Ballet Arkansas' roots can be traced back to the Little Rock Civic Ballet, founded in 1966 by Donald C. Cranford. The organization was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in 1979 with a dream to become the region's foremost professional ballet company, and over the course of the next 43 years, Ballet Arkansas' world-class education programs and performances would touch the lives of nearly 400,000 Arkansans.
Ballet Arkansas has presented performing greats such as Mikhail Baryshnikov, Rudolf Nureyev, in addition to a number of internationally celebrated dancers and companies. The company's expansive repertoire includes works by George Balanchine, Agnes De Mille, Gerald Arpino, Christopher Wheeldon, Ma Cong, Val Caniparoli, Jimmy Orante, Darrell Moultrie, Kiyon Gaines, Alice Klock, Forian Lochner, Madison Hicks, Mariana Oliveira, and Yoshito Sakuraba, and classical works by Marius Petipa, August Bournonville, Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot, Kenneth Macmillan, Mikhail Fokine, and Leonide Massine, among many others.
Today, Ballet Arkansas is under the direction of Michael and Catherine Fothergill, and is hailed as one of the preeminent producers of professional dance programming in the region. Ballet Arkansas presents a vibrant and diverse repertory of some of the most celebrated works of classical and contemporary dance, and new works by some of the world's most visionary dance makers.
Playing a role in the lives of young audiences is central to the mission of Ballet Arkansas. The organization presents year round educational opportunities for k-12 students of diverse backgrounds to train in the art of dance and perform within Ballet Arkansas' seasonal productions as a member of the community cast. A pillar of the Arkansas arts community, the organization provides creative resources to dance educators, and to students interested in pursuing a career in the performing arts.
Through its many partnerships in healthcare, social services, and education, Ballet Arkansas engages children and adults in activities that reduce anxiety, instill confidence, and enhance wellness. The organization provides on-site, in-theater, and broadcast services experiences of all kinds to the public, that reach tens of thousands of Arkansans each year. Its popular digital broadcasts have reached audiences in all 50 states and 21 countries.
Provide world-class diverse innovative dance programming and education to Arkansas and beyond.
To present an eclectic, innovative, and culturally enriching repertory of world-class professional dance performances throughout the region, while enhancing the public's perception of dance. To provide high quality dance education programs that inspire children and adults, while creating a foundation for students with professional aspirations to succeed in the profession of dance. To create opportunities for our community to come together for shared experiences by way of these endeavors.
To be responsive to the programming needs of our community and to provide opportunities for community involvement in our productions
To work with community and artistic partners to broaden the impact of our objectives
To balance risk with caution when making decisions that impact our operations and the community
To provide high quality dance education programs to the public, serving students of all ages and backgrounds
To be transparent with our audiences, donors, and employees about our operations, activities, and aspirations
To make our diverse performances and education programs accessible to all Arkansans
To take responsibility for our successes and failures, learning from both along the way
To continue to pioneer new methods to engage our audiences and enhance the audience experience
To continue to evolve with the times, staying relevant to our community