Ballet Arkansas's professional company consists of 15 world-class artists from across the United States. They invest their time and talents into advancing the cultural ecosystem of our city and state and bring joy and enrichment to tens of thousands each year. With a donation of $1,500 you can sponsor a dancer of your choosing for the 22|23 season. You'll receive perks such as backstage tours guided by your dancer, invites to studio rehearsals, advance casting notices and much more. Your support helps retain unsurpassed talent and contributes to the mission of Ballet Arkansas. To sponsor, make your donation online by clicking the button below and send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to request to sponsor your preferred dancer. *One sponsor per dancer.
Sponsored by David & Jana Knight
Brittany Harano, originally from Memphis, TN, trained at the Ballet Memphis School and attended summer intensives at American Ballet Theatre, Boston Ballet, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, and Kansas City Ballet. She graduated from Texas Christian University with a BFA in Ballet and Strategic Communication and a Pilates Teacher Certificate. At TCU, she worked with Marianna Tcherkassky, Jennifer Archibald, Darrell Grand Moultrie, Gabrielle Lamb, Francesca Harper, and Suzanne Haag. Additionally at TCU, she was a demi-soloist in Les Sylphides and in Don Quixote, and she was Aurora in Sleeping Beauty. Brittany has performed professionally with Collin County Ballet Theatre and Ballet Memphis. With Ballet Arkansas, Brittany has performed as Catherine in Michael Fothergill's world premiere of The Great Gatsby, as Tea in The Nutcracker, and in contemporary works by Ashley Green and Maddy Falconer. She currently teaches Pilates at Club Pilates West Little Rock and Club Pilates Midtowne and teaches Adult Ballet for Ballet Arkansas.
Community Cast Ballet Master
Matthew Larson is originally from Minnetonka, Minnesota. He began his training at Hopkins Dance Center under the direction of Leslie Daly. After high school, he studied ballet and Limón technique at the College-Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati. In 2015, he had the opportunity to spend a few months studying ballet, modern, and choreography at the prestigious Beijing Dance Academy in China. He then spent two years in the Milwaukee Ballet II program. Since joining Ballet Arkansas in 2018, he has performed in the roles of Nutcracker Doll, Spanish, Arabian, and Russian in The Nutcracker, Samuel and the Headless Horseman in Sleepy Hollow, and Dr. Coppelius and Franz in Coppelia. He has also performed in various contemporary works by Michael Fothergill and Ma Cong. He has also had the opportunity to choreograph on Ballet Arkansas and for the Ballet Arkansas Summer Intensive.
Leah Norwine grew up in Herndon, Virginia. She received her training from The Kirov Academy of Ballet of Washington, DC. She received supplemental training from programs including; Royal Danish Ballet, Oklahoma City Ballet and Bolshoi Ballet Academy in NYC and Moscow, Russia. She is a recipient of an NSLI-Y Scholarship and a Training and Performing Scholarship both from the Bolshoi Ballet Academy.
Upon graduation she danced at The Washington Ballet as a Trainee under both Septime Weber and Julie Kent. There, she danced in Septime Weber’s Carmen, Fluctuating Hemlines, George Balanchine’s Serenade, and Julie Kent’s staging of Giselle. Then she moved on to dance in Oklahoma City Ballet for two seasons in the Studio Company, dancing in George Balanchine’s The Four Temperaments, Septime Weber’s ALICE (in wonderland) and choreography by Robert Mills. Since joining Ballet Arkansas her favorite roles include; Jordan in Fothergill’s The Great Gatsby, Dew Drop in Fothergill’s The Nutcracker and Yellow girl in Gerald Arpino’s Confetti. Leah is excited to continue to dance and perform with Ballet Arkansas. She also enjoys teaching Reformer Pilates, spending time with friends and family and exploring the trails of Arkansas.
Community Cast Ballet Master
Sponsored by Clark Trim & Henrik Thostrup
Mr. Vendt started dancing at age 10 in Tyler, Texas. After 2 years he moved to Dallas, Texas where he studied at Ballet Academy of Texas under the direction of Lisa Slagle. Upon graduation, he attended Texas Christian University’s School for Classical and Contemporary Dance under the direction of Elizabeth Gillaspy with a full tuition scholarship. Mr. Vendt joined Oklahoma City Ballet for the 2017/18 and 2018/19 seasons. Here he performed several works choreographed by Robert Mills including Russian and lead Chinese in The Nutcracker and Czardas in Swan Lake. Vendt joined Ballet Arkansas for the 2019/20 season and performed rolls such as Sugar Plum Prince in their annual Nutcracker as well as Prince and stepsister in Cinderella.
