CSU Taps Columbus Ballet Co-Founder as Director

COLUMBUS, Ga. - Columbus State University has turned to a familiar figure to coordinate its dance conservatory programs and lead the Columbus Ballet.

Maria HirschMaria Hirsch, right, of Columbus emerged from a nationwide search to be appointed to both roles by CSU’s Continuing Education division, which operates the dance conservatory and ballet at the Rankin Arts Center in downtown Columbus.

Hirsch's full title is program coordinator for

the CSU Dance Conservatory and executive and artistic director of the Columbus Ballet, which she co-founded with Beth Griffin in 1995 and served as interim director last year.

Her interim title was officially removed Aug. 2, ahead of key activities including an open house for the conservatory, the opening of fall classes and auditions for the annual holiday Nutcracker production.

Hirsch has trained with Ballet de San Juan in Puerto Rico, the Lincoln Center’s School of American Ballet in New York, Chicago’s Joffrey Ballet and with the New York City Ballet.

She worked as a special education teacher for the Muscogee County School District between her initial 1995-2005 stint with the Columbus Ballet and return last year as interim director.

Hirsch is directing CSU Dance Conservatory’s Open House from 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 14, followed by the auditions Saturday, Aug. 28 for the Nutcracker production. Both activities will take place in the Rankin Arts Center, 1004 Broadway.

Dance conservatory classes begin Monday, Aug. 16, and the Nutcracker Production is slated for Dec. 11-12 in RiverCenter’s Bill Heard Theatre.

For more information, go to http://ballet.colstate.edu/ or call 706-641-4000.