Ballet Arkansas is in the news!

Ballet Arkansas and Walton Arts Center Co-Present the 2017 VISIONS

Ballet Arkansas and Walton Arts Center Co-Present the 2017 VISIONS Winter Choreographic Competition

Little Rock, AR: Ballet Arkansas, the state’s foremost professional ballet company, today announced that it has selected four choreographers to create their works on Ballet Arkansas Company Artists at its 2017 VISIONS Winter Choreographic Competition. The performance will be held on Friday, March 3rd at 8:00pm in Walton Arts Center’s Starr Theater and is co-presented by both Ballet Arkansas and Walton Arts Center. Tickets can be purchased in person at the Walton Arts Center Box Office, by calling (479) 443.5600 or online at waltonartscenter.org.

Choreographers selected as finalists for the March performance include: Michael Fothergill, presently a dancer and choreographer with the Alabama Ballet; Mariana Oliveira, originally from Brazil, choreographer and Artistic Director of The Union Project Dance Company; Zalman Raffael, Resident Choreographer of the Carolina Ballet; and Manuel Vignoulle, a French choreographer based in New York City. Learn more about the choreographers at balletarkansas.org/visions.

The Visions winner will be selected at the March 3rd performance by a panel of dance experts, featuring guest judge Devon Carney, Artistic Director of Kansas City Ballet. Ballet Arkansas will also host Master Classes during their residency in Northwest Arkansas. The VISIONS competition drew dozens of new applicants from across the United States and abroad, and included runners-up from the application pool from the August 2016 competition. For 2017, the VISIONS event moves to a bi-annual performance model.

VISIONS began when Ballet Arkansas’ Artistic Director, Michael Bearden, wanted to create a program that would give emerging choreographers the opportunity to display their work, and to give Ballet Arkansas company dancers broader exposure to new works and choreographers from around the country. At the same time, he intended for Visions to be an inspirational and interactive experience for Arkansas’ audiences and dance community.

One week before the VISIONS Competition, each of the four selected choreographers will arrive in Arkansas and cast their work through a “draft” of selected dancers. They have a total of only 11 rehearsal hours over 5 days to create their piece. The night of the competition, the resulting works of choreography will be performed before 3 judges from the local and national performing arts community, and the audience will join in as the 4th judge.

After the votes are tallied comes the finale of the VISIONS competition, along with an announcement of the 2017 VISIONS Winner! The winner will receive a contract with Ballet Arkansas to expand their choreography and have it fully produced for an upcoming Ballet Arkansas performance.
Tickets to the performance may be purchased in person at the Walton Arts Center Box Office, by calling (479) 443.5600 or online at waltonartscenter.org.

For more information about Ballet Arkansas and its programs, visit the website at balletarkansas.org , email info@balletarkansas.org or call 501-223-5150.
Ballet Arkansas is supported in part by the Arkansas Arts Council, an agency of the Department of Arkansas Heritage.

Walton Arts Center celebrates its 25th Anniversary season as Arkansas’ premier center for the performing arts and entertainment. The Investing in our Future $23 million campaign marked its completion when the doors opened in November of 2016. Each year more than 190,000 people from Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma and beyond attend over 350 public events at Walton Arts Center, including performances, rehearsals, community gatherings, receptions, graduations and more. Approximately 45,500 students and teachers participate annually in arts learning programs at Walton Arts Center, and almost 300 volunteers donate more than 22,000 hours of time each year to its operations. Walton Arts Center presents entertainers and artists from around the world including Broadway musicals, renowned dance companies, international artists, up-and-coming jazz musicians and more. As a non-profit organization, Walton Arts Center enjoys the generous support of public sector funding, corporate sponsorship and private donors, allowing audience members to pay on average only 50% of the cost of programs offered. To learn more about Walton Arts Center, visit www.waltonartscenter.org.
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Call For Submissions for VISIONS Winter 2017 Choreographic Competition

Call For Submissions for VISIONS Winter 2017 Choreographic Competition
Now a Semi-Annual Event – VISIONS Travels to the Walton Arts Center

Little Rock, AR: Ballet Arkansas, the state’s foremost professional ballet company, today announced that it is now accepting applications for its VISIONS: Winter 2017 Choreographic Competition to be held at the Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville, Arkansas, March 3, 2017.

“We are realizing our initiative to be the state’s ambassador for dance by bringing our flagship choreographic competition to Northwest Arkansas in 2017,” said Michael Bearden, Artistic Director of Ballet Arkansas.