DAVID J. CUMMINGS
David Cummings is originally a native of Sterling Heights, Michigan. He began his training at the age of 13 at The Link School of the Arts in Troy, Michigan under the direction of Betty Mitchell. He trained extensively in Vaganova as well as Cecchetti technique, testing and passing highly commended up to grade six. He received instruction and participated in works from many renowned teachers and choreographers such as Steve Rooks, Alicia Graf Mack, Lauren Anderson, Shizu Yasuda, as well as performing in the ballet Coppélia by Ben Stevenson O.B.E., directed by Lauren Anderson. Following High School, David began studies at Belhaven University in 2018, pursuing a BFA in Dance with a full-tuition scholarship. There, he worked with choreographers such as Laura Morton, Bill Wade, Kevin Jenkins, Steve Rooks, Vincent Hardy, and Kellis McSparrin-Oldenburg. In 2022, David graduated summa cum laude from Belhaven University and received the Bezalel award for outstanding artistic achievement in his graduating class. David is humbled to be joining Ballet Arkansas and is excited for the 22/23 season!
10th Season | *On Leave
Lauren Hill began her training with Ballet Memphis then Ballet West. Career highlights include Ma Cong’s Calling, Sugar Plum Fairy and Dew Drop Fairy in The Nutcracker, Odette in Swan Lake, Michael Fothergill’s The Great Gatsby (Daisy), Cinderella (Cinderella), Dracula (Lucy), Fire & Rain, and Chiaroscuro, George Balanchine’s Glinka Pas de Trois, Valse Fantaisie, Donizetti Variations, and Who Cares?, and Gerald Arpino's Confetti and Birthday Variations. Lauren has had the great privilege of dancing featured roles in many world premieres by contemporary choreographers including Maddy Falconer, Kiyon Gaines, Ashley Green, Mark Godden, Alice Klock and Florian Lochner, Steven McMahon, Melody Mennite, Mariana Oliveira, Jimmy Orante, Yoshito Sakuraba, and Greg Sample. For three years, she has been honored to perform original choreography for Tanarah Luxe Floral’s Inspire Wedding Show. Lauren has danced as a guest artist at Aspen Santa Fe Ballet and Tupelo Ballet. She was born in Budapest, Hungary. She and her husband, Joe, are proud to call Little Rock home.
Community Cast Ballet Master
Sponsored by the Bagley Family
Meredith Short Loy, a native of Little Rock, Arkansas, received her early training at Arkansas Academy of Dance and Arkansas Festival Ballet under the direction of Rebecca Miller Stalcup and Melinda Tobian. Meredith is a graduate from the University of Oklahoma where she received her Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in ballet performance. Since joining Ballet Arkansas Meredith has had the opportunity to perform works by Agnes de Mille, Christopher Wheeldon, Ma Cong, Flock, Mariana Oliveira, Xin Ying, and George Balanchine. A few of Meredith’s most recent and favorite roles include Cinderella in Michael Fothergill’s “Cinderella”, “Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux” by George Balanchine, Swanhilda in “Coppélia & the Toymaker”, Gerald Arpino’s “Confetti”, and the Sugar Plum Fairy in “the Nutcracker”.
Meredith loves being a Community Cast Ballet Master for Ballet Arkansas.
Sponsored by the Galdamez Family
Deanna Stanton began dancing in her hometown of Clarksville, Maryland. She credits her early training to her time spent at the Baltimore School for the Arts. Deanna graduated with a BFA in Ballet from the University of Cincinnati - College Conservatory of Music. During this time, she was also a Trainee with Ballet West for two seasons. Since joining Ballet Arkansas, she has had the opportunity to perform principal or featured roles in George Balanchine’s Who Cares?, Gerald Arpino’s Birthday Variations, Val Caniparoli’s Lady of the Camellias, Kenneth MacMillan's Romeo & Juliet, and Chris Stuart’s Under the Lights. Most recently she has performed Mina in Michael Fothergill's Dracula, Fairy Godmother in Cinderella, Big Swans in Swan Lake, Diamond Fairy in Sleeping Beauty, Ester Rose in Michael Fothergill’s Sleepy Hollow & the Sugar Plum Fairy, Snow Queen & Dew Drop in The Nutcracker. She has also had the privilege of working with choreographers such as Xin Ying, Madison Hicks, Kiyon Gaines, Tom Mattingly & Maddy Falconer. In addition to performing, Deanna has a passion for choreographing. She wants to extend a special thank you to her husband and family for their continued support!
