Michael R. Bearden

Artistic Director

Michael Bearden, Arkansan of the YearMr. Bearden is in his fourth season as Ballet Arkansas‘ Artistic Director and is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Utah Department of Ballet. During his tenure at Ballet Arkansas Michael has brought works to the repertoire by choreographers such as Val Caniparoli, Gerald Arpino and George Balanchine.

A native of Searcy, Arkansas, he received his training at the Academy of Ballet Arkansas and went on to have a fourteen year career with Ballet West, in Salt Lake City. As a Principal Dancer at Ballet West, Michael performed leading roles in ballets by some of the world’s greatest choreographers including Balanchine, Ashton, Tudor, Forsythe, Stevenson, Welch, Dove, Tetley, Tharp, Kylian and Christopher Bruce.

With a strong interest in project management, in May 2005, Michael led a team of Ballet West dancers in organizing a special performance to benefit Utah Cancer Foundation. The event, “A Dance for Life” raised more than $20,000. In 2007, he was the project manager for Ballet West‘s 2007 calendar, which highlighted the Artists of Ballet West in some of Utah’s most memorable settings.

As a choreographer, Mr. Bearden has created or staged his works for Ballet West, the University of Utah, Brigham Young University, the University of Cincinnati, Belhaven University and Texas Christian University. Michael is grateful for the continued opportunity to give back to the community by helping to guide Ballet Arkansas to new heights.