Founder & Artistic Director, Highlands Ballet
Deanna Cole-Roberts performed as a principal dancer for over twenty five years in major cities throughout the Southeast. She was a founding member of the Hardinge Ballet Company, now known as Bristol Ballet Company, and served with that organization for 43 years as dancer, principal dancer, Associate Director & Director.
Deanna was the first to perform the Grand Pas de Deux as the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker in the Tri-Cities Area, & danced that role for 15 years. She was instrumental in the creation of the Virginia Intermont College Ballet Department where, for seventeen years, she taught Ballet, Pointe, Modern, Jazz and Classical Variations. Many of her students from Virginia Intermont are now professional dancers or have their own schools or have formed their own companies throughout the United States, Canada, & Alaska.
Deanna was a principal dancer in the Tennessee State Bicentennial Ballet Company under the direction of Norbert Vesak, Director of The Metropolitan Opera Ballet. Inspired by her abilities as a dancer, and especially as a performer, Mr. Vesak created for her the beautiful pas de deux “Windsong.” Her extensive repertoire of performances include roles from Swan Lake, Les Sylphides, Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, and the notoriously uninhibited Cindy Lou in Mountain Ballad, choreographed by Constance Hardinge, founder of The Bristol Ballet.
Deanna's studies with masters as George Zoritch, Leon Danieliann, Amatole Vilzak, Perry Brunson, Robert Joffrey, Richard Thomas, Luigi, Milton Myers, and George Balanchine prepared her as a principal dancerand as a masterful teacher, director & choreographer.
Artistic Director, Highlands Ballet
Deirdre Cole, Artistic Director, received her training as a child from Sidney Lowenthal, now teaching at the Joffrey Ballet Company School in New York City, as well as the United Nations Academy and Brenda Stygar, now Director of the Northeast Ohio Dance Ensemble and former Ballet Mistress of the Ohio Ballet. Deirdre was invited as a scholarship student at the unprecedented age of eleven to study at the renowned Jacob’s Pillow in Lee Massachusetts and as a nine year old understudied as the "child" in the Tennessee State Bicentennial Company production of "Knoxville 1820," and at age 12 was accepted into advanced ballet classes at Virginia Intermont College Ballet Department.
Deirdre has performed leading roles for over twenty years including Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, Mrs. Cratchit in A Christmas Carol, Titania in A Midsummer Night Dream and numerous contemporary leads in Gershwin by George, and Echoes, to name a few. Deirdre brings to Highlands her expertise as an extraordinary teacher, a performer and a uniquely talented choreographer ...coupled with a deep regard for tradition and a bold vision for the future. Deirdre is also the Director of Kindermusik® at the Highlands Center for Ballet Arts.