NWA Ballet Theatre Brings New Programs to the Community

NWA Ballet Theatre will provide audience-accessible performances and generate national recognition.

BENTONVILLE, ARK— February 25, 2019 — NWA Ballet Theatre announced today Dance Anywhere/Everywhere, a dance initiative set to launch in Spring 2019. The program will include outdoor and theater performances, a series of creative events for young children, as well as social and awareness events connecting artists with community. This project is funded in part by a $105,825 Walton Family Foundation grant.  Events include:

Dance Beat -   a public art project taking dance outside the theater and into Northwest Arkansas’ scenic outdoor and urban spaces with pop-up, public art performances.

Once Upon a Dance - an accessible library-based reading and dancing program introducing dance as art form, involving little ones in storytelling and see-and-do activities. 

Faces - an up-close and behind the scenes look at how dance is made including how dancers train, rehearse, and work.  A social way to meet creative artists and people who support dance arts for Northwest Arkansas. 

NEXT - a mixed repertory performance showcasing innovative works by up and coming choreographers from around the country, NWABT’s Artistic Director Ryan Jolicoeur-Nye, NEXT reflects the diversity and evolution of classical ballet through the contemporary lens of today’s dance-makers.  Tickets on Sale in April.

NWA Ballet Theatre, the region’s premiere professional ballet company, announced the project designed to build a culture of “classically contemporary” dance in Northwest Arkansas, which will begin to link communities, boost visibility, and build capacity for dance to flourish in Northwest Arkansas.

 “We are excited to launch this project,” said Jolicoeur-Nye. “It has been our vision to develop a professional dance company that presents creative and inspiring dance, contributes artists to the cultural fabric of the region, and explores innovation in both organizational and program development. With this opportunity comes great responsibility to reach a diverse audience, to make dance inclusive and accessible to all, and to enrich the lives of the people we serve. We cannot wait to see dance flourish alongside the already thriving arts scene in Northwest Arkansas."

The Dance Anywhere/Everywhere project will begin to position NWA Ballet Theatre as the region’s preeminent dance company and destination for professional dancers, attracting a diverse company to reflect the changing population of the region.

A full schedule of events will be released soon, and can be found online at

About NWA Ballet Theatre

Founded in 2011, by Margie Bordovsky, Mariah Bordovsky, and the late Peggie Wallis, NWA Ballet Theatre seeks to provide valuable artistic opportunities and experiences to enrich the creative vitality of the region. The mission of NWABT is to inspire a lasting love and appreciation for the art of ballet by combining artistic excellence in dance with innovative choreography, which result in exhilarating performances that accent the dignity and grace of the dancers.  For more information, visit

About Ryan Jolicoeur-Nye, Artistic Director

Jolicoeur-Nye joined NWA Ballet Theater in 2016 with a vision to lead a forward-thinking ballet company that would be a vehicle for developing artists to thrive and mature collectively, showcase a diverse range of talent, bring contemporary choreography to the stage, and collaborate with the rising arts community. As director of NWA Ballet Theatre, Jolicoeur-Nye draws on his considerable expertise in ballet training and dance administration with the intent to create an exciting and vibrant artistic platform for dance.   In his short time in NWA, he has already shown an ability to recruit experienced dancers, build momentum for a professional company and champion the artistic integrity of the company.  A professional dancer since 2005, he first worked in Canada with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet.  He has worked as a principal and soloist undertaking roles with the Banff Summer Arts Festival, Festival Ballet of Providence, Eugene Ballet and Ballet Idaho where he was promoted to principal dancer in 2011.  He joined Kansas City Ballet in 2012 and continued as a guest artist with companies around North America including Oklahoma City Ballet and Boise Dance Co-op. In 2017, he became Second Company Manager for Kansas City Ballet, training and developing emergent professional dancers.  He has worked with world-renowned choreographers and created dances that have been performed by many companies including Kansas City Ballet, Chicago Repertory Ballet and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School. He has also choreographed on dancers from Tulsa Ballet, Alberta Ballet, Richmond Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, Miami City Ballet and the Finnish National Ballet.  His work has been presented all across the U.S. and Canada and most recently Niigata, Japan. 







