Catherine Bays

Catherine Bays

Central Region
Little Rock, Arkansas
501-378-0445 479-644-9642
[email protected]

Catherine's approach to appreciating dance as an art form is developed through creating, performing and viewing. Dance training enhances every aspect of the dancer's life by instilling grace, strength and self-esteem. My goal during a residency allows children to experience lyricism and movement and begin to feel comfortable expressing their ideas without words, either to music or in silence. A student does not need to become a professional dancer to feel proud of their physical and intellectual achievements after studying dance. In preparation for a residency, Catherine carefully considers skill development levels, age appropriateness, as well as individual or class interests. Because arts education is for lifelong learning, dance, stage experience, visual arts and music should be enmeshed in the school's curriculum. For many years, she has been involved in a wonderful residency at a private school in her area. A different country is chosen each year for the students to learn about the culture, daily life and history in their regular school curriculum. Part of the cultural study is of course the dance and musical influences of this country that she coordinates and teaches through the P.E. classes. The exciting culmination for the students is the actual World Experience Day that includes actual displays of the home, school, play, food and entertainment of the particular county. The children have learned dances and are able to perform at the evening celebration in costume. We have studied the dances of Mexico, Italy, Ireland, South Africa and China. Catherine is thrilled to see the children learning and trying the steps that are particular to each country, and believes they truly begin to "learn" about the country through dance, music, food and games after hearing about the country for an entire school year!


Catherine Bays began ballet training in her native state of Louisiana studying with several teachers and in intensive summer courses. After moving to Little Rock, she continued dancing with Cater and Lorraine Cranford (Little Rock Civic Ballet), Manolo Agullo (Arkansas Arts Center), Maureen Midgen, Peter Fairweather, William Martin-Viscount of the Southwest Ballet Center, and Ballet West-Aspen. After receiving a degree in English from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville in 1983, Catherine returned to Little Rock to resume dancing professionally with Ballet Arkansas as a soloist from 1985 to 1989. She had featured roles in many ballets including The Nutcracker, Giselle, Les Sylphides, Graduation Ball, Firebird, Koya Jovan, and Weisburg Suite. Catherine and her family relocated to Jonesboro in 1994. She taught ballet and pointe for Center Stage Dance Studio and began her association with the Foundation of Arts. She started the after school dance program in conjunction with the FOA and began directing annual productions of The Nutcracker. In 1997, she established the Jonesboro City Ballet Company, serving as director. In 1999, she was selected as a dance artist on the Arkansas Arts Council's Arts in Education Artist Roster. After returning to NW Arkansas in 1999, Catherine taught ballet for Rhythm and Shoes Studio. In December 2001, Catherine directed and choreographed the first Nutcracker for the Rogers Little Theater consisting of a cast of 130 students. She implemented school time performances preceded by in-school visits and lectures about ballet and dance history. Currently, Catherine teachers and directs her studio, Classical Ballet Academy of NW Arkansas, a nonprofit organization, which is able to offer scholarships to area students as well as provide classical ballet training in a safe and caring environment. In March 2002, Catherine completed the audition and examination process for entrance in the Royal Academy of Dance Teacher's Certification program that involved three years of training and study. In August 2004, Catherine attended the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet Teachers Program. In June 2007, she attended the Vaganova Teacher's Seminar with John White of Pennsylvania Academy of Ballet. In June 2008, Catherine attended the ABT National Curriculum Teacher Certification training. Catherine directs Classical Youth Ballet Company which attends the Youth America Grand Prix Regional with students qualifying and attending the New York Finals. Classical Youth Ballet annually presents the Nutcracker and their annual spring performance hosting professional guest artists in classical and neo-classical works. The company also provides educational outreach for area schools and libraries.

AIE Program

Preferred Age Level: All ages
Geographic Availability: Little Rock and North Little Rock
Time Availability: Open
Special Needs: Open space for movement.