Dancing and music have been a passion for Jan Collins since the time she discovered she could stand up and tap to a tune. This high-energy dynamo explains how her mother instilled in her a love for performing. “I grew up surrounded by all the arts. My mother was the head of the English Department at Roosevelt High School and was a fabulous drama coach, too.” When Jan waltzed off to college (literally) at the University of Georgia, her skills as a marching band majorette and concert band oboist earned her a scholarship.
After college, Jan taught high school English, drama, and speech. She and her husband, Bill, an orthopedist, planted roots in Sandy Springs and started a family. Jan brought her passion for the arts to the area, embracing every opportunity to become involved with arts programs. She’s served on the boards of the Alliance Theatre and The Atlanta Opera, but she says her recent involvement on the board of the Sandy Springs Arts Foundation, raising funds for the popular new Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center, and as a co-founder of the City Springs Theatre Company is her pride and joy.
Her daughter, Courtenay Collins Eckardt, was also bitten with the performing bug. “She’s on Broadway right now in ‘The Prom,’ which was nominated for seven Tony Awards!” Jan enthuses. After Jan’s husband passed away five years ago, a friend convinced her to be a contestant in the Alzheimer’s Association, Georgia Chapter’s “Dancing Stars of Atlanta” ballroom dancing fundraiser. She laughs, “I didn’t win, but I stayed on my feet!”
Now, Jan attends tap dancing classes every week for exercise. “Supposedly tap and ballroom dancing deter dementia,” she says. “Your brain works hard to send the dance routines all the way down to your feet.” When she joins her son’s or daughter’s families (she’s the proud grandmother of six—all of whom live in Sandy Springs) for dinner out, Jan says they meet at Brooklyn Cafe. “And now we have a new ‘restaurant’ kid on the block—The Select Restaurant + Bar. It’s on the campus of the Performing Arts Center. You can have a lovely meal and
take a leisurely walk to one of its two gorgeous theaters.”