The life of a professional ballet dancer is one of a very full schedule! This season in particular has been very busy for me, but it has also been the most fulfilling by far. I am a dancer, a teacher, and a director. As a dancer for Ballet Arkansas, I take class and rehearse Monday through Friday every week. Our day starts at 10am with an hour long company class to get warmed up and hone in on our technique. After class, we rehearse multiple pieces for the upcoming performances we have. Currently we are working on Tour de Force, our new Winter Concert Series coming up in February. We are presenting four completely different works, ranging from very classical ballet, to Balanchine Repertoire, to contemporary works by Artistic Director Michael Fothergill and Resident Choreographer Kiyon Gaines. It is so fun to be able to do a full range of work in one show, and it really shows the strength and versatility of our company. We are also working on our Children’s Series, Benjamin Britten’s “Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra” which will be presented in February as well. As the dancers we get to portray different instruments in a full orchestra, to show how their music sounds with our bodies. It is a great piece for family to watch music literally come to life!
In addition to dancing, I am a teacher at Blackbird Academy of Arts in Conway, Arkansas. There I teach ballet, pointe, and contemporary four days a week to a wonderful group of students who are hungry to learn. This is my third year teaching at Blackbird, and it has been such a great experience watching these students take in everything I have to give them and becoming artists! I have also taken on a new role at Blackbird; Director. Every year our studio performs a different story ballet, and this year fellow company member Paul Tillman and I have taken on the roles of Co-Director and Co-Choreographer of the production Peter Pan. We have been working tirelessly since August rehearsing, building sets, designing and creating costumes, and working on stage design to bring the whole show together. It is extra special because we get to work with our colleagues at Ballet Arkansas in a different capacity. Our students get to work with Toby Lewellen, who is a very entertaining Captain Hook. We also have Hannah Bradshaw designing our beautiful costumes, and Lynsie Ogden working as our Stage Manager and Lighting Designer to help us transport the audience to Neverland. We are so fortunate to have such talented friends!
On top of all of that, I just got engaged to Paul Tillman on Christmas morning! We are very excited to spend the rest of our lives together continuing to dance, teach, direct, and whatever else comes our way. But for now, we have a wedding to plan!