Sponsored by La Scoula Ballet
Lauren started dancing with Dance Arts of Chelsea in Michigan and later began performing with Ballet Chelsea, under the direction of Wendi DuBois. Prior to Ballet Arkansas, Lauren danced as a trainee with Grand Rapids Ballet. During her time in Grand Rapids, Lauren worked with choreographers including Val Caniparoli, Penny Saunders, Brian Enos, Attila Mosolygo, and Olivier Wevers. Lauren furthered her training by attending summer programs at Pacific Northwest Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Cecchetti Council of America, and Ballet West where she worked with choreographer Quinn Wharton.
Since joining Ballet Arkansas in 2019, Lauren has performed the featured roles of Dew Drop Fairy, Lead Marzipan, and Spanish in Michael Fothergill’s “The Nutcracker” as well as Prayer in “Coppelia.” Lauren additionally performed in the premieres of Michael Fothergill’s “Sleepy Hollow,” “The Great Gatsby,” “Cinderella,” and works by Yoshito Sakuraba, Madison Falconer, and fellow company artists, Meredith Loy and Paul Tillman.
Community Cast Ballet Master
Sponsored by James & Stacy Bell
A native of St.Louis, MO, Sage began her classical ballet training at Milwaukee Ballet School at the age of 16. While training she attended many summer intensives including Milwaukee Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, Elements Ballet, and BalletMet. After graduating highschool she trained as a youth company member with A&A Ballet and as a trainee with BalletMet. During her time at BalletMet, she was chosen to perform corpse de ballet roles in company productions by Edwaard Liang such as The Nutcracker, Giselle, and Dorthy and the Prince of Oz. She also had the honor of performing works by George Balanchine including Concerto Barocco and Serenade (set by Nilas Martins and Wendy Whelan).
In 2018 she began her professional career with Ballet Quad Cities where she danced many principal roles such as Mina in Dracula, The Butterfly in The Nutcracker, Lilac Fairy in Sleeping Beauty, and Carmen in Carmen Suite. In 2021 she joined Confluence Ballet Company where she danced the principal roles of Lead Princess in Firebird, The Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, and the Waltz Variation and Pas De Deux in Les Sylphides. She also performed featured roles in contemporary ballet works by Julia Erickson, Hannah Knor, and Durante Verzola.
When she is not dancing, Sage spends her time painting, cross training, and hiking. Sage is very excited to move to Little Rock and join Ballet Arkansas for the 2022/23 season!
Community Cast Ballet Master
Sponsored by Drs. Ashay & Ann Patel
Celeste is originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan and trained at the Grand Rapids Ballet School under Patricia Barker and Attila Mosolygo. She has attended summer programs such as San Francisco Ballet School and American Ballet Theatre New York, among others. At the age of sixteen she was invited to dance under Patricia Barker as a trainee with the Grand Rapids Ballet Company. She later went on to dance as an apprentice with the company for two seasons. Most recently, Celeste danced with Louisville Ballet’s Studio Company under Robert Curran. She has had the honor of working with choreographers such as Penny Saunders, Adam Hougland, Andrea Shermoly, Val Caniparoli, Trey McIntyre and Yoshito Sakuraba, among others. She will be attending Jacob’s Pillow contemporary ballet program for their summer 2022 festival. Celeste is so excited to join Ballet Arkansas for their 2022/23 season.
Keith Newman, a Washington DC native, was trained for 11 years at The Washington School of Ballet under the guidance of Kee Juan Han and Xiomara Reyes. During his time at the school, Keith had
the opportunity to perform in numerous ballets by the Artistic Director, Septime Webre, including world premieres of Peter Pan and ALICE (in Wonderland) as well as performing in Webre’s The Nutcracker. Keith also served as a Repetiteur for The Washington Ballet’s The Nutcracker in 2017.
For the past four years, Keith has trained at the prestigious Indiana University Ballet Theater under the direction of Sarah Wroth. In his time at Indiana University, Keith performed in Justin Peck’s In Creases, George Balanchine’s Allegro Brillante and Donizetti Variations, as the Shy Boy in Jerome Robbins' The Concert, in Antony Tudor’s Dark Elegies, and in August Bournonville’s Kermesse in Bruges.
Keith graduated from Indiana University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Ballet and an Outside Field in Arts Management. In addition to his passion for dancing, Keith has taught ballet to students through The Washington School of Ballet’s year round and summer intensive programs and through the Indiana University Pre-College Ballet Department.
