M.S., Academy Director Sara Lombardi began her dance training at an early age under the direction of Nicholas Vasilief in Portland, Oregon. Continuing her dance training through Merleen Stites Studios in Gresham, she also…
Founded by Doreen Gilday and her husband Fred Ditzhazy in 1959, Eugene Ballet Academy began as a student performing group called Ballet Classique. By 1965, they had grown into a non-profit regional ballet company, Oregon Ballet Classique
Riley Grannan, an original member of Oregon Ballet Classique, went on to dance professionally in Europe and in New York, returning to Eugene several years later with dancer Toni Pimble. In 1978, they became owners of the school and renamed it the Eugene School of Ballet.
Born in England, Ms. Pimble attended the prestigious Elmhurst School of Ballet, studied the syllabus of the Royal Academy of Dancing and later became an Associate of the Royal Academy of Dance (A.R.A.D.). For the next 10 years, Pimble and Grannan devoted themselves to the school and founded Eugene Ballet Company.
Sara Lombardi, a native Oregonian, moved to Eugene in 1978 to pursue a degree in Dance & Movement Education at the University of Oregon. After finishing her Master’s in Sports Medicine through the College of Human Development and Performance, she continued her dance studies under the direction of Pimble and Grannan. In 1985, she became a member of Eugene Ballet Company and was later hired as the Director of the Eugene School of Ballet. In 1994 Lombardi purchased the Eugene School of Ballet, the Eugene Ballet Company maintaining its affiliation while newly located in Boise, Idaho.
In 2006, Eugene Ballet Company built a series of studios in the Midtown Arts Center in Eugene and purchased the school from Lombardi, renaming it Eugene Ballet Academy. Lombardi is the current Director of the renamed Eugene Ballet Academy.