Barry VanCura, 64, of Chattanooga, passed away suddenly on Friday, January 11, 2013, doing what he loved – preparing for his ballet students.
As founder and executive director of Ballet Tennessee, he was a gifted choreographer of musical theater, opera, classical and contemporary ballet. He had won numerous awards for his works and had been the instructor for the Stage Dance Course at Covenant College.
He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts, with major in ballet, at North Carolina School of the Arts. A native of Cicero, Illinois, Barry began his career in Chicago and his professional credits include Eglevsky Ballet of New York, Chicago Ballet and Lyric Opera Ballet, Indianapolis Ballet Theater, Milwaukee and Tucson Ballet. One of his most noted local works is “The Nutcracker” presented each Christmas.
As important as awards are, people were more important to Barry. He was a loving husband and co-instructor, father and family man who enjoyed making people laugh and making them reach for what might seem impossible. His students are a testimony to what can be accomplished through hard work, dedication, training, discipline and passion. Many of Barry and Anna’s students have made great achievements in ballet. Their mission statement reflects their feeling that everyone, regardless of situation, should have the opportunity to learn or watch professional ballet.
He was preceded in death by his parents, John and Eleanor Knize VanCura; daughter-in-law, Colleen Malloy-Reinert; and nephew, Jason Herman.
Barry is survived by his wife, Anna VanCura; children, Victoria Kathleen VanCura, Anthony Reinert and Ana (Robert L. Atkins) Reinert; sister, Kathleen (Jim) Herman; sister-in-law, Penny (J. R.) Kurowski; nieces and nephews, Jack (Karen) Herman, Kellee Byrd, Tami (Gregg )Newman; great-niece and nephew, Hayley Herman and Anthony Byrd; his other “children”, Laurel Shastri, Fredrick Davis, Brittany Johnson-Mills, Joseph Lynch, Forrest Lewis and Barry’s extended family of Ballet Tennessee.
Visitation will be from 4-8 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 17, at Lane Funeral Home, 601 Ashland Terrace.
A memorial service will be at 6 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 18, at First Presbyterian Church, McCallie Avenue with Rev. J.R. Caines officiating.
Memorial contributions may be made to Ballet Tennessee, 3202 Kelly’s Ferry Road, Chattanooga, Tn. 37419.
Please visit www.lanefh.com to share condolences.
Arrangements are by Lane Funeral Home, Ashland Terrace, 877-3524.