Wow! Nutcracker was amazing this year and we loved performing with the 146 students and actors around the region in this professionally staged show produced by The NWA Conservatory in Bentonville. Ava was our beautiful Snow Queen with visiting dancer Justin Hughes from Ballet Idaho, Mariah was the enchanting Dew Drop Fairy, Lilly and our Artistic Director performed a very beautiful Arabian dance, Ruby spiced things up with her Spanish Chocolate, and our apprentice, Bella, did an excellent job as Clara. Our sweet Anna Fendley unfortunately broke her foot two weeks before the show, but Ava stepped in and learned her part. Thankfully, the doctors think she will be up and dancing again in a few weeks!!! The Conservatory says they will be adding an extra performance time next year since the Arend Arts Center, the school, and the Guild were overwhelmed with people calling to ask for tickets to our already sold out shows. Lesson: BUY YOUR TICKETS WHEN THEY GO ON SALE IN OCTOBER!!!

The ladies are heading to their respective homes for Christmas, but Ruby and Ava have a special New Year’s workshop planned for students in the region! Here are the details:

Friday Conditioning 4-4:40 Ballet/Modern 4:45-6:15 Modern/Ballet 6:30-8

Saturday Conditioning 10-10:40 Ballet/Modern 10:45-12:15 Modern/Ballet 12:45-2:15 Variations/Choreography 2:15-3

Pricing: $200 for the 2-day workshop $120 for 1 day of the workshop $30 for individual classes Payment accepted in advance or day of

Contact us to reserve your spot!, 479•553•7400

WHERE? 3111 SE J St. Bentonville, AR 72712

Ava Cobb: 2 years in Ballet Arizona’s Professional Company and Company dancer with NWA Ballet Theatre

Ruby Mather: BFA in Ballet Performance from the University of Oklahoma and Company dancer with NWA Ballet Theatre

WHEN? Friday, Jan. 4th 4pm – 8pm Saturday, Jan. 5th 10am – 3pm Ages 8+


Looking forward to the coming events this spring. We will keep you posted!


New season news!


New season news!

So much is going on! First, we welcome new dancers to our company. Ava Cobb comes to us from Ballet Arizona, Lilly Hill left the beaches of south Florida, and we scooped Ruby Mather up fresh out of completing her degree with University of Oklahoma. We have new apprentices this year, too! Sydney Driscoll (Missouri) and Shayla Winkel (Bentonville) join returning apprentices Bella Saclolo, Esther Gowin, and Harley Crabb.

Ryan is busy in the studio setting innovative new works and meeting lots of ballet fans in the area. We have an in-studio OPEN REHEARSAL coming up November 9 called FACES. This is a chance to see the dancers at work and then meet them face to face at a small reception afterward.

THE NUTCRACKER this year should NOT BE MISSED! Not only do we get to share the stage with 140 of the region’s best dance students, but we also will be dancing with some amazing professionals from other companies in the country!

Our own Ava Cobb will be dancing SNOW QUEEN with Justin Hughes from Ballet Idaho who is playing the part of SNOW KING. Justin will also be dancing lead in the RUSSIAN dance this year and we’ve heard it is pretty awesome!

Justin Rainey of Oklahoma Festival Ballet will be back as our Nutcracker Prince. We always welcome Justin back to his hometown!

Now for the icing on the cake, two dancers from American Ballet Theatre (ABT) will perform the roles of Sugar Plum Fairy and Cavalier. For those who are not up on their ballet savvy, ABT is the national ballet of the USA. It is the home of Misty Copeland, and former home of Mikhail Baryshnikov.

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Meet Elina Miettinen

Elina was born in the Soviet Union to a Russian mother and a Finnish father. As a little girl she immigrated with her family to Finland and began taking dance lessons in Helsinki. She was soon accepted to be a full-time student at the Helsinki Dance Institute and ballet became her main focus in life.

In 2005 Elina was recognized as a young promising dancer in Finland and was awarded a Pro Dance Scholarship. She completed her ballet studies by spending a year training in Amsterdam and taking summer courses in Paris, Cannes and Copenhagen.

Elina attended numerous high profile ballet competitions in Helsinki (Finland), Mora (Sweden), Grasse (France) and New York (USA). Her performance in New York led her into signing a contract with the American Ballet Theatre as the first ballerina from Finland. After dancing with the Finnish National Ballet for two seasons Elina moved to New York in 2008 to begin her career with ABT.

