In December I posted on attending a gala for Ballet Tennessee. Last Friday evening one of directors passed out during class with the older teens (sixteen years old and up). They called 911 and administered CPR but sixty-four year old Barry VanCura had succumbed to a heart attack.
That evening Mr. VanCura had told his students,
“This room cannot contain you.”
This evening my daughter and I attended the memorial service for Mr. VanCura. The girl dancers had written notes to him on their pointe shoes, and placed them around a pedestal holding a flower arrangement.
A violinist played and the Chattanooga Boys Choir, which Mr. VanCura collaborated with for Christmas programs, sang Amazing Grace.
Then came the students eulogies. In today’s society we have so many children with absent fathers, and the service tonight exposed how many of Mr. VanCura’s students viewed him as a father figure. It’s no wonder; he was soft-spoken and an excellent role model. The family even listed by name as his other “children” the students who were very close to Mr. VanCura also adding “and Barry’s extended family of Ballet Tennessee.” Most students age twelve and over spend at least three days a week taking dance instruction with the VanCuras. Some have been their students since age three.
The students ended their contribution to Mr. VanCura’s memorial by dancing to John Lennon’s Imagine with teary eyes. It is exactly what he would have wanted, his students dancing.
Anna and Barry VanCura in Romeo and Juliet.
Anna and Barry VanCura in Firebird.
Anna and Barry VanCura at the 2012 Ballet Tennessee Gala.
Read about Barry’s career history here: Barry VanCura