Nena Gilreath, East Athens Educational Dance Center Program Supervisor, was recently honored by Georgia Governor Brian Kemp with a Governor’s Award for the Arts and Humanities.
These awards recognize and honor individuals and organizations that have made outstanding contributions to the civic or cultural vitality of the state.
Ms. Gilreath, a former Dance Theatre of Harlem and Atlanta Ballet dancer, was honored for her work in establishing the Ballethnic Dance Company which is a classically trained, culturally diverse arts organization providing training and performance opportunities to professional and pre-professional dancers, children, and emerging artists. Ballethnic Dance has distinguished itself from other professional ballet companies by its unique and authentic praxis of blending ballet with African dance concepts.
In June 2022, Ballethnic Dance was featured in a week-long, sold-out engagement at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. as one of three iconic Black led ballet companies noted for presenting decades of superior works. Ballethnic’s superior training has allowed local students to obtain college scholarships or to pursue careers as professional dancers and/or arts organization leaders.
In 2017, Ms. Gilreath joined the Athens-Clarke County Leisure Services Department as the East Athens Educational Dance Center Program Supervisor. The Dance Center provides a variety of dance programs, dance education, and summer camps for children, teens, and adults. Each year an annual production is presented at the historic Morton Theatre.
The Governor’s Awards for the Arts and Humanities honor outstanding individuals and organizations who have significantly contributed to Georgia’s civic and cultural vitality through excellence and service to the arts and humanities. Presented by the Office of the Governor in partnership with the Georgia Council for the Arts and Georgia Humanities, the Governor’s Awards recognize the value of the arts and humanities in creating a thriving economy and their contributions to education, innovation, growth, and quality of life. The Governor’s Awards pay tribute to the most distinguished citizens and organizations that have demonstrated a lifetime commitment to the arts.
From 1986 to 2011 Georgia Humanities recognized local community members and organizations that worked to increase the understanding and appreciation of the humanities in our state with the Governor’s Awards in the Humanities. In 2012 Georgia Humanities joined forces with the Georgia Council for the Arts and the Office of the Governor to launch the Governor’s Awards for the Arts & Humanities.