Elina has performed in many continents around the globe, including Asia, Europe, Australia as well as North America. She has made guest appearances in several Nutcrackers and was invited to perform at the International Ballet Gala of Lappeenranta in Finland.

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Meet Sean Stewart

After performing in musical theater productions as a child, Sean Stewart began his study of jazz dance and tap with Lisa Clark at the age of 10. He began studying ballet two years later with Yanina Cywinska and was a professional ballet dancer by the age of 14, having joined the Joffrey II Dancers in New York under the direction of Jeremy Blanton and Gage Bush Englund. He studied for a year at the Paris Opera Ballet School before joining American Ballet Theatre. Sean performed many roles with ABT including Lankendem and Birbanto in Le Corsaire, Benno in Swan Lake, Benvolio in Romeo and Juliet, the Nutcracker Prince in The Nutcracker, Hortensio in Taming of the Shrew, as well as featured roles in modern and contemporary works by Merce Cunningham, Mark Morris, Twyla Tharp, Christopher Wheeldon, Alexei Ratmansky, Nacho Duato, Lar Lubovitch, Christian Holder, Lauri Stallings, Aszure Barton, Benjamin Millepied and Stanton Welch among many others. He has performed with Lar Lubovitch's company, as well as Complexions, and originated a role in The Times, They Are A' Changin', a musical play directed and choreographed by Twyla Tharp. Sean performed as a dance double for the character of Sergei in the film Center Stage. Sean has taught ballet at Peridance in NYC as well as at various schools around the country.




Want to dance innovative choreography in the fastest growing arts center in the country? Ballet Theatre is looking for FOUR MALES and THREE FEMALES for the 2018/2019 season.  Dancers must be at least 18 years of age, advanced training in classical and contemporary.  Must have USA citizenship or a working visa established.  

OPEN AUDITION -  Saturday, March 24, from 2:00 - 3:30. Audition will be held at The NWA Conservatory located at 3111 S.E.  J Street in Bentonville, Arkansas.  If you plan on coming to the audition, please pre-register by emailing the following information to  Your resume/CV which includes height, birth date, and citizenship, headshot, and a first arabesque photo. Video links are encouraged and should include classroom center work and performance work in both classical and contemporary.  Please arrive to the audition by 1:30 in order to process the $20 audition fee.  If you are interested in auditioning, but cannot attend the audition, you can send your information and we will review your submission and issue an invitation to attend a company class audition at a later date.  



Ballet News

It's officially announced! Join us in welcoming Ryan T. Jolicoeur-Nye as our first Artistic Director.  Read our press release:

Bentonville, AR (October 14, 2017) — Margie C. Bordovsky, Founder and President of the NWA Ballet Theatre Board of Directors, announced today that Ryan T. Jolicoeur-Nye has been selected as the Artistic Director of NWA Ballet Theatre, the region’s premiere professional ballet company.  
NWA Ballet Theatre, a 501(c)(3) not-profit entity, was established in 2011 by Margie Bordovsky, Mariah Bordovsky, and the late Peggie Wallis to offer professional quality performances locally without residents having to travel several hours away. Since its founding, Margie Bordovsky’s passion and creative energy guided and shaped the development of NWA Ballet Theatre, along with the invaluable talents of Emalie Coen, but she knew a talented Artistic Director would be needed to fulfill the long-term vision for the company. Mrs. Bordovsky stated, “We’ve had success doing projects with the Arkansas Philharmonic Orchestra (Carnival of the Animals and the Carnegie Hall Education Series), MasterSeries performances of Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella, as well as our outreach programs, but I knew we had to find an innovative ballet professional to take us to the next level.   To guide this search, our Board of Director’s established very high standards for this position.  Aside from extensive experience dancing with a major ballet company, the candidate needed the skills to engage and coach contracted dancers, manage productions, choreograph, and properly reflect the professional image and core values of the company.  From the beginning, we felt it was important to ensure all NWA Ballet Theatre projects would remain appropriate for families, so we sought a candidate who could produce new dynamic works, as well as the ballet classics, while sharing our values and high standards. Ryan wonderfully fulfills all of our requirements and we feel very fortunate to have someone of his caliber lead NWA Ballet Theatre into the spotlight.”  
Mr. Jolicoeur-Nye is originally from central Maine and began his training at the age of 16. After a year of studying under renowned Kirov dancer, Andrei Bossov, he joined the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s Professional Division on full scholarship. During his time in Winnipeg, Ryan had the opportunity to work with many international choreographers as well as create three of his own works. While still a student, he danced several performances the with company, including soloist roles in The Nutcracker. Upon graduating from RWB, Ryan was asked to attend the Banff Summer Arts Festival where he performed the principal role in Fernand Nault’s Carmina Burana. Ryan would go on to dance for Festival Ballet of Providence, Eugene Ballet, and Ballet Idaho where he was promoted to Principal dancer in 2011. In 2012, Ryan joined Kansas City Ballet where he danced several principal roles, including Jerome Robbin’s Fancy Free, Septime Webre’s Alice in Wonderland, Michael Pinks Dracula, as well as Devon Carney’s Swan Lake, Giselle and The Nutcracker. Ryan has performed as a guest artist with Oklahoma City Ballet, Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Boise Dance Co-op, and Festival Ballet of Providence. He has performed works by choreographers such as George Balanchine, Vicente Nebrada, Devon Carney, Hans Van Manen, Rudi Van Dantzig, Mark Godden, John Neumeier, Helen Pickett, Yuri Possokhov, Jorden Morris, Ma Cong, Viktor Plotnikov, Robert Mills and many more. 