Applicants must fill out the application form on the Ballet Arkansas website and be available for rehearsals February 25-March 3, 2017 (inclusive). Selected choreographers will draft their cast of dancers and rehearse for 5 days before performing 5-7 minutes of their work in front of a panel of guest dance expert judges, including featured judge, Devon Carney, Artistic Director of Kansas City Ballet. The winner of the competition on March 3rd will receive a contract to produce their completed work at a future Ballet Arkansas Main Stage performance.

VISIONS will turn into a semi-annual event in 2017 with the WINTER 2017 competition to be held March 3rd at the Walton Arts Center and the Central Arkansas competition to be held in August 2017. Applicants not selected in the 2016 competition will automatically be added to the VISIONS WINTER 2017 applicant pool, and those not selected in the WINTER application pool will be added to the SUMMER application pool, and so forth.

Information on VISIONS and the application form can be found on the Ballet Arkansas website.

November Happenings at Ballet Arkansas

November Happenings at Ballet Arkansas

Bag Lunch Ballet at the New Main Street Studio

Little Rock, AR: Ballet Arkansas, the state’s foremost professional ballet company, today announced that it will begin its new Bag Lunch Ballet series at the newly opened Main Street studio in downtown Little Rock’s Creative Corridor on November 15, 2016 at noon.

“We are pleased to continue our mission of educating our community about the art of dance through programs such as Bag Lunch Ballet with Ballet Arkansas,” said Charlie Moulton, Ballet Arkansas Board President.

The Bag Lunch Ballet series is free of charge (donations appreciated) and will be in a lecture demonstration-type performance format. The event will showcase ballets currently in rehearsal with the Ballet Arkansas professional dancers, as well as discussions on “tools of the trade” to include: pointe shoes, partnering, fitness training and more! Attendees can bring their own lunch or purchase one in advance at info@balletarkansas.org. Reservations required. Space is limited.

Ballet Arkansas November Calendar:

  • November 10-12: Visit Ballet Arkansas at Holiday House Booth 1022 and purchase your tickets to The Nutcracker, along with Ballet Arkansas Nutcracker merchandise and gifts for the dancer lovers in your life!
  • November 13: Ballet Arkansas performs excerpts from Bolero with Arkansas Symphony Youth Orchestra at the Albert Pike Masonic Center, 3:00 p.m. Tickets available on the ASO website.
  • November 15: Bag Lunch Ballet 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. The first Bag Lunch Ballet features the Snowflakes from The Nutcracker at the Ballet Arkansas Main Street Studio, 520 Main St., Little Rock. Reservations at info@balletarkansas.org.
  • Tickets for The Nutcracker and The Nutcracker Tea are on sale now! 2016 Ballet Arkansas Nutcracker Sponsors: Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield; Centennial Bank; Episcopal Collegiate School, Ferstl Valuation Services; Quattlebaum, Grooms and Tull; US Bank, and  “In Loving Memory of Ron W. Strother.”
Ballet Arkansas Moves to Main Street

Ballet Arkansas Moves to Main Street

Ribbon Cutting on October 25 in Little Rock’s Creative Corridor

Little Rock, AR: Ballet Arkansas, the state’s foremost professional ballet company, today announced that it will have a ribbon cutting at its 520 Main Street location to mark the move to its new studio space in the Creative Corridor downtown Little Rock.

In the announcement, Michael Bearden, Artistic Director of Ballet Arkansas said, “It is with dedication, hard work, patience and persistence that we are now ready to mark our arrival at our new home in the Creative Corridor in downtown Little Rock. We look forward to celebrating our professional dancers and our generous supporters at the events on October 25th.”

Highlights of the October 25th activities include:

  • 10:45am-11:15am  Gathering and official ribbon cutting and photograph at 520 Main St. with Little Rock City Ambassadors and Chamber Staff
  • 11:45am-3:00pm Ballet Arkansas dancers and artistic staff conduct rehearsals in the new studio
  • 6:00pm-8:00pm Grand Opening Welcome Celebration—and “unofficial” ribbon cutting in the new studio space with Ballet Arkansas dancers, staff, board members and an unveiling of the Donor Wall.

For more information about Ballet Arkansas and its programs, visit the website at www.balletarkansas.org or email info@balletarkansas.org. Ballet Arkansas is supported in part by the Arkansas Arts Council, an agency of the Department of Arkansas Heritage.

