ArtsBuild.

"A big part of what they've [Ballet Tennessee] done is reach out to people who are maybe less fortunate or who might not otherwise have been exposed to that type of art. It was a real passion for Barry and for Anna. Barry wanted everyone to be able to enjoy that craft," Bowers said.

VanCura, who attended North Carolina School for the Arts, danced professionally, performed in Ballet Tennessee productions and choreographed many dance productions.

"I've always thought he was a very creative person who was wonderful at making best use of the resources he had on hand. What he's done for young people and dance I think is outstanding," said Molly Sasse, executive director of the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera.

Funeral services will be announced later, according to the notice on Ballet Tennessee's website.

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