Dancer and choreographer only defines two of Christen Burke Pitts‘s involvement with the arts. She and her family are also active supporters of the Arkansas film industry and are patrons of all of the performing arts. But it is in dance that Christen probably makes her largest impact.
Since 1996, she has been the founder and director of the NLRHS Dance Program. In that capacity, she teaches scores of students each year as well as choreographs musicals, plans workshops, and produces dance performances. She received the 2012 Governor’s Arts in Education Award from the Arkansas Arts Council and was also named the 2012 Arkansas Communication and Theatre Arts Association Teacher of the Year.
Christen holds her MEd from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and a BA in Drama/minor in Dance Performance from the University of Arkansas. She studied ballet, tap, jazz, modern, pointe, and musical theatre with various instructors across the country and trained at workshops/intensives with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, MOMIX, Pilobolus, Luigi, Frank Hatchett, Finis Jhung, Bill Hastings, and many others.
Christen has performed in over fifty shows throughout the South including Damn Yankees at the Arkansas Repertory Theatre, the Shoji Tabuchi Show and The Crystal Gayle Show in Branson, and numerous industrial shows. She has appeared in local and national commercials, “The Ernest Green Story” on The Disney Channel, and in television specials on The Family Channel. Christen was a company member of the Memphis Dance Ensemble and the University of Arkansas Dance Company.
She has taught dance workshops for the ARC National Performing Arts Camp, the Arkansas Repertory Theatre (Summer Theater Intensive-Camp Rep), Arkansas Communication and Theatre Arts Association, and Arkansas Dance Network. A co-founder of the Arkansas Dance Network, she has also served been affiliated with ACANSA Arts Festival, the THEA Foundation, Arkansas Festival Ballet, and Argenta Community Theatre, among others.