Ballet Arkansas Announces Winner of Visions Choreographic Competition 2016

Ballet Arkansas Announces Winner of Visions Choreographic Competition 2016
Jimmy Orrante Wins 3rd Annual Little Rock Contest

Little Rock, AR: Ballet Arkansas, the state’s foremost professional ballet company, announced that Jimmy Orrante has won the Visions Choreographic Competition 2016, performed Saturday night at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s Center for Performing Arts University Theater.
Orrante’s winning piece, created on seven Ballet Arkansas company artists and set to the Don Gillis Symphony no. 5 ½, “A Symphony for Fun,” won the combined vote of the three judge panel and the audience tally. The piece will be fully developed and produced at Ballet Arkansas’ spring show April 28-30, 2017 at the Arkansas Repertory Theatre.
Orrante competed against Caroline MacDonald from Portland, Oregon and a current company dancer with Nevada Ballet Theatre; Sanjay Saverimuttu from Boca Raton, Florida, in his fifth season as a company dancer with Louisville Ballet, and, McCree O’Kelley, a dance professor at Kennesaw State University.
This year’s Visions winner was selected by guest judge, Robert Hill, Artistic Director of the Orlando Ballet, Geoffrey Robson, Associate Conductor for the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, and Christen Pitts, Dance Department Director of North Little High School.
Orrante is from Los Angeles, and resides in Columbus, Ohio, where he danced 20 years with Ballet Met. He is a three time recipient of the Princess Grace Award and the father of three children.
VISIONS began when Ballet Arkansas’ Artistic Director, Michael Bearden wanted to create a program that would give emerging choreographers the opportunity to display their talents, and to provide Ballet Arkansas company dancers broader exposure to new works and choreographers from around the country. At the same time, he intended for VISIONS to be an inspirational and interactive experience for Arkansas’ audiences and dance community.
For more information about Ballet Arkansas and its programs, visit the website at balletarkansas.org , email info@balletarkansas.org or call 501-223-5150.

Ballet Arkansas Presents its Third Annual Visions Choreographic Competition

Ballet Arkansas Presents its Third Annual Visions Choreographic Competition

Seven Rehearsal Days.  Four Choreographers. One Performance.

Little Rock, AR: Ballet Arkansas, the state’s foremost professional ballet company, today announced that it will perform its third annual Visions Choreographic Competition on August 20 at 7:00 p.m. at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s Center for Performing Arts University Theater. Tickets are $40 for adults and $30 for students, seniors or military with a valid ID.

Dozens of emerging choreographers from around the country and Europe competed for four spots in this year’s Visions competition. Selected choreographers include:  Caroline MacDonald from Portland, Oregon,  and a current company artist and choreographer with Nevada Ballet Theatre; McCree O’Kelley, a dance educator and choreographer with performing credits with the Atlanta Ballet, the Metropolitan Opera Ballet, and the Broadway National Tour of Cats as Mr. Mistoffelees;  Jimmy Orrante, a 2005 recipient of the Princess Grace Choreography Award, in his 19th season with BalletMet, Columbus, Ohio; and, Sanjay Saverimuttu from Boca Raton, Florida, in his fifth season as a company dancer with Louisville Ballet.

This year’s Visions winner will be selected in part by guest judge, Robert Hill, Artistic Director of the Orlando Ballet. Mr. Hill has been a principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre, The Royal Ballet, and the New York City Ballet. He will also lead a Master Class in Ballet on Aug. 20, 2016 from 10:00am-12:00pm – $25 class participation fee and $15 observation fee. Call 501-223-5150 to reserve a place in the Master Class. Mr. Hill will be joined by 2 judges from the local arts community along with members of the audience.

VISIONS began when Ballet Arkansas’ Artistic Director, Michael Bearden, wanted to create a program that would give emerging choreographers the opportunity to display their work, and to give Ballet Arkansas company dancers broader exposure to new works and choreographers from around the country.  At the same time, he intended for Visions to be an inspirational and interactive experience for Arkansas’ audiences and dance community.

One week before the VISIONS Competition each of the four selected choreographers arrive in Little Rock will cast their work through a “draft” of selected dancers and have a total of only 13 rehearsal hours over 7 days to create their piece. The night of the competition, the resulting works of choreography will be performed before 3 judges from the local and national performing arts community, and the audience will join in as the 4th judge.

After the votes are tallied comes the finale of the VISIONS competition – the announcement of the VISIONS Winner!  The winner receives a contract with Ballet Arkansas to expand their choreography to have it fully produced for performance in Ballet Arkansas’ spring mixed repertory show to be held April 28-30, 2017 at the Arkansas Repertory Theatre.

Tickets to the performance may be purchased on the Ballet Arkansas website at www.balletarkansas.org/tickets or by calling (501) 223-5150.

