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The founder and pastor of the Briarwood Ballet have died

The founder and pastor of the Briarwood Ballet have died

Barbara Brown Barker, the founder of the Briarwood Ballet School, and wife of former Pastor Frank Barker, died on Thursday.

Peggy Barker Townes, her daughter of Daddy, has been watching God's wonderful timing. As soon as Daddy died, her body started to change, and she had held on and then suddenly, everything began changing. It was so clear. Her body started dying. She was aware of the absence.

Mrs. Barker, a Birmingham native, stepped down from Briarwood Ballet about 11 years ago as she began experiencing symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease, according to Mrs. Townes.

Mrs. Townes said she would like to peek into their actions right now.

In 1980, Mrs. Barker studied musical theater at Northwestern University and worked for a professional company in Chicago. The Briarwood Ballet Ballet School now has more than 400 students, according to Mrs. Townes.

The center has a classical performing troupe, a Ballet Exaltation, and a contemporary group, Immanuel.

In a 1994 interview with The Birmingham News, Mrs. Barker said that all fine art should be performed for the glory of God.

Too much of the arts today is more to the praise of the performer or creator than to God, according to Mrs. Barker.

The ballet school gave the church a great opportunity to inspire youths in a dance class that reflects a love for God.

Thats the greatest asset - to teach the kids, she said. We just believe in bringing the classics in. God gave us the arts to reflect his glory.

If a church worships through the fine arts, its obligated to maintain a high standard, according to Mrs. Barker. God is such a great and powerful God, she said.

Mrs. Barker performed frequent ballet performances in Alabama at venues such as Samford University's Wright Center, but also traveled to Russia, China, South Korea, Japan, Spain, and Brazil.

Mrs. Townes said that the group traveled to Cuba in 2015 and 2016 and was allowed to perform in government art centers.

As an artistic group, we were permitted to perform in government-owned theaters, according to Mrs. Townes.

The concert was previously planned for Saturday, January 15, at 7 p.m., at the Barbara B. Barker Fine Arts Center at Briarwood High School. Its a joint performance with Bluebird Uncaged, a ballet troupe from Atlanta. Mrs. Townes said they decided not to cancel the rehearsal but go ahead with it as a tribute to Mrs. Barker.

Barbara Barker, the founder of Briarwood Ballet, died on Thursday, January 13, 2022, oblivious to her age.

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