Ballet Arkansas just released its 45th annual season, and it's already set to be a big one for the troupe featuring outdoor performances, magical productions and eye-catching adventures for the whole family.
The upcoming 2023-2024 season will bring new opportunities for the troupe both on and off the stage, and serves as "our love letter to the people of Arkansas who have supported us over the past four and a half decades," executive and artistic director Michael Fothergill says.
"As we celebrate this milestone, it's important to both look back on our past and honor those who have helped us get to where we are today, and look forward to the future with excitement and optimism," Fothergill says. "We are incredibly grateful for the support we have received from our community over the years, and for the many talented individuals, both past and present, who have contributed to Ballet Arkansas' success.
"It's a privilege to be a part of an organization that has brought so much joy and beauty to the lives of so many people, and we are excited to continue to grow and evolve in the years to come."
And now, without further ado, here's the 2023-2024 season:
"Live at the Plaza"
Sept. 6-10 | Argenta Plaza
Rescheduled to the fall due to inclement weather in the spring of 2023, North Little Rock Tourism presents "Live at the Plaza," a popular series of free mixed repertory performances that make use of the plaza’s architectural features and that premieres classical excerpts and cutting-edge works.
45th Anniversary Season Opening Reception
Sept. 30 | Arkansas Repertory Theatre
The 45th Anniversary Season Opening Reception is a celebration of the organization’s artists and programming. Attendees will mingle with the artistic staff and dancers and be the first to preview world premiere choreography from "Wonderland: Alice’s Epic Adventure." Guests will also learn about updates to the organization’s beloved holiday classic "The Nutcracker Spectacular" and enjoy wine, passed hors d'oeuvres and a small auction.
"Wonderland: Alice’s Epic Adventure" (world premiere)
Oct. 12-15 | UA-PTC CHARTS
A bold reimagining of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" by Lewis Carroll, this multimedia infused production will feature dynamic projection and 360 sound, elaborate costumes and sets, world premiere choreography by Michael Fothergill and the talents of community performers. The production is filled with humor and hijinks for the whole family and is presented in partnership with Cranford Co. Additional details for Alice and Wonderland, including musical selections, will be announced over the summer.
Note: This production was originally scheduled for Oct. 19-22. All previously purchased tickets have been automatically transferred to the new dates. Contact email@example.com for any questions or assistance.
Down the Rabbit Hole Tea
Oct. 21 | UA-PTC CHARTS
Guests will join Alice, the Mad Hatter, the White Rabbit and additional costumed characters for a Wonderland-themed tea filled with fancy and frills. Attendees will experience a suite from "Wonderland: Alice’s Epic Adventure" and will have opportunities to take photos with the cast of characters and purchase themed merchandise.
"The Nutcracker Spectacular"
Dec. 8-10 | Robinson Center
"The Nutcracker Spectacular" is the largest and longest running holiday production in Arkansas, featuring live music by the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra and a cast and crew of nearly 400. Featuring the professional dancers of Ballet Arkansas and a community cast of children and adults, the production is an unforgettable celebration of the season. Performances are set to Tchaikovsky’s paramount score, and this year’s production will feature special guests, including Santa, and updates to the choreography and costumes. Ballet Arkansas’ official Nutcracker Boutique in the lobby will be open one hour prior to each public performance, and patrons may take advantage of photo opportunities with Santa, the Nutcracker, Sugar Plum Fairy and other costumed characters. Clement Clarke Moore’s "The Night Before Christmas" will be read by Santa from the stage at intermission of each performance.
Land of the Sweets Nutcracker Tea
Dec. 8-10 | Robinson Center
The Land of the Sweets Nutcracker Tea is one of Little Rock’s most anticipated holiday events. Guests will be transported to the Land of the Sweets where they’ll enjoy teatime, activities, a storybook reading and an exclusive performance from Clara, the Sugar Plum Fairy and characters from the 45th anniversary "Nutcracker Spectacular." Perfect for families, the Nutcracker Tea is a magical experience unlike any other. (Tickets go on sale Sept. 1 at noon and typically sell out the same day.)
Feb. 16-18 | Robinson Center
The world’s most iconic classical ballet comes to Robinson this February. Set to Tchaikovsky’s magical score, Ballet Arkansas will present a vibrant production of Marius Petipa’s timeless classic featuring stunning costumes and sets and a community cast of children and adults.
Bowties & Ballerinas: 45th Anniversary Turning Pointe Gala
Date & location TBA June 1
A capital city bash in celebration of Ballet Arkansas, the 45th anniversary Turning Pointe Gala is the organization’s premiere annual fundraiser supporting its artists, programming and community outreach and education initiatives throughout the state. Contact Ballet Arkansas at firstname.lastname@example.org to sponsor the event.
May 2-5 | Location TBA
Presented by the Stella Boyle Smith Trust, "Bravo" features an eclectic array of celebrated works of classical and contemporary dance presented with live music by esteemed musicians. This concert is the highlight of the 2023-2024 season.
"Snow White" (Ballet Arkansas Children’s Series)
May 11-12 | UA-PTC CHARTS
Designed for young children and their families, this interactive performance features guided participation, vivid multimedia projection, storytelling and singing. The Mother’s Day performance will feature themed sweets in the lobby, photo opportunities and flowers. Additional details for Snow White, including musical selections, will be announced over the summer.
Motion on Main Studio Series
Dates TBA June 1
Guests will be invited into the studio to experience intimate previews of upcoming productions, new works and artistic talkbacks with the organization’s dancers, staff and choreographers. Limited occupancy, reservations required. Free.
(Show descriptions provided by Ballet Arkansas.)
And the programming doesn't stop there. Additional activities include Back the Ballet Day on June 16, expanded dance education programs, the return of the Taste & See series all season and a full lineup of yet-to-be-announced special events surrounding "Swan Lake." Plus, Ballet Arkansas will host community cast auditions for "The Nutcracker Spectacular," "Wonderland" and "Swan Lake."
The troupe wraps up its current season this weekend at the Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts with "New Works," a production premiering choreography inspired by pieces in AMFA's permanent collection. More on that here.
Tickets and subscriptions to the 2023-2024 season go on sale this summer with in-person and digital options. To learn more, visit the Ballet Arkansas website, and follow along on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for updates.
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