September 18, 2003 by

Iris Hensley


Categories: Artists

ihensley.jpgIris Antley Hensley, founder of the Georgia Ballet, died on Aug. 30 of pancreatic cancer. She was 69.
Hensley graduated with a degree in dance from the University of Georgia. She studied in New York, Canada and Europe, then returned to Marietta, Ga., to open her own school.
For 41 years, the Georgia Ballet has taught hundreds of students to dance. Hensley was the choreographer and director of the company, which currently has 21 professional dancers and 275 students. She also served as the resident choreographer for the first Georgia Festival of the Arts in Italy.
Actress Joanne Woodward, a childhood friend of Hensley’s, was one of the company’s major benefactors. She and her husband, Paul Newman, have awarded grants to the Georgia Ballet through the Newman’s Own food company charity.
For initiating the Arts in the Schools Program, which introduces school children to dance, music and theatre, Hensley received the first Lillian Bennet Sullivan Award.

2 Responses to Iris Hensley

  1. Dewayne Barrett

    I have just found out the news about Iris, I am so sorry to the family. Iris meant alot to me as well as the entire family. I grew up with the Georgia Ballet and the Hensley family!!! Iris taught me everything I know about Ballet and gave me many skills for me having a career in Show Biz. I have been in Japan for the past one year and will be home soon. I am so sorry for this news, I love you all very much, I would love to hear from anyone in the family or the Georgia Ballet. please feel free to e-mail me and we can get in touch with each other.
    lots of love,
    Dewayne Barrett

  2. Donna Martelli

    I was a charter member of the Marietta Civia Ballet in 1960! I was called Donna Jean Stanley then. Iris greatly influenced my life and inspired me to be the best that I could be. I knew her throughout my teen years, although not much beyond that. I remember her children when they were babies! She was a great blessing to my life and I know she has been to many others.

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