Lisa Carter has resigned her dual positions as director of the Columbus Ballet and the Columbus State University Dance Conservatory, but she will continue to teach dance in the city.
“I’ll be going to the new Rainey-McCullers School of the Arts,” Carter told the Ledger-Enquirer in an email Thursday. “I think it’s a great fit for my talents, and I’m excited to be building the dance program from the ground up.”
Columbus Ballet board president Henry McCoy, CSU Continuing & Professional Education executive director Susan Wirt and Carter all said the resignation was her choice.
Carter was the director for three years. She succeeded Maria Hirsch in 2014, when she came to Columbus from Omaha, where she taught at the Rose Theater.
“My decision to resign was a difficult one but entirely personal,” Carter said. “Ballet hours are long and late, and I wanted to achieve a better work/life balance to be able to spend more time with my daughter, Caitlin.”
In a phone interview Thursday with the L-E, McCoy said, “We’re sorry to see her go, but she’s got a great opportunity. She’s done a great job for the Columbus Ballet artistically, and it’s probably in the best financial shape it’s ever been.”
Wirt told the L-E in an email Thursday, “We are so appreciative of what Ms. Carter brought to the CSU Dance Conservatory. Her expertise helped the students excel, and they learned a great deal from her.”
Laura Johnson, who has been teaching at the CSU Dance Conservatory for eight years, will be interim program coordinator, Wirt said. Johnson also will be interim co-director of the Columbus Ballet, along with Bridget Adams, who has been teaching there for 12 years, McCoy said.
“Lisa handled the transition so well,” McCoy said. “Laura and Bridget jumped right in. Things are rolling. We’re not going to miss a beat.”
After an open house Aug. 5, classes for the 2017-18 season start Aug. 7.
The CSU Dance Conservatory offers classes in various genres at the Rankin Arts Center on Broadway in downtown Columbus. It is run by the university and is the instructional branch of this partnership, McCoy explained. The Columbus Ballet, he said, is the production branch and run by a nonprofit board.
The Columbus Ballet is perhaps most known for its annual production of “The Nutcracker,” but Carter revived the spring show along with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, which will be “Sleeping Beauty” in 2018, McCoy said.
The quantity of students has been steady, around 150 during Carter’s three-year tenure, and the Columbus Ballet’s quality has improved, McCoy noted. Eleven students were accepted into summer intensive programs throughout the country this year, Carter said in March.
McCoy said Carter “brought a great focus on technical dancing to the ballet while still maintaining a good focus on fundamentals for younger students. She was an all-around leader. She can do the artistic and the administrative. That’s rare indeed.”
Asked what she regrets about her tenure, Carter said, “I don’t believe in regrets. Life is full of opportunities.”