For more information about Ballet Arkansas and its programs, visit the website at balletarkansas.org , email info@balletarkansas.org or call 501-223-5150.

Ballet Arkansas is supported in part by the Arkansas Arts Council, an agency of the Department of Arkansas Heritage.

Ballet Arkansas 2016-17 Season Announcement

Ballet Arkansas 2016-17 Season Announcement

Arkansas’ Professional Ballet Company Expands Performance Opportunities

Across the State and Moves to Main St. in Downtown Little Rock during the 2016-17 Season

Little Rock, AR: Ballet Arkansas, the state’s foremost professional ballet company, today announced that it will officially move to its Main Street location in the Creative Corridor downtown Little Rock, and broaden its presence across the state with added touring performances in its 2016-17 season.

Accompanying the news of the Main Street studio space move and the added performances across the state, Ballet Arkansas signed on two new company artists: Kaley Kirkman of Fayetteville, AR and Zeek Wright of Amarillo, TX. Ballet Arkansas’ Board of Directors also increased its numbers with the addition of eight new board members. The full 2016-17 Board roaster and dancer bios can be seen at balletarkansas.org.

In the announcement, Michael Bearden, Artistic Director of Ballet Arkansas said, “There is much to be excited about for the upcoming season. In addition to the talented new dancers joining our ranks, we are receiving invitations from venues across the state including Crystal Bridges and the Walton Arts Center.”

Highlights of the season announcement include:

The third annual Visions Choreographic Competition to be held in the Center for Performing Arts at UALR on August 20, 2016 – 7:00pm.  Dozens of emerging choreographers from around the country competed for four spots in this competition. The winner receives a commission to create a completed new work on Ballet Arkansas’ company artists for its 2017 spring show.  Guest judges include Stanton Welch, Artistic Director of the Houston Ballet, along with local dance experts and the audience! Tickets for Visions are on sale now the Ballet Arkansas website: balletarkansas.org/tickets.

Ballet Arkansas will perform two acts of mixed repertory at the ACANSA Arts Festival Opening Festivities, September 21, 2016 from 6pm-8pm at Women’s City Club, Little Rock. The performance kicks off the annual arts festival’s celebration of visual and performing arts in Arkansas, held from September 21-24 at various venues across central Arkansas. Members of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra will accompany the Ballet Arkansas dancers in several of the works performed, while the audience enjoys refreshments. Tickets can be purchased on the ACANSA website: acansaartsfestival.org/tickets.

Anthony Chapel, Garvan Woodland Gardens, Hot Springs, AR is the venue for one of several Ballet Arkansas touring performances this season. The Garvan Woodland Gardens performance will feature excerpts from Ballet Arkansas’ current repertory, including Under the Lights (set to the music of Johnny Cash) and a preview of The Nutcracker favorites. The performance will be held on Oct. 30, 2016  at 3:00pm. Tickets can be purchased at garvangardens.org/purchase_tickets/ or call 800-366-4664. Admission includes an after party in the Garvan Pavilion with Ballet Arkansas company artists and staff.

Also in October, Ballet Arkansas will perform at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art as part of a new exhibition: Dance! American Art 1830-1960.  The art exhibit captures forms-from carefree to choreographed performance-with art that celebrates our need to move to the music. In this unique collaboration, Ballet Arkansas company artists will dance alongside works from famed American artists including John Singer Sargent, Mary Cassatt, Harlem Renaissance stars and artists who shaped the aesthetics of modern dance including Isamu Noguchi, Jasper Johns, and Andy Warhol.  More details and information on how to purchase tickets will be posted on the Ballet Arkansas and Crystal Bridges websites in the late summer.

Ballet Arkansas returns to the Robinson Center with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra to present the annual holiday classic, Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker. Ballet Arkansas’ professional company artists lead a cast of 200+ youth and adult dancers from the central Arkansas area to the delight of Arkansas audiences. The 2016 version of The Nutcracker features a new Waltz of the Flowers scene.  It will also expand its student matinees for statewide school groups on December 7-9, along with the three public performances on December 9, 10 and 11.  Tickets for The Nutcracker will go on sale in early September on the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra’s website. The community cast audition will be held on August 27, 2016. Visit balletarkansas.org/the-nutcracker to register for the audition.

In February of 2017, Ballet Arkansas heads to Bentonville to create the Visions Choreographic Competition NWA.  The Northwest Arkansas version of Visions will follow the model of the competition in Little Rock, hosting four choreographers to create new works for NWA audiences to view and judge. The winning choreographer in NWA will complete their work for a Ballet Arkansas repertoire performance at a future date.

