Within the studios, instructors call out words and phrases—plié, relevé, passé, elevé—all foreign to the untrained ear. But each command pulls learning limbs into position like the strings of a marionette yearning to dance.
It’s a never-ending cycle at Georgia Academy of Dance & The Performing Arts where for the past 33 years many beginners have discovered their passion for dance and have eventually grown into artists. Although thousands of different dancers have studied at GAD, the mission has remained the same—to educate, nurture and inspire the potential artist.
From tots in pink leotards dancing to Disney tunes, to dedicated teens en pointe dreaming of performing, to adult dancers returning to or just discovering dance, all are taught by top professionals and allowed to thrive in a positive atmosphere. From classical to contemporary, GAD offers a wide variety of classes for beginners to advanced students in ballet, pointe, jazz, modern, tap and hip hop. GAD also offers music lessons.
The largest performing arts school south of the Atlanta Ballet, GAD is consistently commended by the Georgia Council of the Arts and the National Endowment of the Arts and is recognized as one of the Southeast’s premier schools for performing arts education. GAD students have received fine arts scholarships and acceptances to professional performing companies and colleges throughout the United States and abroad.
To give students an opportunity for intensive study and performance and a path for pursuing a professional dance career, GAD Founder and Artistic Director Sherri Davis established the non-profit, civic organization Georgia Dance Theatre, in 1990. Georgia Dance Theatre Professional Company was added in 1996 and continues to gain recognition while entertaining thousands with professional performances, including its annual production of The Nutcracker and The Nutcracker Tea, which have become a yearly Christmas tradition for the community.
Master Works: On March 11th, GDT in conjunction with GAD will present an inspiring evening of classical and contemporary works with guest choreographers and guest performing companies.
And to continue to inspire potential artists, Ms. Davis is implementing a choreographers’ workshop to allow students to develop works for the stage. “I believe in providing a non-competitive atmosphere for future choreographers where they can feel free to expand their artistic abilities,” Davis said.
Cinderella: Sunday, June 4th - This fairy tale classic adapted for ballet and set to the music of Sergei Prokofiev, is a must-see performance that will feature Georgia Dance Theatre, GAD students and guest artists.
A Celebration of Contemporary Dance: Saturday, June 3rd - Explosive, athletic, and lyrical movements highlight the genres of contemporary dance. GAD contemporary performances present exciting new choreography in a broad, contemporary format.
The Growing up of Annabelle Potts: Saturday, June 3rd – An original story written and choreographed by Sherri Davis and set to the music of Rogers and Hammerstein, George Gershwin and more will be reimagined to showcase Early Childhood dancers of GAD and GDT.
Davis, who discovered dance as an 8-year-old, has devoted most of her life to dance, arts education and arts advocacy. “The arts can bring courage, perseverance, and self-esteem to any child,” she said.
Davis established the Arts Council of Fayette County in 2019 to provide an additional platform for local artists to “connect and become a bigger voice” in Fayette County, which she said is a creative county filled with talent.
With support from the Atlanta Opera, Atlanta Symphony, High Museum and the Alliance Theatre, the Arts Council of Fayette County hosted a gala in 2020 to introduce new artists to the community. A second gala in partnership with local arts organizations is planned for 2023 with the date to be announced.
Davis has a passion for seeing the development of a venue for all artists—whether fine arts or performing arts—to have a place to show their works to the Fayette County community. A feasibility and impact study are now in the works. “We are excited to be a leading voice in providing additional opportunities of presentation, support and growth of our artistic community,” she said.
For more information about GAD, GDT or ACFC, visit www.gadance.com or www.artscouncilfayette.com.