Ballet Arkansas is the foremost professional ballet company of the State of Arkansas and a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization. Over the course of the last 42 years, Ballet Arkansas' world-class education programs and performances have touched the lives of nearly 300,000 Arkansans. Through the presentation of a vibrant and diverse repertory of classical and contemporary dance, Ballet Arkansas provides the region with bold, original programming for every taste, while making this programming accessible to all audiences.
Ballet Arkansas's roots can be traced back to the Little Rock Civic Ballet, founded in 1966 by Donald C. Cranford. Ballet Arkansas was incorporated as a non-profit organization in 1979, and the organization's Board of Directors formed the fully professional company in 2009. Ballet Arkansas began with a dream that Arkansas would someday be the home of the region’s foremost professional ballet company. Under the care of founding Artistic Director Lorraine Cranford, Ballet Arkansas established a foundation that supports the current company of 15 professional dancers. Now under the leadership of Michael and Catherine Fothergill, Ballet Arkansas is hailed as one of the most bold and innovative professional dance companies in the region.
Since its conception, Ballet Arkansas has presented performing greats such as Mikhail Baryshnikov, Rudolf Nureyev, in addition to a number of internationally celebrated dancers and companies. Today, Ballet Arkansas presents some of the most celebrated works in American dance. 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. Each year, the organization receives more than 50 choreographic submissions and auditions more than 400 dancers from across the globe. The company continues to expand its reach into communities throughout the state, reaching nearly 25,000 Arkansans annually.
Playing a role in the lives of young audiences is central to the mission of Ballet Arkansas. Working closely with educators and administrators, Ballet Arkansas provides k-12 students of diverse backgrounds with access to world-class education programs and performances year round. Performance opportunities in Ballet Arkansas' seasonal productions are provided to dancers ages 6+.
Through its many partnerships in healthcare, social services, and education, Ballet Arkansas engages children and adults in activities that reduce anxiety, instill confidence, and improve performance and general wellness. Ballet Arkansas provides on-site, in-theater, and broadcast services to thousands of Arkansans each year by way of its robust community outreach programs. Ballet Arkansas’ digital broadcasts and educational programming have reached 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