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Sara Lombardi

"As early as I can remember, I wanted to be a dancer," says Sara Lombardi, executive director of the Eugene Ballet Academy. "But the opportunity unfolded in gymnastics." A two-time state champ at Parkrose High in Portland, she competed on scholarship at the UO and earned a PE degree. "I took dance classes as well," says Lombardi, who continued in school for a masters in sports medicine while she began dancing with the fledgling Eugene Ballet Company. "I fell into it at 21, an unheard-of age." Her career at the EBC lasted six years, during which time she also began teaching and administering the school, then known as the Eugene School of Ballet. "It was started in 1959 by Doreen Gilday," she notes. "Her student was Riley Grannan, and I was Riley Grannan's student." Lombardi purchased the school in 1994 and ran it as a personal business until 2006, when she sold it back to the ballet company, staying on as instructor and director, as well as artistic director of the Eugene Youth Ballet. A maestra of multi-tasking, she has also raised her three kids, now ranging in age from seventh grade to high-school senior. Learn about EBA classes and summer camps at eugeneballetacademy.org.

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photograph and story by Paul Neevel

Eugene Weekly / 13 May 2010

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