North Carolina's finest performing arts companies have the opportunity to submit proposals for serving as a cARTwheels company. Companies participating in the current program include:
The African American Dance Ensemble celebrates more than 24 years as an international professional touring company of dancers and musicians, conveying its message of "Peace, Love, Respect for Everybody" to audiences across the U.S. and abroad. The company's repertoire of traditional African and contemporary African American works is guided by its artistic director, the highly acclaimed, internationally renowned choreographer, Chuck Davis. The ensemble seeks to preserve and share the finest traditions of African and African American dance and music through research, education, and entertainment. The ensemble reaches more than 300,000 people each year with its concerts, lecture/demonstrations, workshops, and cultural activities. In addition, Chuck Davis travels to Africa on an annual basis to study African dance, music, and culture.
The Asheville Lyric Opera is a non-profit arts organization founded in 1999 to develop vocal arts programs and operatic presentations in Western North Carolina. The Asheville Lyric Opera produces three main-stage operatic productions, opera tours, educational American operas, and year-round outreach programs to enrich the experience of opera for everyone.
From the lyric operatic comedy of Bel Canto opera to the high drama of classic Verdi opera, the company encompasses a range of artistry. Whether experiencing the charming characters in The Elixir of Love or the raw emotion of La Traviata, opera audiences are treated to professional, high-quality entertainment. Past performances have included acclaimed guest artists who have performed extensively in the U. S. and abroad, as well as regional singers who have taken on secondary principal roles as Asheville Lyric continues to develop and encourage their talents.
From modest roots as the Raleigh Dance Theatre in the early 1980s, Carolina Ballet was launched in 1997 to serve the ever-expanding Triangle community and beyond. Under the direction of artistic director and former New York City Ballet principal dancer Robert Weiss, it is recognized as one of the top ten ballet companies in the country. Carolina Ballet's 30 dancers represent countries including Russia, Moldavia, Cuba, Uruguay, Hungary, Canada, Armenia, and China, and its ballet master hails from Romania.
Carolina Ballet's Dancers in Schools outreach program presents fifth grade students with a comprehensive educational program emphasizing healthful living, the development of critical and analytical thinking, cooperation, and teamwork. It fosters creativity, encourages interest in the arts and challenges students to think in new ways.
Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana was founded in 1983 with the following mission: to foster recognition of the art form of flamenco as prominent in the performing arts and as an integral part of the Hispanic heritage; to create quality traditional and cutting edge new works and arts education programs that catalyze connections among people of different cultures; to enhance education by utilizing the expressive power of the arts; and to nurture the next generation of Spanish dance artists.
Celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2008, Carlota Santana's thriving Spanish dance company is known for its innovative performances, extensive community-based initiatives and in-depth arts education programs. Artists from the U.S. and Spain make up the company and reflect its core values: fostering a cross-cultural form of expression, preserving the tradition of Spanish dance and guiding this art form's modern evolution.
The John Brown Jazz Orchestra performs a wide range of jazz from original music to the most modern traditional jazz compositions. John Brown, double bassist and founder of the orchestra, has performed professionally since his teens. He currently serves as Professor and Director of the Jazz Program at Duke University and is an adjunct faculty member at UNC-Chapel Hill and NC State University. He has performed with the North Carolina Symphony since 1992 and has traveled in the U.S. and abroad with artists like Elvin Jones and Wynton, Ellis, and Delfeayo Marsalis. Brown received a Grammy® nomination for performing and co-writing on Nnenna Freelon's album, Shaking Free, and has performed in a variety of settings, including Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, the Blue Note, Blues Alley, and countless others. The group's latest recording, Terms of Art, reached the top ten on the national JazzWeek chart.
Keowee Chamber Music (KCM) enlivens Carolina communities with eclectic offerings in historic and unusual settings. In addition to concerts, teaching residencies, and community outreach programs, KCM produces an annual festival each June. Based in Asheville, Keowee is an artist-directed ensemble devoted to creating high-quality musical experiences that are unique, educational, and relevant to all audiences.
