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IRIS HENSLEY

Shuler’s Mother died in August 2003 after a long fight against cancer.

Iris Antley Hensley was born in Marietta, Georgia. She studied journalism at the University of Georgia, then went on to study dance in New York, Canada and Europe and founded the Cobb/Marietta ballet in 1962. This is now the award-winning professional dance and ballet company The Georgia Ballet, and as well as Founder, Ms Hensley was a dancer, choreographer and Artistic Director Emeritus of the Company. She was the first person to receive the Lillian Bennett Sullivan Award, Cobb County’s highest honour in the arts. She founded a program in Cobb County schools which has introduced thousands of students to ballet.

Shuler’s Mom was a huge influence in his life and career, and to the hundreds of dancers and performers she has inspired. These are a few of the tributes which were made to her on her passing :

"She was a great lady and she had a vision and passion for the ballet. She was a beautiful lady inside and out." Warren "Red" Chilton, a lifelong friend of the Hensleys’

"She was very involved and determined to make everything a success. I’ve known her since she was 4 years old, and I can truly say that she has always been a wonderfully focused human being with a great artistic sense." Joanne Woodward, Oscar award-winning actress and a lifelong friend of Ms Hensley’s

"Ms Hensley had a quality that made you feel as though you were among family. She seemed to be the epitome of Southern hospitality." Hugh Jackman

"The Georgia Ballet was a wonderful and glorious institution. It was a very professional organisation with a warm family environment. Iris is responsible for making it that way. She always considers the human being behind the dancer, considers the whole person." Michele Ziemann-DeVos, co-Artistic Director of the Georgia Ballet

"Iris just had an incredible passion and strength and belief in the art of ballet. When others didn’t think something was possible, Iris knew it could be done. She just had the ability to pull people along with her." Gina Hyatt-Mazon, co-Artistic Director of the Georgia Ballet

Link to Georgia Ballet

"Iris was much loved and appreciated in our lives. Dewayne and I have enjoyed much success as performers, directors, and choreographers because of her love and encouragement." Amy Uhl and Dewayne Barrett, Director/Choreographers

"My mother had an incredible gift of knowing how to talk with people and making them feel completely at ease. I have said she could talk the birdies out of the trees." Nevanne Hensley-Thomas

"We were married 46 years, and never in my whole marriage was there a time I didn’t want to be with Iris." Sam P. Hensley