Do South Cares
Western Arkansas Ballet
The mission of Western Arkansas Ballet is “to create a community dedicated to the fine arts through quality dance education, training, and performance.” Do South reached out to Melissa Schoenfeld, Executive Artistic Director, to learn more.
DS: How did Western Arkansas Ballet come to be?
Western Arkansas Ballet was founded July 23, 1979, as the Fort Smith Civic Ballet and reorganized in August 1985 under the present logo and code of ethics.
DS: Who does Western Arkansas Ballet serve and in what ways?
Western Arkansas Ballet (WAB) is a dance academy and pre-professional company offering dance training for ages three through adult. Classes offered include Ballet, Pointe, Modern, Tap, Jazz, Progressing Ballet Technique, and Hip Hop. WAB Company is a member of Regional Dance America, which gives them the opportunity to have their work adjudicated annually and attend an annual regional festival to take classes from renowned faculty from across the nation. WAB performs two full-length ballets each season, providing unique performance opportunities for not only our Company and Academy dancers, but also for other local youth and adults.
DS: How does Western Arkansas Ballet impact our community?
As a part of our mission to bring quality dance education to the community, WAB has developed and implemented many community outreach programs. In addition to teaching Academy classes, our instructors teach classes for the Fort Smith Girls, Inc. summer program. Our faculty is part of the Arts at Bost program that provides dance education to children and adults with developmental and related disabilities. We are excited about a newly developed partnership with the innovative programs at the Wellness Center at the Arkansas Colleges of Health Education.
DS: What is something we may not know about Western Arkansas Ballet?
In addition to our unique outreach and educational program, WAB is the only dance organization in the area with membership in Regional Dance America; the only dance organization in the area to receive annual support from the Arkansas Arts Council; and the only nonprofit dance academy and regional company in the area, and the only local studio to put on performances for the community. WAB provides scholarship opportunities that help make dance education attainable to those who might not otherwise be able to afford it.
DS: Are there upcoming performances or classes we should know about?
Our Academy registration is open through February 17. We invite the community to join us for our 37th annual production of The Nutcracker on December 17 & 18 at the ArcBest Performing Arts Center. This timeless ballet features a cast of over 100 local youth and adults and we are thrilled to be welcoming Ashley Murphy-Wilson and Nicholas Cowden from The Washington Ballet to dance the roles of Sugar Plum Fairy and her caviler. Our spring ballet, Sleeping Beauty will be performed April 21-23, 2023 at the King Opera House in Van Buren. Visit our website www.waballet.org or call 479-785-0152 to register for classes, purchase tickets to performances or fundraisers and to learn more about WAB.
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