On Their Toes – Ballet Arkansas announces 2015-2016 season

BalletArkOn April 17 through 19, Ballet Arkansas will conclude the 2014-2015 season with Who Cares? featuring choreography by George Balanchine and music by George Gershwin.

Not content to rest on their laurels, they have announced their 2015-2016 season.

The season will kick off on August 22 with the second Visions Choreographic Competition.  Several choreographers will be invited to create dance pieces which will be performed that night.  A panel of experts and the audience will select a winner. The winner will be developed further and performed in the spring of 2016.
The annual Nutcracker will take place December 11, 12 and 13 at the Maumelle Performing Arts Center.  (It will return to the re-opened Robinson Center Music Hall in December 2016).
The spring show will be titled Under the Lights and will be at The Rep on May 20-22. Under the Lights is the show’s headline piece set to Johnny Cash music. It was premiered in Nashville recently and now comes full circle to the state of Cash’s birth and boyhood.  Also on the bill for that evening is Glinka Pas de Trois by George Balanchine and Group Therapy by Harrison McEldowney which is a very funny piece.  In addition there will be two new pieces being performed.  Kiyon Gaines, who choreographed a new version of Bolero performed by Ballet Arkansas recently will be back in his first year as the company’s resident choreographer. He will create a new work for a world premiere. The other new piece will be the Visions winner.
Michael Bearden is the Artistic Director of Ballet Arkansas; Karen Bassett serves as Executive Director; Marla Edwards is the Ballet Mistress and Ballet Arkansas Youth Division Director; and Erin Anson is Company & Production Manager.

THE NUTCRACKER this weekend performed by Ballet Arkansas with music by the ASO

nutcracker_1Celebrate 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. The Nutcracker tells the story of Clara and her magical nutcracker doll and their wondrous journey to the Land of Snow and Kingdom of Sweets. Every year this fun filled production creates lifelong memories for hundreds of Arkansas families.

Under the direction of Artistic Director Michael Bearden with choreography by ballet mistress Marla Edwards and choreographers Allison Stodola Wilson, Jana Beard, and Traci Presley, Ballet Arkansas’ Nutcracker will be the highlight of the holiday season. Accompanied by the largest ever cast of local actors and dance students from across Arkansas, this year’s production will feature Ballet Arkansas company members Leslie Dodge, Toby Lewellen, Justin Metcalf-Burton, Lauren McCarty Horak, Paul Tillman, Amanda Sewell, Lauren Bodenheimer, Deanna Karlheim, Megan Hustel, Tony Sewer, Hannah Bradshaw and apprentice Georgia Quinn. This year’s guest artists include audience favorites UALR professor Stephen K. Stone as Herr Drosselmeyer and Eric Harrison as Mother Ginger, Tom Mattingly appearing courtesy of Visceral Dance as Cavalier opposite Leslie Dodge as the Sugar Plum Fairy and Colin Hathaway appearing courtesy of Ballet West as Snow King opposite Megan Hustel and in Arabian.

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 for the December 12th, 13th or 14th public shows to The Nutcracker, visit balletarkansas.org or call 501-666-1761. Tickets range from $20-$52.

Performances began last night and continue today at 2pm and 7:30pm and tomorrow at 2pm.  This year The Nutcracker is being performed at the Maumelle Performing Arts Center.

Youth Orchestra and Ballet Collaborate This Weekend

asyo baydMusicians from the Arkansas Symphony Youth Orchestra program will provide the musical score for dancers from Ballet Arkansas’ Youth Division tonight and Saturday evening.

The performances are tonight at 7:30 and Saturday at 7:30 at the Albert Pike Memorial Temple, located at 712 Scott Street.

Geoffrey Robson, the Associate Conductor of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra will lead the Arkansas Symphony Youth Orchestra – the premier youth ensemble partner of the ASO.  The pieces have been choreographed by Marla Edwards of Ballet Arkansas.

The program consists of:

MOZART      Overture to The Magic Flute
VERDI      La Traviata Prelude to Act I
BORODIN      Excerpts from Polovetsian Dances from Prince Igor
VERDI      Excerpts from Birthday Variations
TCHAIKOVSKY      Polonaise from Eugene Onegin
HUMPERDINCK      Evening Prayer and Pantomime from Hansel and Gretel
BIZET      L’Arlessiene: Suite No. 2 IV. Farandole

“Join us for a performance of overtures and ballet highlights from great operas and works of incidental music. From Mozart to Tchaikovsky, this program includes music from operas that has become famous outside the opera house. Some of the beloved favorites include excerpts from The Magic Flute, and Hansel and Gretel. These performances feature the Ballet Arkansas Youth Division, with choreography by Marla Edwards, as well as Ballet Arkansas professional company members, and professional singers.” – Geoffrey Robson, ASO Associate Conductor and ASYO Conductor

Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for students and active military.

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 www.balletarkansas.org 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 premieres AMERICAN IMAGES

Just a few short years ago, Ballet Arkansas pretty much existed to produce the annual production of The Nutcracker.  Now, they are in the position to present an evening of six newly commissioned dance pieces!  Congratulations to all who have made this possible.

Tonight, Ballet Arkansas kicks off the 2012-2013 season with American Images, an evening of six commissioned works each built around the American cultural landscape.  The works are:

Times Torn
A Civil War ballet by Marla Edwards, the ballet’s new Ballet Mistress, herself a former soloist with Ballet Arkansas and a veteran of the Houston Ballet School.
American Dream
Choreography by Stephanie Thibeault, Associate Professor of Dance at UALR.
Pop
Choreography by Michelle Alexander, based on the art and writings of pop culture icon Andy Warhol.
Delta…Push Up Open
Choreography by Little Rock native Leslie Schickel, which premiered in March, 2012.
Spectre
A silent-film era pas de deux choreographed by former Ballet Arkansas guest dancer Edmond Cooper
Nowhere/Now Here 
Choreography by Tong Wang, currently assistant professor at University of California – Irvine Department of Dance. Wang is a former principal dancer at Ballet West in Salt Lake City and has worked with Shanghai Ballet, Tulsa Ballet Theatre, Dayton Ballet,
and Colorado Ballet, among many others.

 

The works premiered last night and will continue today at 4:00pm and tomorrow at 2:00pm at Wildwood Park for the Arts.  Also, while at Wildwood, enjoy this weekend’s Harvest Festival.