The Main Stage Ballet Arkansas season will culminate with its annual spring mixed-repertory show, Springtime Fantasies, April 28-30, 2017 at the Arkansas Repertory Theatre. This season’s rep is both classical and contemporary, including: a third George Balanchine work, Valse Fantaisies; the second of three commissioned works by Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Kiyon Gaines; the expanded Visions winning choreography; and, a new staging of the Petipa classical ballet, Paquita Grande Pas Classique. Tickets go on sale in early fall on the Arkansas Repertory Theatre’s website.

In addition to the announced season productions, Ballet Arkansas will host a Master Class Series featuring Ballet Arkansas guest artists and choreographers, The Nutcracker Tea at the Capital Hotel, the annual Turning Pointe Gala in February 2017 and numerous other educational and tour performances across the state.

For more information about Ballet Arkansas and its programs, visit the website at www.balletarkansas.org or email info@balletarkansas.org.  Ballet Arkansas is supported in part by the Arkansas Arts Council, an agency of the Department of Arkansas Heritage.

Ballet Arkansas Fall Touring Dates

Recent reviews of our spring program confirmed that… “Ballet Arkansas proved yet again that dance is alive and pirouetting in the Natural State”. This fall Ballet Arkansas will be making three touring appearances around the state. “A major component of our mission is to bring the art of dance to as many Arkansans as possible” says Artistic Director Michael Bearden. “We are excited to be visiting these three cities and greatly appreciate the support of the tour venue and tour sponsors.

On the evening of October 15th, Ballet Arkansas will be performing in Hot Springs at Garvan Woodland Gardens “Ballet and Blooms” event. Works to be presented are Tom Rudd’s Mobile, excerpts from Greg Sample’s Rerouting, Sugar Plum Variation from The Nutcracker and excerpts from Marius Peptipa’s Raymonda. Limited seating is $600 for a table for 8 or individual seats are $85. Reservations must be made no later than October 12th. More information is available at www.garvangardens.org

October 30th we will be at Henderson State University for “Meet Ballet Arkansas”. Company members will present Greg Sample’s ReRouting, Val Caniparoli’s Act 1 Pas de Deux from Lady of the Camillas and excerpts from Marius Pepita’s Raymonda with introductions, comments and interaction with Artistic Director Michael Bearden. Tickets are $8 or free with an HSU Student ID. To reserve tickets, call the HSU Box Office at 870-230-5291 between 1-4 pm Monday through Friday or mail at theatre@hsu.edu. Tickets may also be purchased at the door.

The fall tours will be capped off at 7 pm on November 3 titled with a performance of Who Cares? presented by the Southeast Arkansas Concert Association at the University of Arkansas at Monticello’s Fine Arts Center in Monticello. This performance will include excerpts from Marius Petipa’s Raymonda, Greg Sample’s Rerouting, Val Caniparoli’s Act 1 Pas de Deux from Lady of the Camillas and the incomparable George Balanchine’s Who Cares? (concert version) performed to music by George Gershwin. Tickets are $15/person and available for purchase at the door.

For more information about Ballet Arkansas and our programs, visit the website at www.balletarkansas.org or email info@balletarkansas.org Ballet Arkansas is supported in part by the Arkansas Arts Council, an agency of the Department of Arkansas Heritage.

Ballet Arkansas Announces Educational Program Activities

Ballet Arkansas Announces Educational Program Activities
Auditions for Preparatory Program and Master Class

Ballet Arkansas Holds Preparatory Program Auditions

Auditions for Ballet Arkansas’ Preparatory Program will be held on August 15th from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm at the Shuffles and Ballet II Studio on Merrill Drive in Little Rock. There is a $15 audition fee for this program. Director Kim Cox will be available to answer any questions about this program at a parent-student meeting on August 6th at 6:30 pm at the Shuffles and Ballet II Studio.

The Ballet Arkansas Preparatory Program (BAPP) is offered to those dancers age 12 to 18 who are seriously considering choosing ballet as their career. It is a special program designed to supplement and accelerate a student’s ballet training while allowing them to experience a professional company atmosphere. The dancers will have opportunities to train, rehearse, and perform with Ballet Arkansas as well as participate in other performances and appearances throughout the year. Dancers will be selected by an audition process and no more than ten will be chosen for this unique opportunity. The selected dancers will receive focused attention from their instructors who may include the BAPP Director, Ballet Arkansas Artistic Director, and Ballet Arkansas Ballet Mistress. Master classes and classes with other guest artists, such as Ballet Arkansas Company members, will also be available. Regular classes run from September through April with a monthly tuition of $125. Ballet Arkansas Summer Intensive completes the year and is offered to BAPP students at half price.

