After 5 Years of Waiting, Ballet Arkansas to Find New Home on Main Street


After 5 Years of Waiting, Ballet Arkansas to Find New Home on Main Street
Outside the Arkansas Building, which houses Ballet Arkansas, in September 2015. (Alexis Hosticka)

Five years after development began, Ballet Arkansas is finally moving into its new office and rehearsal space on Main Street Little Rock's "Creative Corridor."

The nonprofit will host a grand opening of the new studio in the Arkansas Building at 520 Main St. on Tuesday.

The studio is on the same block as Cranford Co., the Arkansas Repertory Theatre's second, "black box" venue and the still-unfinished Arkansas Symphony Orchestra office and rehearsal studio.

Ballet Arkansas General Manager Erin Anson-Ellis said Wednesday that the nonprofit has already moved its offices to the new space and rehearsals will move into the studio next week. The company is moving from 1521 Merrill Drive, a space shared with Shuffles & Ballet II.

"Really this is big for us because it's a space dedicated specifically for Ballet Arkansas," Anson-Ellis said. "We're going to be on the same train as the Rep and the symphony, and we're moving over there to get a little more visibility in the community."

The new space features one large main studio, a reception area, office space and a storage area.

Construction of key Creative Corridor properties has been dogged by delays tied to developer Scott Reed. Cranford Co., and advertising agency, decided to finish its Arkansas Building space on its own and moved in last summer.

Ballet Arkansas took matters into its own hands as well. The city of Little Rock helped, providing about $50,000 in grants to fund finishing touches, Anson-Ellis said. That included AV equipment and flooring.

"We're just really excited to be there, I can't even believe it's really happening," Anson-Ellis said.

The organization is making the move without an executive director. Ganelle Blake assumed the role in January but left Ballet Arkansas in April. Anson-Ellis said the company has since restructured the organization's hierarchy and isn't seeking an executive director "right now."

Ballet Arkansas' ribbon cutting will take place at 10:45 a.m. Tuesday with rehearsals to follow. A grand opening welcome celebration is scheduled for 6-8 p.m. with dancers, staff and board members.


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