Bernadette Mathis, founder and artistic director of Buford School of Ballet, grew up as a scholarship student with the Gwinnett Ballet Theater under the founder and artistic directorship of Lynne Snipes. As a 12-year student of the Gwinnett Ballet Theatre, she was blessed to be taught by Stanley Zompakos, Pennie Able, Jane Bradshaw, Tom Pazik, Rose Barile, Victoria Vittum, Bruce Wells, Kathy Thomas, Nicholas Pacana, and Lynne Snipes. As a student, Bernadette danced lead roles in Tom Pazik's Ashes and Scherzo, and also Sugar Plum Fairy in Nutcracker. She was also a Joffrey Ballet scholarship student, and the 1988 recipient of the Governor's Excellence Award in Dance Education for the state of Georgia. Bernadette was engaged by the Lexington Ballet her senior year of High School at the 1989 SERBA convention in Montgomery, Alabama.
Bernadette danced professionally with the Lexington Ballet under the direction of Karl Kaufman and Kirt Hathaway. Her repertoire included: Dawn in Coppelia alongside Elizabeth Nesi, soloist for the Cincinnati ballet. Cupid variation from Don Quixote in which she received rave reviews from the Lexington Herald-Leader : "the most lively performance was turned in by Bernadette Mathis as Cupid. Her quick footwork and precise technical execution combined to make her sparkle on stage." Pas de Trois in The Sleeping Beauty, Rival Ballerinas in Graduation Ball, Clara, Spanish, Russian, and Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, and Cinderella in Cinderella. As well as rolls in Romeo and Juliet, Idylle staged by: Marjorie Tallcheif, Dracula, Ballet Under the Stars, Les Sylphides, and La Fille Mal Gardee. Bernadette's professional credits also include guest appearances as The Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker with the Intercity Ballet Company of Kingsport, TN and the Gwinnett Ballet Theater. She has also trained, and danced professionally, with the Lancaster Ballet in Ohio, and the Ruth Page production of The Nutcracker in Chicago.
Bernadette's professional teaching career began with the Lilburn and Snellville Schools of Ballet in Georgia. She was a full-time faculty member at the School of the Lexington Ballet, official School of the Lexington Ballet Company, and teacher with the Gwinnett Ballet Theatre. She has also been guest teacher with The London Ballet school in London, Kentucky, and the Baker Ballet School in Ohio. She also was a guest teacher with Praise In Motion in Georgia, Alabama Christian Dance Theatre, South Carolina Christian Dance Theatre, guest teacher and choreographer at Peachtree Ridge High School .
In June 1994, Bernadette opened her own ballet school, the Buford School Ballet, with one student. However, it soon grew to be one of the largest ballet schools in the South with the staff of 15 and more than 600 students. After opening and operating her downtown Buford location for 15 years, Bernadette opened a 2nd location in 1999, the Hamilton Mill school, and a 3rd location opened in Flowery Branch in 2003. After successfully opening and operating the Hamilton Mill location for 10 years and the Flowery Branch location for 6 years. Miss Bernadette decided in 2009 to consolidate all three studios and open one massive, newly-constructed, 5-studio location in Buford off of Hamilton Mill Road.
In 1997, Miss Campbell founded the Georgia Christian Dance Theatre, the official Company of the Buford School of Ballet. The program is a pre-professional dance company that strives to create a Christian environment for the dancers, recognizing that the gift of dance comes from God.
Miss Bernadette's students have been accepted and have studied with the Harid Conservatory, Next Generation, The Rock School, Tulsa Ballet, Atlanta Ballet Center for Dance Education, Ballet Magnificat!, Birmingham Southern College, Boston Ballet, Brenau University, Burklyn Ballet, Central Florida Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, Fort Wayne Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, Kennesaw State University, Long Beach Ballet, Nashville Ballet's Summer Intensive, North Carolina Dance Theatre, Orlando Ballet, South Carolina Dance Conservatory, and full year program acceptance into the Joffrey Ballet and the Gelsey Kirkland Academy. Several students have received professional contracts with Alabama Ballet, Montgomery Ballet, Texas Ballet Theatre, and Nashville Ballet.
Bernadette and the Buford School of Ballet have been affiliate members of the American Academy of Ballet, founded by Mignon Furman, for over 11 years. She has studied alongside Ms. Furman at SUNY Purchase College in Westchester, NY. Ms. Campbell has received an honorary teaching certificate from Dance Teacher Magazine presented by Mignon Furman. Ms. Campbell has had the most participants in the history of the American Academy of Ballet Performance Awards and the International Dance Acclaim than any other studio in the world. She has produced hundreds of gold medal recipients over the last decade. She has studied with some of the most notable and renowned teachers in the world such as, Galina Samsova of Birmingham Royal Ballet, Brian Loftus, Governor of the Royal Ballet and former Principal Dancer, Mignon Furman, David Howard, Violet Verdi, Olga Dvorovenko, Bobby Barnett, Merle Sepel, Andrea Pell, and Pamela MCray.
Miss Bernadette and The Buford School of Ballet are thrilled to have spent the past 23 years teaching and loving young dancers, as well as forming friendships and bonds with many families along the way. Our hope is to continue to serve and glorify Christ by growing the talents He has given us.