Anna is a Northwest Arkansas native who began her training in ballet at the age of seven under the tutelage of Peggie Wallis, member of the Royal Academy of Dance, London. Wallis, originally from New Zealand, traveled the world as an adult, gaining experience and connections in the ballet world. Anna studied classical ballet with Wallis for 12 years. During that time, she completed the Royal Academy of Dance Major Examinations, passing all but the first one with Distinction, the highest possible grade, thus earning ARAD (Associate of the Royal Academy of Dance) after passing the Advanced 2 exam. She also completed levels 5-12 of the American Academy of Ballet Awards, directed by Mignon Furman, passing all the levels with Gold and Gold with Distinction. She was also awarded a scholarship from Mrs. Furman for her exceptional performance of levels 10 and 11.
Her favorite roles include Dew Drop Fairy in the Nutcracker, and the Dying Swan in Carnival of the Animals. In addition, she has performed with a Latvian Orchestra with the Messiah Project, with the NWA Youth Symphony Orchestra, with the Arkansas Philharmonic Orchestra, and at various local churches and venues. As a student, she attended various summer intensives such as Storling Dance Theatre - The Culture House, Ad Deum Dance Company, Ballet Magnificat!, and Texas Ballet Theater. She received a scholarship to attend the summer Texas Ballet Theater intensive for three weeks, where she studied under Ben Stevenson, Kathryn Warakomsky, Li Anlin, Anna Donovan, and Tim O' Keefe. Anna has also received instruction on multiple occasions from Philip Pegler Burnham, Royal Academy of Dance Vocational Examiner and former faculty member of the Elmhurst School of Dance, the official school of the Birmingham Royal Ballet in England. Anna continued her dance experience in college, co-directing the Great Abandon Dance Ministry from 2008-2011 at John Brown University while earning her bachelor’s degree in Exercise Studies. She was a contracted dancer with a local dance group, Pineapple Tree Dance Co., for two years, and in 2009 started her own ballet studio, Joy of Motion Dance Studio located in Siloam Springs, AR. She is currently in her second season with the NWA Ballet Theatre. Anna and her husband, Darryl, are the proud parents of their son.
get to know the dancers
1: What do you like to do outside of dance (hobbies, interests)?
I enjoy swing dancing (Lindy Hop), hiking, biking, traveling, photography, and finding one-of-a-kind coffee shops wherever I go.
2: What is your favorite role that you have performed? Have not performed?
Favorite role that I have performed is Dew Drop Fairy. I would love to perform Odette/Odile someday. Non-classical roles would be anything choreographed by Ma Cong, Jiri Kylian, or Justin Peck.
3: What are some of your indulgences?
Chocolate, coffee, baking pies or cookies and eating them, traveling.
4: Do you have any pre-performance rituals?
Not really. I do like to listen to upbeat music to get my energy and positivity going!
5: If you weren't a dancer, what would you be?
A personal trainer or physical therapist, or a bakery/coffee shop owner, and a traveling Lindy-Hop instructor in my free time.
6: Do you remember the first ballet you ever saw, what was it and how did it affect you?
The first professional ballet company I saw was Tulsa Ballet’s Swan Lake. I was in awe of the beautiful costumes, the live orchestra, the dancing.—it was all so magical that I knew I wanted to be a professional ballet dancer!
7: How do you spend your summer breaks?
Usually traveling somewhere for a little vacation, and then spend time planning for another year of running a studio.
8: If I could visit any country in the world it would be...
New Zealand—I’m a huge Lord of the Rings fan (which was filmed there), and the scenery there is absolutely breath-taking. I’ve been to Ireland, but not England or Scotland, so those are also at the top of my list. Also, I would love to go back to Switzerland. The Swiss Alps were incredible and I could just spend a month hiking and biking and soaking in the views and eating fondue.
9: What does Northwest Arkansas mean to you? Why is it special?
NWA is my home. I have never lived anywhere else, but having traveled to multiple countries outside the US, there is something unique here in the culture of friendliness, the beauty of the landscape, and the increasing opportunities for new businesses and jobs, and the diversity of ethnic groups that live here. It’s an incredibly peaceful, yet thriving and energetic place to live. There are not only great opportunities to be involved in the world of the arts or business, but there are incredible places to hike, walk, and be out in nature! It’s like the best of everything…lots of things to do, but not a crazy amount of traffic or the invisible “big city” feel. You can go places where you will see people you know, but there’s also plenty of ways to meet new people and not have everyone know who you are.
10: What are three things people might now know about you?
I’m an extroverted introvert…I like being around people most of the time, but I’m not very talkative and don’t like being the center of attention. I don’t really swim, but I love hanging out near water, such as the lake or the beach, or even a creek. I really enjoy sewing and sometimes dream of designing my own clothing or leotard/costume line.
Creating beautiful performances that will thrill audiences is every dancers dream. It takes them many years of training, long hours in rehearsals, and a lot of pointe shoes and performance wear.
NWA Ballet Theatre invites you to help keep our dancers on their toes by taking part in our Adopt-a-Dancer program.
All you have to do is choose a dancer (or type in “most in need”) and your donation will go directly to assisting their various performance needs.
Help our dancers realize their dreams -- join our Adopt-a-Dancer program today. .