Columbia County Ballet brings the arts closer to home

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August 9, 2006

The only ballet company and school in Columbia County is taking on a new name to clear up some confusion and give the people that live there a place to call their own.

The old building turned dance school on Fury's Ferry Road has been around for decades.

But 22 years ago, the Ron Jones Academy of Ballet and Augusta Dance Theatre quietly set up shop in it.

The school's big performance, Roar of Love, comes every year at the Bell Auditorium in Augusta.

Owners Ron and Kathleen Jones say people often think the school and company is in Richmond County.

Now they're setting things straight.

"Most of our dancers are from Columbia County," says Ron Jones. "We have been referred to as Augusta's best kept secret for many, many, many years. Now we're not going to be a secret any longer."

A big bright sign up front now bears the name Columbia County Ballet.

A few renovations, and it's time for dancers to really dance at home.

"It allows them to perform in their community in their own theatre, which is great, and it allows the patrons out in Columbia County not to go into Richmond County and go right to their own theatre," Ron says.

The official ribbon cutting was also today.

There is a ballet company and school in Augusta. Jones says he knows this change won't create any competition between the two, because Augusta is a professional company and Columbia County is not. Columbia County also targets younger students.