S.C. Arts Awards: Ballet Spartanburg

2018 Recipient Feature Series

As the day nears for the 2018 South Carolina Arts Awards, The Hub is taking 10 days to focus on this year’s 10 recipients: five receiving the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Awards for the Arts and five receiving the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award, which are managed jointly by the South

Carolina Arts Commission and McKissick Museum at USC.

This week, the Verner Awards recipients are featured.


Dancer Charlotte Lanning

Ballet Spartanburg

Organization Category

Ballet Spartanburg’s mission is to promote dance and dance appreciation in Spartanburg County and surrounding areas by providing the highest quality dance training, education, performance and outreach.

In 1966, a group of 85 ballet enthusiasts and visionaries under the leadership of the late Majorie Riggs, met at Converse College and decided that Spartanburg needed to have the opportunity to enjoy live classical ballet. They began working as a group to create a charter named The Ballet Guild of Spartanburg. Memberships were $5 for an Active Member, $15 for a Patron, and $25 for a Sponsor membership.

Today, Ballet Spartanburg is recognized as a regional dance company with an exceptional commitment to education and outreach activities in the Upstate. Ballet Spartanburg has performed at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival in Charleston, the Koger Center in Columbia, at the Peace Center in Greenville, TEDxTryon and in Houston and Forest City. For the past five years, Ballet Spartanburg has retained the only resident professional company in the Upstate, one of only four in the state of South Carolina. The Company has performed in Houston, Texas, and North and South Carolina.

The Center for Dance Education began in 1967 under the direction of the late Barbara Ferguson. The Center now instructs 350 students from over 30 ZIP codes, all under the direction on Ballet Mistress Lona Gomez.

With an ever-growing outreach program, Ballet Spartanburg offers lecture/ demonstrations in partnership with Spartanburg school districts with after school programs, in-school performances, artists in residence, and free performances of Peter & the Wolf. Ballet Spartanburg also partners with the City of Spartanburg to offer summer programs for at-risk youth and the Boys and Girls Club of the Upstate and offers performances at nursing homes, hospitals, and community events.

Celebrating 51 years embedded in the Spartanburg community, Ballet Spartanburg’s programming continues to evolve with the dance needs of the community and its students, adding new variations of dance classes with opportunities to extend dance knowledge, technique and new performances to new audiences.

For more, visit BalletSpartanburg.org.


South Carolina Arts Awards Day is Wednesday, May 2, 2018. Gov. Henry McMaster will present each recipient’s award beginning at 10:30 a.m. in the State House. The event is open to the public. Following the ceremony, the South Carolina Arts Foundation honors the recipients and the arts community at the S.C. Arts Awards Luncheon and Art Sale. Tickets are $50. Please go here for more information and reservations.


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