Amazing News Story

Swan Lake

Amazing News Story

North Atlanta Dance Academy graduate to dance dual lead roles in the North Atlanta Dance Theatre production of Swan Lake!
by Alfred Eugene Newman
Feb 23, 2017


In 1978 Michael Garrison, founder and artistic director North Atlanta Dance Theatre entered the North Carolina School of the Arts, now called The University of North Carolina School of the Arts. At the age of twenty-five Mr. Garrison was, at the time, the oldest person accepted into the NCSA ballet department. “I was a late beginner to my dance training, starting my journey at the age of twenty-two.” He explains. “I was very fortunate that they accepted me at that age. I will always be very grateful to the late Mr. Duncan Noble and Mr. Gyula Pandi for supporting me. Without the intense training I received at NCSA I would not have been afforded the opportunities that came my way after my time there.”

Fast forward to 1997. Michael has enjoyed a productive performing career. He has retired to embark on the establishment his own school, North Atlanta Dance Academy. “My teaching career began in 1990 when I was with International Ballet Rotaru. I began teaching lower level classes and was eventually teaching advanced and company classes. I learned a great deal from my director, Mr. Pavel Rotaru about how to construct a ballet class as well as many other valuable aspects of the art of teaching. He is a true master. During this time I also started Freelancing as a teacher. I also met my wife Kitty sharing with her my desire to have my own school.”  Michael in partnership with Kitty opened their school and embarked on their journey as studio owners. In 1999 they founded their performing company, North Atlanta Dance Theatre.

2014 is the year that one of NADA’s most promising students Ms. Erin Burt graduated from North Atlanta Dance Academy as an `Honors` NADT company member. Upon graduation Erin was accepted to attend The University of North Carolina School of the Arts! “I have sent UNCSA several students through the years and they have all done very well but I was truly delighted that Erin was going there to further her training. I was very pleased that Susan Jaffe, the great American Ballet Theater Ballerina was newly hired as the Dean of the dance department. I knew she would be a great director and mentor!” Erin too did very well during her tenure, dancing leads in several productions including the Sugar Plum Fairy in this past season of The Nutcracker. She is graduating this spring.

Mr. Garrison is now again staging Swan Lake in March at the Infinite Energy Theater. Erin will be dancing the dual lead roles of Odile, the beleaguered white swan and Odette, the evil black swan. “This is very exciting for me personally because it is the culmination of the ultimate mission of NADA/NADT, the opportunity to train dancers in our school and company and then to hire them to perform as professionals! It is also doubly rewarding because Erin is graduating from my alma mater. My time at NCSA is very special to me and to have one of my students return from there to portray two of the most iconic roles in classical ballet is reinforcement to what everyone at North Atlanta Dance Academy is dedicated. I am very grateful to Ms. Jaffe and everyone at UNCSA for supporting Erin in this opportunity! She is going to be fantastic! We hope as many people can come out to celebrate Erin’s homecoming and first professional performance on our stage!”

Swan Lake. March 17 and 18  Infinite Energy Theater.

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