In the summer of 1955, Dorothy Alexander, founder and Artistic Director of the Atlanta Civic Ballet (now the Atlanta Ballet), was lunching with Anatole Chujoy, the eminent dance critic, editor and publisher of Dance News. Chujoy had recently attended a festival of regional dance in Canada and suggested to Alexander that something similar could and should take place in the United States. She returned to Atlanta and started contacting her southeastern colleagues. In April of 1956, the first regional ballet festival in the United States took place at the Tower Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia. The success of this festival led to the founding of the Southeastern Regional Ballet Association. Miss Dorothy’s vision inspired others throughout the country and eventually led to the establishment of the five regional associations which now comprise Regional Dance America. SERBA’s yearly festivals are the gathering place for dancers, directors, choreographers, and musicians from states south of the Mason-Dixon Line and east of the Mississippi River. The three days of classes, workshops, rehearsal, performances and parties bring together young artists with the same interests and hopes for the future. They understand the hard work, discipline and motivation required of their craft and they relish the opportunity to compare their small corner of the dance world with those in other parts of the country.
Many of the world’s greatest directors, choreographers and teachers have participated in SERBA festivals: George Balanchine, Robert Barnett, Alexandra Danilova, Gus Giordano, Robert Joffrey, and many others. Also, several companies have become professional entities: Atlanta Ballet, Augusta Ballet, Charleston Ballet Theatre, Miami City Ballet and Nashville Ballet. SERBA celebrates its 62nd anniversary this year, and while we remember our past, Miss Dorothy’s vision for dance in America is our future.
Practice until the technique of the movement is effortless. Then forget the technique and use the movement as a medium of expression. Technique without art is shallow and doomed; art without technique is insulting; art plus technique gives everlasting joy and is worth all the effort.