Ballet Arkansas is delighted to announce that Kimberly Nygren Cox will be the Director of our Preparatory Program. Kim was a professional ballet dancer for 14 years. She performed with Milwaukee Ballet and as a soloist with the Louisville Ballet Company. Kim taught regularly for the Louisville Ballet School and Allegro Dance Theater, and she has been a guest instructor for various summer intensives around the country. She recently served as the Director for Ballet Arkansas’ 2015 Summer Intensive program. She is a certified Pilates teacher through the Pilates Method Alliance as well as a yoga instructor registered with the Yoga Alliance. In addition to giving Pilates lessons, Kimberly teaches numerous group exercise classes at the Little Rock Athletic Club and teaches a body conditioning class at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Kimberly is also an active choreographer, and one of her pieces for the Louisville Ballet Youth Ensemble was chosen to represent them at SERBA in 2011. She enjoys sharing her love of movement with others whether helping to prepare young dancers for a career or just passing on her love of the art form.


5/6/12 4:16:05 PM Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. Studio Shoot. © Todd Rosenberg Photography in Chicago, IL

 Todd Rosenberg Photography in Chicago, IL

 

Master Class with Glenn Edgerton
Artistic Director, Hubbard Street Dance
August 22nd, 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm
University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Center for Performing Arts, Studio 129
$25 to Participate or $15 to Observe

Ballet Arkansas is hosting its first Master Class in the 2015-16 season with instructor Glenn Edgerton at UALR’s Center for Performing Arts, Studio 129 on August 22nd from 1:30 pm -3:00 pm. Registration fee is $25 to participate and $15 to observe.
Edgerton joined Hubbard Street Dance Chicago after an international career as a dancer and director. At the Joffrey Ballet, he performed leading roles, contemporary and classical, for 11 years under the mentorship of Robert Joffrey. In 1989, Edgerton joined the acclaimed Ned¬erlands Dans Theater (NDT), where he danced for five years. He retired from performing to become its artistic director, leading NDT 1 for a decade and presenting the works of Jiří Kylián, Hans van Manen, William Forsythe, Ohad Naharin, Mats Ek, Nacho Duato, Jorma Elo, Johan In¬ger, Paul Lightfoot and Sol León, among others. From 2006 to 2008, he directed the Colburn Dance Institute at the Colburn School of Performing Arts in Los Angeles. Edgerton joined Hubbard Street as associate artistic director in 2008; since 2009 as artistic director, he has built upon more than three decades of leadership in dance performance, education and appreciation established by founder Lou Conte and continued by Conte’s successor, Jim Vincent.

Visions Choreographic Competition

Ballet Arkansas’ Presents its Second Annual Visions Choreographic Competition
Five Choreographers from Around the U.S. Contend for the Top Prize

Ballet Arkansas’ second annual Visions Choreographic Competition will be performed August 22 at 7:00 pm at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s Theatre for Performing Arts. Tickets are $40/adult and $30/student. On August 20th from 6:30 – 8:30, Ballet Arkansas is hosting a “Meet the Artist Party” at Good Food by Ferneau in North Little Rock. Ballet Arkansas company dancers, guest artist and the five Visions choreographers will be in attendance at this fundraising event. Tickets are $40/person.

Thirty-one emerging choreographers from around the country competed for five spots in this year’s Visions competition. Selected choreographers include: Boston Ballet’s Boyko Dossev, former Houston Ballet’s Ilya Kozadayev, former Ballet West and Visceral Dance Chicago’s Tom Mattingly, former Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Barry Kerollis and Post: Ballet’s Aidan DeYoung.

This year’s Visions winner will be selected at the public performance on August 22 by the audience members along with 3 dance professionals from the local and national dance community including Glenn Edgerton, Artistic Director of Hubbard Street Dance in Chicago. 2014’s winner of the Visions Choreographic Competition was Hilary Wolfley, and her completed piece Facade was featured at the Ballet Arkansas spring repertory program.

VISIONS began as the vision of Ballet Arkansas’ Artistic Director, Michael Bearden, who wanted to create a program that would give emerging choreographers the opportunity to display their work, and to give Ballet Arkansas company dancers broader exposure to new works and choreographers from around the country. At the same time he also intended for Visions to be an inspirational and interactive experience for Arkansas’ audiences and dance community.

