A native of Northwest Arkansas, Mariah began her classical ballet studies at the age of seven under the instruction of Ms. Peggie Wallis, a Registered Teacher of London's Royal Academy of Dance for almost 70 years. In her career she has received Gold and Gold with Distinction medals from American Academy of Ballet Performance Awards, has achieved all five of London's Royal Academy of Dance International Vocational Examinations with High Merits and Distinctions and qualified for the Genee International Ballet Competition. She has previously performed in The Nutcracker as Sugar Plum Fairy, Dew Drop Fairy, and Snow Queen. She especially enjoyed performing Drawn to One, a pas choreographed by Krista King Dougherty, for Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. In 2014, Mariah completed The Certificate of Ballet Teaching Studies program through London’s Royal Academy and has achieved Registered Teacher status. As co-owner of The NWA Conservatory of Classical Ballet, Mariah hopes to pass along her love of dance to students of all ages, so they may help preserve this classical art form. This is Mariah’s 8th season with NWA Ballet Theatre and is excited about the upcoming opportunities to perform and help build an appreciation for ballet in Northwest Arkansas.
get to know the dancer
1: What do you like to do outside of dance (hobbies, interests)?
Hiking, photography, baking, reading, and playing with my adorable nephews. Just laughing and having fun with my family and friends.
2: What is your favorite role that you have performed? Have not performed?
My favorite role I have performed would have to be the Snow Queen in the Nutcracker. A role that I would love to perform would be the role of Juliet in Romeo and Juliet.
3: What are some of your indulgences?
My dance partner’s homemade cheesecake (Thanks, Justin!), a massage, and an Epson Salt soak.
4: Do you have any pre-performance rituals?
My pre-performance ritual is to have my Bolder coffee, eat a banana, making sure I have a thorough warmup, and say a prayer.
5: If you weren't a dancer, what would you be?
I have always known I wanted to have a family of my own and teach dance, following in Miss Peggie’s (the late Peggie Wallis) footsteps, but if I had to choose something outside of dance then I might have become a nutritionist.
6: Do you remember the first ballet you ever saw, what was it and how did it affect you?
The Nutcracker produced by Peggie Wallis. Anna Doss (Sulanke) was the Sugar Plum Fairy and I wanted to grow up and be Anna. Life is funny, because now Anna is the ballet mistress for NWA Ballet Theatre and I love having her influence my training.
7: How do you spend your summer breaks?
I love to have at least one week at the beach. I also like to have a break from the rigorous ballet schedule so that I have time to add more cross-training and enjoy other forms of exercise.
8: If I could visit any country in the world it would be...
Italy! The Vatican, the Gnocchi, and the Cannoli – what more could I ask for!
9: What does Northwest Arkansas mean to you? Why is it special?
This is one of the most vibrant communities in our country and I’m so proud of the fact that this is my home. I was born and raised here – in fact I’m the only Arkansan in my immediate family since everyone else was born in Texas. I appreciate having the extraordinary arts opportunities and influences, but still having the feel of an old-fashioned home town. The people here are incredibly friendly, have great values, and work toward the common good. I love that all of this community spirit is located in the midst of such gorgeous nature.
10: What are three things people might now know about you?
When I was 15 I went hunting and on my very first shot I got a buck. I didn’t do this for sport, it’s just that I love to incorporate venison into my diet.
I have an extra bone in my neck and I am missing four joints in my toes.
Last, but not least,. I have worn a beard in public before. Okay, now let me explain (and I completely blame my sister for this.) I love Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, so I may or may not have attended midnight premieres dressed as a dwarf woman and also as the dwarf, Kili.
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. .