Ava began her dance training at the age of ten in Seattle, Washington at Evergreen City Ballet under the careful direction of Kevin Kaiser and Louise Nadeau. In 2014 Ava was accepted into the School of Ballet Arizona, where she spent two years in Ballet Arizona’s Studio Company under the leadership of Carlos Valcárcel. Ava was then hired by Ballet Arizona’s professional company in 2016 under the direction of Ib Andersen. During her time there, she had the opportunity to perform in many critically acclaimed ballets such as George Balanchine’s Square Dance and Western Symphony, and the U.S premier of the classic August Bournonville ballet, Napoli. Additionally, she performed in world premieres by choreographers such as Ib Andersen and Nayon Iovino. This is Ava’s first season with NWA Ballet Theatre and she is thrilled to share with audiences her passion for dance.
get to know the dancer
1. What do you like to do outside of dance (hobbies, interests, etc.)?
I adore getting outside and exploring. When its warm you’ll often find me out hiking or at the dog park with my dog! I love live music, so I go to a lot of concerts. Besides that, I love reading and teaching. It is such a treasured thing to teach young dancers the technique and tradition behind this art form I love!
2. What is your favorite role that you have performed? Have not performed?
Oh, this is tricky! I loved performing both Odile from Swan Lake and Giamatti from Bayadere. Both of these are “evil” characters, which is a wonderful acting challenge. George Balanchine’s square dance is my favorite dance I’ve performed as a ballet dancer. It’s the ultimate challenge, physically! It’s essentially 25 minutes of petit allegro. As a dream role I would love to play Giselle.
3. What are some of your indulgences?
All things dark chocolate…or even better dark chocolate and coffee! I also love going out for breakfast with friends on the weekends.
4. Do you have any pre-performance rituals?
I’ve never been one for pre-show tradition, but I love the process of putting on my headphones, turning on some of my favorite music (often times it ends up being Hillsong or Bethel Music) and carefully applying my makeup and pinning in my hairpiece. It calms my nerves.
5. If you weren’t a dancer, what would you be?
I’ve often pondered that and explored different ideas. I would love to be a nutritional therapist for dancers or in a job that would all me to travel to a lot of places.
6. Do you remember the first ballet you ever saw? What was it and how did it affect you?
I grew up watching Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle. I got to see lots of art. I vividly remember two shows; one was Swan Lake when I was seven. It moved me to tears and ballet became more than something fun, it became a dream and a passion. The second show was a contemporary triple bill and it introduced a whole new world of dance to me.
7. How do you spend your summer breaks?
Last summer, I spent several weeks in Zambia serving in villages. That was amazing! Being able to help out and share hope with the people there was a remarkable experience. Summer breaks include travel, staying in shape with dance classes, teaching, and road trips.
8. If I could visit any country in the world it would be….
I would love to go to New Zealand, or somewhere with a lot of history, like Greece. I love seeing old ruins that you’ve read about in history books.
9. What does Northwest Arkansas mean to you? Why is it special?
It’s been a fresh start. I grew up in Alabama so its been great living back toward the south. I also just love the community here. Though its growing, you still have a small-town feel.
10. What are three things people might not know about you?
When I was young, I lived in Italy.
I am roommates with a fellow company member, Ruby Mather!
As a dancer we have lots of injuries. When I was 14, I broke my back which stopped my training in its tracks, but I made a full recovery and can dance today!
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. .