Seven Rehearsal Days. Four Choreographers. One Performance.
Ballet Arkansas presents the third annual Visions Choreographic Competition on August 20 at 7 p.m. at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s Center for Performing Arts University Theater. Dozens of emerging choreographers from around the country and Europe competed for four spots in this year’s competition. The selected choreographers include: Caroline MacDonald from Portland, Oregon, who is also a current company artist and choreographer with Nevada Ballet Theatre; McCree O’Kelley, a dance educator and choreographer with performing credits with the Atlanta Ballet, the Metropolitan Opera Ballet, and the Broadway National Tour of Cats as Mr. Mistoffelees; Jimmy Orrante, a 2005 recipient of the Princess Grace Choreography Award, who is currently in his 19th season with BalletMet, Columbus, Ohio; and, Sanjay Saverimuttu from Boca Raton, Florida, in his fifth season as a company dancer with Louisville Ballet.
This year’s Visions winner will be selected in part by guest judge, Robert Hill, Artistic Director of the Orlando Ballet. Mr. Hill has been a principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre, The Royal Ballet, and the New York City Ballet. Mr. Hill will be joined by two other judges from the local arts community, along with members of the audience.
One week before the competition, each of the four selected choreographers will cast their work through a “draft” of dancers and have a total of only 13 rehearsal hours over seven days to choreograph their piece. The night of the competition, each of the works will be performed before three judges from the local and national performing arts community, and the audience that serves as the 4th judge. The winner receives a contract with Ballet Arkansas to expand their choreography and have it produced and performed in Ballet Arkansas’ spring show.
Visions was established by Ballet Arkansas Artistic Director Michael Bearden, who wanted to create a program that would offer emerging choreographers the opportunity to display their work and provide Ballet Arkansas company dancers broader exposure to new works and choreographers. At the same time, he intended for Visions to be an inspirational and interactive experience for Arkansas audiences and the dance community.
Tickets to the performance may be purchased on the Ballet Arkansas website or by calling (501) 223-5150.