The finale of the competition is the announcement of the VISIONS Winner, who receives a contract with Ballet Arkansas to expand their choreography to have it fully produced for performance in Ballet Arkansas’ spring mixed repertory show, “Under the Lights”, to be held May 20-22, 2016 at the Arkansas Repertory Theatre.
Tickets to the performance and the Meet the Artists Party may be purchased on the Ballet Arkansas website at www.balletarkansas.org or by calling (501) 223-5150.

Nutcracker Auditions

Ballet Arkansas to Hold Auditions for The Nutcracker

A Variety of Roles for Young Dancers are Available – including the Role of Clara Ballet Arkansas, the State’s professional ballet company, is holding auditions for youth roles for its annual production of the holiday classic, The Nutcracker on August 1 and 8th. Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker will be performed at the Maumelle Performing Arts Center, December 11, 12 and 13, accompanied by the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra. The Nutcracker auditions will be held on Saturday, August 1 starting at 10 am in the studios of Shuffles
& Ballet II, 1521 Merrill Drive in Little Rock. There is a make-up audition date of August 8th at 10:00 am for all age groups for those who cannot attend on the 1st. The audition fee is $20/person. Audition registration and fee payment can be done on the Ballet Arkansas website at www.balletarkansas.org/the-nutcracker There are a variety of different roles to suit all youth ages in the ballet, including the role of Clara, the protagonist of the popular holiday classic.  Nutcracker auditions are open to dancers who are: 6 years old or older, currently enrolled in a ballet class at the studio of their choice, can attend weekend rehearsals from September to December, along with daytime and evening rehearsals and performances during the second week of December.

The audition schedule on Saturday, August 1st is as follows:
Children Age 6: 10 am
Children Ages 7-9: 11:30am
Children Ages 10-12: 1:00pm
Teens Ages 13 & older: 2:00pm

Company officials request that all persons auditioning arrive at least 30-minutes prior to their audition time for check-in and number assignment. Intermediate and Advanced level female dancers are asked to bring pointe shoes for the audition. Rehearsals begin in September and continue each weekend until the company moves into the Maumelle Performing Arts Center for evening rehearsals, beginning Monday, December 8th.

For more information, please visit the Ballet Arkansas website at www.balletarkansas.org or call the company office at (501) 223-5150.

Ballet Arkansas Adds New Ballet Mistress and Two New Dancers for 2015-2016 Season


Ballet Arkansas Adds New Ballet Mistress and Two New Dancers for 2015-2016 Season

LITTLE ROCK – Ballet Arkansas is pleased to announce the hiring of a new Ballet Mistress and two new dancers for its upcoming 2015-2016 season. They will operate and perform under the direction of Arkansas native and former Ballet West Principal dancer Michael Bearden who is returning for his third season as Artistic Director.

“Every year, the number and skill level of dancers auditioning to become members of Ballet Arkansas’ company increases. This is a wonderful sign of the growing reputation we are achieving in the dance world,” said Ballet Arkansas’s Executive Director Karen Bassett.

Joining the organization as Ballet Mistress is Laura Hood Babcock. Laura is a former professional ballet dancer who enjoyed a diverse career dancing principal, soloist and corps de ballet roles with: American Ballet Theatre, under the direction of Mikhail Baryshnikov, The Pennsylvania Ballet (aka Pennsylvania/Milwaukee Ballet), The Cleveland Ballet, The Eglevsky Ballet, The Santa Barbara Ballet and The San Diego Ballet. She is a national award winner of the National Society of Arts and Letters in Ballet and a recipient of the Pennsylvania Arts Council Artist in Transition Grant and has coached and taught students and professional dancers around the country including: American Ballet Theatre, The Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Oklahoma City Ballet School, San Diego Dance Academy, Arkansas Festival Ballet and UALR. She was a staff member and dancer at The Carlisle Project Choreographer’s Workshop and is a graduate of Dickinson College where she received her B.A. in American Studies and Women’s Studies, magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa. “I am very much looking forward to working with Ballet Arkansas this season” said Laura Babcock. “The breadth of the repertoire and the quality of the dancers are inspiring and it will be exciting to apply my passion and abilities to help the company continue to grow its professionalism and artistry for the enjoyment of Arkansas audiences.”

