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In 2004, the school purchased a two story, 13,500 square foot building on Field Parkway, near Cobb Parkway and Bells Ferry Road. In the nine years since, it has grown 50 percent and now has 300 students dancing in five studios.

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Ziemann DeVos embarked on a professional level training schedule, dancing six days a week, several hours a day and earned a scholarship to the University of Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and Dance.

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Marietta resident Dot Dunaway, who taught ballet at the school for many years and has served on the board of trustees, said, "Through grit and determination, Michele has adjusted for the ballet company's financial operations to fit funding available during economic downturn, sought new opportunities and still provided top quality performances."

Under her leadership, fundraising levels have increased by 75 percent and individual giving by 350 percent. The school has 17 employees, plus 15 paid professionals who dance in 25 performances a year. The annual budget of $820,000 includes costumes, stage sets and rent to the Cobb Civic Center for productions.

In addition, the school's community outreach includes "arts in education" field trips; a 10 week, free training class in Title 1 schools; and "Dance Ability," a free class for children with special needs.

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"I was lucky to find outstanding teachers," she said. "When you start dancing in adolescence, it is hard on the body. It is better to condition from a young age."

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A job brought the couple to Cobb County, where Ziemann DeVos began dancing and teaching for Iris Hensley, who founded Georgia Ballet in 1960.

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Ziemann DeVos' works long hours, frequently seven days a week, but does not complain. "I wouldn't give away a minute of it. It's a gift to me. The Nike Free 5.0 Tr Fit 5 Metallic

In 1996, Hensley hired her as school director. The school originated in a small studio on Cherokee Street, later moved Whitlock Avenue, then to 31 Atlanta Street, where it remained until Hensley died suddenly of cancer Nike Free 4.0 Flyknit Women's Gray

´╗┐True to form Georgia Ballet CEO keeps dancers on their toes

From a large Chicago Catholic family of modest means, she did not have the resources to take ballet lessons as a child. But thanks to a strong arts program in her high school, a passion was ignited.

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"I experienced the integrity of how she ran the business, the vision of the mission and the respect she had for the art," she recalls.

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"We are always fundraising," Ziemann DeVos said. "Expenses are much greater than the ticket price we can charge so it has to be subsidized. To really train children properly in the art of classical dance is not a profit making pursuit."

In the years that ensued, while training and dancing professionally with the Pennsylvania Ballet, Des Moines Ballet and the New Haven Ballet, Ziemann DeVos also earned money and business experience by working at her father's company, and later at an insurance corporation.

GAB changes lives every day, thousands every year what more enjoyable endeavor can one pursue?"

MARIETTA Former professional ballerina and current Georgia Ballet executive director Michele Ziemann DeVos is one of the fortunate few who can say her job "is a gift."

in 2003.

Dunaway added, "Michele's engaging personality and love of ballet have heightened the success of the Arts in Education school outreach program. She has certainly been a tribute to Iris Hensley's founding success Nike Free Rn Motion Flyknit Black of The Georgia Ballet."

With the organization in turmoil, the 17 member board of directors swiftly named Ziemann DeVos executive Womens Nike Free 5.0 Flyknit

A chance meeting with her husband to be at a conference moved her to Woodbury, Conn., where she founded a dance program at an arts school. "That is where I found my calling to enable others to pursue this joyful pursuit," she said.

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