The Keowee Chamber Players have received critical acclaim as champions of excellence and diversity in programming. Their performances embrace a wide array of cultures and musical styles. Their seventh festival included the world premiere of Three Bagatelles by Paul Schoenfield and the Southeastern premieres of works by jazz composer Dana Wilson. Venues for KCM concerts and residencies include art galleries, churches, theater spaces, amphitheaters, multi-cultural regional arts festivals, schools, universities, and public libraries. In every performance, the players illuminate the music for audience members by introducing works and sharing pertinent information about the composers and musical styles. By entertaining and empowering the audience, KCM has attracted a loyal fan base as well as encouraged a new generation of chamber music lovers.
Named for the famous Mexican folk icon, the Cuarteto La Catrina is rapidly becoming one of North America's most sought-after young quartets, with engagements in Washington, Baltimore, Chicago, Columbus, Los Angeles, and many other cities. The members hail from Mexico and Puerto Rico and perform music by Latino composers alongside the masterworks of classical repertoire, while using their fluency in English and Spanish to reach audiences of diverse backgrounds.
Featured in 2007 as one of the "next generation of classical stars" in a showcase at Carnegie Hall, they had the privilege of playing for Yo-Yo Ma, who said, "How wonderful it is to hear four young musicians be such good ambassadors for music!" The Brentano Quartet wrote: "The highlight of our trip . . . was our collaboration with the Cuarteto La Catrina. They are musicians of great integrity and infectious joy, sensitivity and sincerity."
Currently Quartet-in-Residence of the Western Piedmont Symphony and Chamber Music Festival of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, the Cuarteto La Catrina is the featured ensemble of the Hickory Chamber Classics Series.
The N.C. Black Repertory Company is committed to exposing diverse audiences to Black classics, the development and production of new works, improving artistic quality, and sustaining Black theatre internationally. The company was founded to provide a vehicle for theatre professionals to earn a living through their craft.
The company presents three to four productions annually featuring members of its ensemble or through collaborations with other theatre companies from around the country. The annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration and the holiday presentation of Langston Hughes' Black Nativity have become two of the Company's staples. The critically acclaimed production, Mahalia, Queen of Gospel (written and directed by Mabel Robinson, the company's artistic director) was a National Black Theatre Festival® showcase performance.
The North Carolina Dance Theatre is committed to enriching lives and ensuring the vitality of its community. The company's classically-trained dancers are finely-tuned artists who bring passion and personality to every performance. Their talent, coupled with the internationally-acclaimed leadership of Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux as president and artistic director and Patricia McBride as associate artistic director, makes NC Dance Theatre one of the country's most successful professional dance companies. NC Dance Theatre's impressive reputation is based on superb dancers with high energy, precision and speed, and their ability to perform a versatile repertory ranging from full-length classical ballets to bold contemporary works.
Founded in 1948 as a small Charlotte Music Club project, Opera Carolina today is the largest professional opera company in the Carolinas. The company resulted from the 1986 merger of the Charlotte Opera Association and North Carolina Opera, which combined their mainstage, educational, and touring operations. Opera Carolina presents four mainstage productions, including an annual holiday production of Amahl and the Night Visitors, at the Belk Theater of the North Carolina Blumenthal Performing Arts Center.
Music! Words! Opera!, Opera Carolina's unique education program for K–5 students, provides an opportunity for students in a half-dozen Charlotte-Mecklenburg elementary schools to not only learn about a great opera, but also create and produce their own. Opera Carolinas' education and outreach programs reach more than 70,000 citizens in the Carolinas each year.
Opera Carolina presents an extensive touring program, performance-based and curriculum-based education programs, and an exceptional main stage performance series. Opera Express (formerly Opera Carolina Theatre), serves audiences all over North Carolina in a variety of venues. Annual tours include more than 100 performances and served more than 40,000 students.
Triad Stage started as the dream of co-founders Preston Lane and Richard Whittington, who wanted to create a professional, not-for-profit regional theater to serve the communities of the Triad area—Greensboro, Winston-Salem, and High Point. In September 1999, Triad Stage purchased the former Montgomery Ward building, which had been built in 1936 and vacant for almost 40 years. The five story building was transformed in the spring of 2001 into a world class theater center complete with a 300 seat live performance space, rehearsal hall, offices, two spacious lobbies, special events areas and other audience amenities.