Sponsored by Suzanne & Dr. Earl Babbie
Andrew is originally from Chelmsford, Massachusetts, and started training ballet under Judith Koeckoven at the age of five. He has attended summer programs at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, and the Rock School for Dance Education. While at the summer program for the Rock School, Andrew was invited to stay year-round with a full-tuition scholarship. During his time there, he trained under the director's Bo and Stephanie Spassoff as well as a variety of ballet masters and guest teachers including Telmo Moriera and Justin Allen. Andrew most recently danced at Koltun Ballet Boston under Alexandra Koltun and Alex Lapshin. He trained extensively in Vaganova and Bolshoi techniques as well as modern techniques such as Limón, Horton, and Graham. He received top 6 in the senior men's category at YAGP Boston in both the classical and contemporary categories. Throughout his years of dancing, Andrew has performed various roles in ballets including, The Nutcracker, Le Corsaire, Paquita, Swan Lake Pas de Trois, Don Quixote, Satanella, and Cinderella. Andrew is thrilled to be joining Ballet Arkansas for their 2022/23 season!
1st Season, Trainee
Sponsored by Dr. & Mrs. Edward Anson
Andrew Parson is a native of Little Rock, Arkansas. He has been dancing at Shuffles & Ballet II since he was 5 years old. Recently, he has attended summer programs including the Cecchetti Council of America Enhanced Men’s Training Program and Ballet Arkansas Summer Intensive. In the summer of 2022, he will be training at the Houston Ballet Summer Intensive before the start of the season. He has also enjoyed being a part of Ballet Arkansas’s community cast since 2011. His favorite roles include performing as the Rat King, the Young Prince, and Fritz in The Nutcracker, as well as Franz’s friend in Coppelia. Andrew is currently a junior in high school and is so excited to be joining Ballet Arkansas for their 2022/23 season!
Sponsored by Drs. Phil Kenney & Jeannette Y. Lee
Layla Terrell began dancing at age ten with Ballet Center of Fort Worth in Fort Worth, Texas, after competing as a high-level gymnast. She joined Ballet Frontier in 2014 as a Youth Company Trainee and performed in many full-length ballets and performed lead roles in The Nutcracker, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Swan Lake, and Diana and Actaeon throughout her time there. She received the bronze medal in the Star of Canaan Dance Competition in Hong Kong in 2015 along with receiving several international scholarships. She received Top 12 at YAGP Dallas in 2020/2021 along with many scholarships including the EJB Scholarship and Dance Council of North Texas Scholarship for two years. She is an NHS for Dance Arts inductee and received Honorable Mention for the 2021 NDEO Artistic Merit, Leadership, and Academic Award. She graduated high school with Abeka Academy in 2021 as valedictorian and the President’s Award for Excellence. Ms. Terrell spent the 2021/2022 season in the Professional Training Division Level 3 of Ballet West in Salt Lake City, Utah. Layla performed in the company production of the Nutcracker, as well as several Ballet West Academy productions with featured roles in Raymonda, Coppelia, and Balanchine’s Divertimento no. 15. Ms. Terrell also taught the students of the Academy for two of its campuses and is graduating in 2022 with her BA in Elementary Educational Studies from Western Governors University. Ms. Terrell could not be more excited to join Ballet Arkansas for the 22/23 season!
Kerridwyn began and completed her training at The Portland Ballet, in Portland, OR. During her summers she completed programs at Houston Ballet, School of American Ballet, and San Francisco ballet. Ms. Schanck began her professional career as an apprentice at Ballet Idaho in 2017 as an apprentice and remained there until 2019. Highlights included dancing in Swan Lake and Raymonda by Peter Anastos, Agon by George Balanchine, Ambiguous Content by Craig Davidson, Cinderella by Edward Liang, and featured roles in Peter Anastos' Nutcracker and Daniel Ojeda's A Great Unbridgeable Distance. In 2019 she joined Northwest Arkansas Ballet Theater, where she performed in multiple works choreographed by Ryan Jolicoeur-Nye, including his Cinderella. Favorite roles include Snow Queen and Arabian in Nutcracker, featured roles in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and performing a soloist role in James Vessel's Lost and Found. She also began choreographing in 2020, a highlight being Cafe of Old Dreams, which was performed at the Walton Arts Center in the spring of 2021. She is honored to be joining Ballet Arkansas, and excited to move to Little Rock!