As a choreographer, he has created ballets for Ballet Idaho, Kansas City Ballet, Royal Winnipeg Ballet School, and the Kansas City Dance Festival. He has also had his work performed by dancers from companies all across the U.S. and Europe including Alberta Ballet, Miami City Ballet, Richmond Ballet, Tulsa Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, Kansas City Ballet, and the Finnish National Ballet. Ryan’s work has been presented on stage alongside choreographers such as Christopher Wheeldon, George Balanchine, Marco Goecke, Ma Cong, Mathew Neenan, Garrett Smith, Davide Bombana and Douglas Lee. Recently, Ryan was named “Outstanding Choreographer” at the 2017 Youth American Grand Prix where he was recognized for his Kansas City Ballet School piece, Concerto 21. His choreography has been featured in KC Studio magazine and was recently performed by Niigata Ballet (Japan). In February 2017, his solo The Painter, was presented at the alumni gala for The Harid Conservatory. In addition to his role with NWA Ballet Theatre, Ryan will be serving as second company manager with Kansas City Ballet. 
Bordovsky began talks with Jolicoeur-Nye in June and then invited him to visit the area and interview with the Board of Directors. By the first week of August an agreement was made. " I am thrilled to accept the position of Artistic Director for NWA Ballet Theatre, a company centered around a wonderful community,” says JolicoeurNye, “It has always been a dream of mine to become an Artistic Director and I can't think of a better place to begin that voyage. This is a position that comes with great responsibility and one that I take very seriously. As the company looks to the future I am dedicated to expanding the reach of NWA Ballet Theatre, to the entire northwest region of Arkansas, from our company performances to our educational outreach programs. It is my goal to create and foster a world-class ballet company for the people of our community, spreading my love and passion of the arts to all. " I am stepping into a wonderful organization full of passionate and devoted ambassadors for the community and I look forward to mirroring that devotion. I plan to serve Northwest Arkansas with diligence and virtue in all that NWA Ballet Theatre has to offer." 
The NWA Ballet Theatre organization hopes the community will join in Jolicoeur-Nye’s enthusiasm and become passionate ballet patrons. Those who are interested in volunteering or want to become private or corporate sponsors can visit NWA Ballet Theatre’s website at for information on becoming part of The Barre Society (guild) or a Friend of the Ballet.  “There are so many ways to be a part of this magic,” says Bordovsky, “and we are right here in your own backyard, Northwest Arkansas!”  
Ryan Jolicoeur-Nye is married to Rachael Nye, a former principal ballet dancer and Day Program Principal at Kansas City Ballet. They have two children, Amelie and Isaac. 
NWA Ballet Theatre will be performing as guest artists for The Nutcracker produced by NWA Conservatory of Classical Ballet on December 2 and 3 at The Arend Arts Center. To purchase tickets, you can go online to