Joining the professional company are Meredith Short from Little Rock and Lynsie Ogden from Thornton, Colorado. Meredith received her early training under the direction of Rebecca Miller Stalcup, Melinda Tobian, and Mark Bush at the Arkansas Academy of Dance and Arkansas Festival Ballet. Meredith is a recent graduate from the University of Oklahoma where she received her BFA in ballet performance from the School of Dance. Lynsie trained with the Academy of Colorado Ballet and the Schiff Dance Collective. She graduated from the University of Utah with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Ballet Performance. Lynsie was a member of Utah Ballet, Montgomery Ballet and Fort Wayne Ballet. Meredith and Lynsie join the eleven Company members who are returning for the 2015-16 season. “I am thrilled by the recent additions to the Ballet Arkansas family” said Artistic Director Michael Bearden. “Mrs. Hood Babcock brings a wealth of knowledge and professional experience to our organization and I believe our company dancers will improve under her guidance in the studio. Lynsie and Meredith will also contribute to a culture of excellence through their work on and off stage.”

2015-16 Season Announcement

Ballet Arkansas’ 2015-16 Season Announcement

Recent reviews of our spring program confirmed that… “Ballet Arkansas proved yet again that dance is alive and pirouetting in the Natural State”. Our 2015-16 season builds on the momentum we have experienced since 2009 through elements such as the music of Arkansas native Johnny Cash, the creativity of eight incredibly talented choreographers from around the country and works that vary in style from George Balanchine’s classical ballet to a comedy ballet and also contemporary dance. Topping the list of exciting news for the upcoming season is the announcement that we have engaged Kiyon Gaines, recently retired Pacific Northwest Ballet soloist, to a 3-year Resident Choreographer Contract. “Our patrons were so enthralled with Mr. Gaines choreography in Bolero and our dancers were so inspired by his energy and creativity that we immediately sought him when we decided to establish this extended contract” says Executive Director Karen Bassett.

Ballet Arkansas will present three productions this season, starting off with our second annual Visions Choreographic Competition to be held in the Center for Performing Arts at UALR on August 22nd at 7:00pm. Thirty-one emerging choreographers from around the country competed for five spots in this competition of which the winner will receive a commission to create a complete new work on Ballet Arkansas’s company dancers for their 2016 spring show. Selected choreographers include Boston Ballet’s Boyko Dossev, former Houston Ballet Soloist and current University of Oklahoma dance teacher Ilya Kozadayev, former Ballet West and Visceral Dance Chicago’s Tom Mattingly, former Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Barry Kerollis and Post: Ballet’s Aidan DeYoung. “The audience reaction to our first Visions competition confirmed that they truly enjoyed seeing a variety of dance styles and that they learned so much about the process of creating beautiful, challenging choreography” said Artistic Director, Michael Bearden. The guest judge for Visions is Glenn Edgerton, Artistic Director for Hubbard Street Dance in Chicago. Tickets for Visions will go on sale July 1st on the Ballet Arkansas website.

In December, Ballet Arkansas joins forces with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra to present the annual holiday ballet, Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker at the Maumelle Performing Arts Center. With music provided by the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, a cast of 200+ youth and adult dancers from the central Arkansas area, professional guest artists and featuring Ballet Arkansas professional company members, The Nutcracker will continue its tradition as a holiday must-see. The Nutcracker performance week includes student matinees for statewide school groups on December 10 & 11, along with the four public performances on December 11, 12 and 13th. Tickets for The Nutcracker will go on sale in early September on the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra’s website.

On May 20-22, 2016 Ballet Arkansas will present its annual spring mixed-repertory show, “Under the Lights” at the Arkansas Repertory Theatre. This year’s show contains an eclectic group of works of various dance styles including Nashville Ballet dancer Chris Stuarts’ Under the Lights set to Johnny Cash songs including “Walk the Line” and “Jackson”. This show also features a world premier work created by Ballet Arkansas Resident Choreographer Kiyon Gaines and Group Therapy, a comedy ballet created for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago by Harrison McEldowney and the expanded Visions winning choreography. Ballet Arkansas is also delighted to announce that we will again be performing a George Balanchine work, Glinka Pas de Trois. Tickets will go on sale in early fall on the Arkansas Repertory Theatre’s website.

In addition to these productions, Ballet Arkansas’ season will include a Master Class Series featuring Ballet Arkansas’ guest choreographers, Nutcracker Tea at the Capitol Hotel and Garvan Woodland Gardens, our annual Turning Pointe Gala in the spring of 2016 and touring performances around the state including Garvan Woodland Gardens and Monticello.

For more information about Ballet Arkansas and our programs, visit the website at www.balletarkansas.org or email info@balletarkansas.org Ballet Arkansas is supported in part by the Arkansas Arts Council, an agency of the Department of Arkansas Heritage.