Ballet Arkansas’ THE NUTCRACKER this weekend

One of the sure signs of the Christmas season is the return of The Nutcracker to ballet companies across America.  Ballet Arkansas presents the annual production this weekend.  Performances started last night and continue this evening and tomorrow afternoon.  (School performances are going on throughout the week.)

Celebrate the season with your professional ballet company as we continue a favorite Christmas tradition performing The Nutcracker accompanied by the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Maestro Geoffrey Robson. Every year this fun field production creates lifelong memories for hundreds of Arkansas families. With gorgeous scenery, enchanting costumes and original choreography, Ballet Arkansas will present The Nutcracker at Robinson Center Music Hall.

The ballet will come to life through the efforts of Ballet Arkansas’ ten professional company members and a handful of guest artists leading two casts totaling more than 200 dancers, actors and students (of all ages) from across the state.

Ballet Arkansas is under the leadership of Artistic Director Michael Bearden and Executive Director Lauren Strother.  Marla Edwards is the Ballet Mistress.  Company members include Lauren McCarty Horak, Leslie Dodge, Toby Lewellen, Amanda Sewell, Laurel Dix, Katchiri Feys Tillman, Paul Tillman, Lauren Bodenheimer, Justin Metcalf-Burton, Deanna Karlheim and Julianne Zilah.

The Nutcracker is the perfect yuletide gift, the ideal means of introducing children to the power and beauty of classical dance, and a delightful way for the entire family to ring in the holiday season. Make Ballet Arkansas’ Nutcracker part of your holiday celebration this December! To purchase tickets to The Nutcracker, visit or call 501-666-1761.

Ballet Arkansas performances of The Nutcracker are generously sponsored by: Orthodontic Associates, Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau, Arkansas Democrat Gazette, Pleasant Ridge Towne Center, The Dance & More Store, Arkansas Times along with support from the Arkansas Arts Council.

Ballet Arkansas Springs in to Motion

SpringIntoMotionWeb2World premiere choreography as well as classic ballet performed by Ballet Arkansas’ Professional Company is coming to the stage at The Arkansas Repertory Theater.

Ballet Arkansas’ new concert, Spring into Motion, will run from April 5-7, 2013 at The Rep. Directed by former Ballet Arkansas dancer Michael Bearden – currently a principal dancer at Ballet West in Salt Lake City – Spring into Motion will not only present dances by national choreographers, but also showcase the immense physical talents of Ballet Arkansas’ Professional Company.

“This show brings Arkansas audiences high-quality choreographers who are currently creating works on ballet companies throughout the country,” Bearden said. In addition to classics such as Don Quixote and Black Swan, Spring into Motion boasts two newly commissioned works by nationally known choreographers Darrell Grand Moultrie and Peter Zweifel, as well as a contemporary work titled Mobile, which has recently delighted audiences of Joffrey Ballet Co., San Francisco Ballet and Kansas City Ballet.

Spring into Motion marks an important step in the evolution of Ballet Arkansas. For the first time, the company will perform at Arkansas Repertory Theatre in downtown Little Rock.   This production will be the first collaboration between Ballet Arkansas and The Arkansas Repertory Theatre, and “this collaboration adds a new dimension to what arts patrons can enjoy on The Rep stage,” said Bob Hupp, producing artistic director at Arkansas Rep.

Tickets are available through The Rep box office at (501) 378-0405 or online at  Tickets are $35 for Orchestra and First Mezzanine seating and $30 for Second Mezzanine seating. Spring into Motion will open Friday, April 5, 2013 with an evening performance starting at 7:30 p.m. Other show times include an evening performance on Saturday, April 6 at 7:30 p.m. and a matinee on Sunday, April 7 at 2:00 p.m. Student Matinees for Spring into Motion at The Rep are currently scheduled for 10:30 a.m. on April 3, 4, and 5 for statewide student groups.

Spring into Motion will travel to the University of Central Arkansas’ Reynolds Center for a student matinee and an evening performance on Thursday, April 18. Show times include 1:00 p.m. for the student matinee and 7:30 p.m. for the evening performance. To purchase tickets for the evening performance, visit All student matinee program reservations can be made by calling (501) 223-5150 or emailing for reservation information.

Ballet Arkansas honors Kolb, announces 2012-13 season

Earlier this month, Ballet Arkansas hosted its annual spring soiree.  At the evening, Joseph F. Kolb was presented with the “Above the Barre” award.  Kolb was recognized for his past leadership on the Ballet Arkansas board.  In the early 2000s, Kolb served as the producer of the annual Ballet Arkansas production of The Nutcracker when there was no staff available to do so.

Joe and Cindy Kolb

Kolb has also been an active board member of the Arkansas Repertory Theatre and Historic Arkansas Museum. He and his wife Cindy have two daughters. The oldest one is taking dance classes, so he now his most important connection is a ballet dad instead of being a ballet board member.

Also at the soiree, Ballet Arkansas announced its 2012-2013 season and featured dancers presenting preview moments.   The season will kick off with American Images on October 12 – 14, 2012. The dancers will interpret iconic pieces of art in dance. The performances will take place at Wildwood Park for the Arts in conjunction with Wildwood’s Harvest Fest.

Next up will be the annual production of The Nutcracker from December 7 – 9, 2012 at Robinson Center Music Hall.  This holiday tradition will featured not only Company members and Ballet Arkansas II but also dozens upon dozens of local dance students.

Ballet Arkansas spring into Spring at the Arkansas Repertory Theatre. From April 5 – 7, 2013, it will present Spring into Motion which will feature a variety of dances.

Throughout the season, the Company tour beyondCATEGORY throughout the state. In conjunction with this tour, the Company will also offer workshops.

Lauren Quick Strother is the Executive Director of Ballet Arkansas.  The guest artist and artistic advisor is Michael Bearden, courtesy of BalletWest.  Guy Couch is the Tour Director. The 2012-2013 Company includes: Leslie Dodge, Lauren McCarty Horak, Toby Lewellen, Anna Maris, Sean Porter, Laurel Dix, Paul Tillman, Katchiri Feys Tillman and Amanda Sewell.