The Central Ballet Story


Founder and Artistic Director, Lori Ann Sparks shares the story of how Central Ballet School and Theatre came to be in Greeneville, Tennessee.



Lori Ann Sparks opened the doors of Central Ballet School of Greeneville, TN in September 2002 and founded Central Ballet Theatre, Greeneville's only ballet performance company, in January of 2004. Mrs. Sparks' major accomplishments include nine totally original full-length ballets plus four additional ballets that she has placed in her young company's repertoire including - The Story of Esther, Prince Caspian: Return to Narnia, Snow White, Cinderella, Exodus: the Story of Moses, Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty: True Love's Kiss and Twelve Dancing Princesses. Job titles she maintains are artistic director, ballet mistress, choreographer, scriptwriter, and resident professional dancer. Lori Ann received the Outstanding Dance Educator Award for 2012.

Mrs. Sparks past stage experience includes performances with Central Ballet Theatre, South Carolina Dance Theater, and Appalachian Ballet Company. Recent professional roles have included Pharaoh’s Daughter in "Exodus," Dr. Cornelius in "Prince Caspian," and Zeresh in "Esther." Lori Ann has danced Cherito in "Pas de Quatre," Firebird in "Firebird," and various roles in "The Nutcracker." She has trained under the instruction of dance notables such as world-renowned Anna-Marie Holmes, who now stages ballets for major companies like the American Ballet Theatre and The Royal Ballet, as well as Patricia Miller of Joffey Ballet & Oregon Ballet Theatre, James Wert of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Ken Ludden of the Margot Fonteyn Academy of Ballet, and Richard d'Alton of International Ballet of Houston, who guest teaches at elite ballet schools and companies worldwide as well as coaches students to compete in major dance competitions.

Lori Ann received a BS at the University of Tennessee and is a certified Tennessee teacher. She is married to Brian Sparks and has three children, Benjamin (married to Elizabeth Sparks), David, and Sophia, and now 2 grandchildren. She has continued her training at International Ballet of Houston under Richard d'Alton; at Atlanta Ballet; at New Haven Ballet in New Haven, Connecticut; at Ballet Magnificat! in Jackson, Mississippi; at Henny Jurriens Strichting in Amsterdam, Netherlands; at Steps on Broadway in New York City, New York; and at the Tennessee Association of Dance professional's summit in Nashville, TN as well as at other TAD conferences. Lori Ann has 20 years teaching experience including a season as guest teacher at South Carolina Dance Theatre. Promising students under the direction of Sparks at Central Ballet School have attended or been invited to Joffrey Ballet, Anaheim Ballet, The Nutmeg Conservatory, Ballet Magnificat!, Louisville Ballet, International Ballet of Houston, Carolina Ballet Theatre, and the Rock’s summer intensives. Mrs. Sparks brings to Greeneville master teachers from around the U.S. for CBT's summer intensives to further her students’ technical instruction and artistic direction. CBT performed Lori Ann's premier "Rhapsody and Rhythm", another original work, at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival in Charleston, South Carolina in May 2007.


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We are located at:

120 West Summer Street

Greeneville, TN  37745,

Phone: (423) 620-2036