Photo Top: Xuan Cheng and Brian Simcoe. Photo by Tatiana Wills.



Kevin Irving began dancing with jazz classes in his hometown dance school (Long Island, New York), and subsequently joined the school and training ensemble of Alvin Ailey. From 1982-1985 he was a soloist with The Elisa Monte Dance Company of New York but at the age of 24 he took a sharp turn towards classical dance and joined Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, in Montreal. He was quickly recognized for his clean line, charisma, and musicality and cast in leading roles in ballets by Balanchine, Tudor and even Petipa. Promoted first to soloist and then to principal dancer, Kevin Irving became a mainstay and well-known figure wherever LGBC performed for eight seasons. Upon leaving LGBC in 1993, Kevin joined Twyla Tharp Dance for a project that included performances at L’Opera de Paris and the television film of “In The Upper Room”, one of Tharp's most highly regarded works.

In 1994, Kevin retired from the stage in order to take a position as ballet master with Nacho Duato’s Compañia Nacional de Danza in Madrid, Spain. Over the course of eight seasons in Madrid Irving worked side by side with the acclaimed Spanish choreographer. From 2002- 2007 Kevin Irving was artistic director of The Göteborg Ballet in western Sweden. The company, under Irving’s tenure as director, initiated a number of innovative and successful ventures and in 2006 The Göteborg Ballet was named the most important dance company in Sweden in Ballett International’s critics’ poll.

From 2007-2013 he was a frequent guest ballet master with The Royal Danish Ballet, invited regularly to coach the dancers of this esteemed company in works by Kylian, Balanchine, Robbins and Duato, among others. Irving has been a guest teacher with companies and schools such as The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, Juilliard School, Rotterdam Academy, etc. and has staged ballets by Nacho Duato and Nicolo Fonte on companies such as The Royal Ballet Covent Garden, Nederlands Dans Theater, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, The Australian Ballet - among many others. Mr. Irving was also Associate Director at dance company Morphoses (2011-2012), coordinating special initiatives aimed at defining the company’s unique brand and profile in the dance world. In 2010 Irving founded I-DANCE (Inspiring Dance: American Nation Choreographic Exchange), a non-profit organization that has sent teachers and choreographers to dance communities in Central and South America. The US Embassy in Nicaragua has recognized his volunteer work in Managua as fundamentally contributing to the cultural landscape of that Latin American country.


Kevin Irving


Lisa Kipp began studying ballet in Olympia, Washington, and finished her training at Pacific Northwest Ballet School. She danced with Pacific Northwest Ballet, Pacific Ballet Theatre, Ballet Oregon, Ballet of Los Angeles, Ballet Chicago and James Sewell Dance, and also performed in the touring company of Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera. Ms. Kipp danced principal roles in George Balanchine's Rubies, Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux, Square Dance, Concerto Barocco and Apollo, and appeared as the Cowgirl in Agnes De Mille's Rodeo. Prior to joining OBT, she was the Ballet Department Head for the school of Spectrum Dance Theater in Seattle, as well as the company’s Rehearsal Director.


Lisa Kipp / Photo by Joni Kabana


Originally from Santa Cruz, California, Mr. Stanton trained at San Francisco Ballet School and the School of American Ballet. In addition to classical ballet, he also studied ballroom, jazz, and tap dancing. He joined San Francisco Ballet in 1989 and left to join Pacific Northwest Ballet as a member of the corps de ballet in 1994. He was promoted to soloist in 1995 and was made a principal in 1996. Jeff Stanton retired in 2011 following a 23-year career.

Highlights in Mr. Stanton’s career include his performance in the role of Demetrius in the BBC's 1999 film version of Pacific Northwest Ballet's production of George Balanchine's A Midsummer Night's Dream, filmed at Sadler's Wells Theatre, London. He originated leading roles in Susan Stroman’s TAKE FIVEMore or Less; Stephen Baynes' El Tango; Donald Byrd's Seven Deadly Sins; Val Caniparoli's The Bridge; Nicolo Fonte's Almost Tango and Within/Without; Kevin O'Day's Aract and [soundaroun(d)ance]; Kent Stowell's Carmen, Palacios Dances, and Silver Lining; and Christopher Stowell's Zaïs.

Mr. Stanton has performed as a guest artist for Le Gala des Étoiles in Montreal, Prague Gala of Stars, and the TITAS Command Performance of International Ballet in Dallas, Texas. In 2000, he participated in The George Balanchine Foundation's Interpreters Archive series, dancing excerpts from Balanchine's Episodes, coached by Melissa Hayden. He is also featured on the 1999 danceWORKS fitness video.


Jeff Stanton


Niel DePonte has been the Music Director for Oregon Ballet Theatre and its predecessor, Pacific Ballet Theatre, since 1985. He has appeared as a guest conductor for Boston Ballet, the Ballet of the Mussorgsky (Maly) Theatre in St. Petersberg, Russia, and at the Nureyev Ballet Festival. He has also conducted symphonic, pops and youth concerts with the symphonies of Oregon, Syracuse and Charlotte, among others.

Mr. DePonte appears frequently before audiences across America pursuing his many musical interests. He is artistic director and conductor of the Young Artists Debut! concerto concert and served as Bel Canto Northwest's opera conductor for three seasons. He was a 2003 Grammy Award nominee for Best Instrumental Soloist Performance with Orchestra for his performance of Tomas Svoboda's Concerto for Marimba with the Oregon Symphony, and frequently appears with Chamber Music Northwest. As founder of MetroArts, Inc., he has done considerable research on the use of the arts for teaching cognitive strategies in the classroom, and in 2006 was named a Local Hero by Bank of America for his work with the MetroArts Kids Camp summer arts program.

Mr. DePonte's arrangement of A Midsummer Night's Dream is his latest in a series of compositions and arrangements written for the ballet stage. These include Christopher Stowell's Adin in 2004, Houston Ballet's 2002 production of Peter Pan and OBT's 1993 version of The Nutcracker. He holds a Master's degree and the Performer's Certificate from the Eastman School of Music, and a degree in Education from the State University of New York.


Niel DePonte / Photo by Joni Kabana


Michael Mazzola’s critically acclaimed lighting and scenery has been seen in venues all over the U.S., Europe and Asia, ranging from opera houses to circus tents to outdoor amphitheaters. The three-time New York Dance and Performance Award winner has designed lighting and scenery for Oregon Ballet Theatre, Pacific Northwest Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Whim W’Him of Seattle, National Ballet of Finland, Stuttgart Ballet, Grand Rapids Ballet, Ballet West, Ballet Nacional de Cuba, The Washington Ballet, Houston Ballet, Rachel Tess Dance at the Wanas Foundation in NYC and Sweden, 3rd Rail Theater, Bebe Miller Company—with whom he has worked since the mid-eighties, and Liz Lerman Dance Exchange. Michael is also a Senior Scenic Designer for MSD Designs, based in NYC.

Some of his performance photography has been published in Liz Lerman’s book “Hiking the Horizontal”, as well on the websites and marketing materials for Bebe Miller Company and Rachel Tess Dance.

Michael Mazzola / Photo by Joni Kabana


Kevin Irving
Artistic Director

Lisa Kipp
Rehearsal Director

Jeffrey Stanton
Ballet Master

Tracey Sartorio
Artistic Coordinator

Gavin Larsen

Niel DePonte
Music Director & Conductor

Michael Mazzola
Lighting Director

Carol Rich
Principal Pianist

Irina Golberg
Principal Accompanist

OBT / National Endowment for the Arts Oregon Arts Commission Regional Arts & Culture Council Work for Art Portland Monthly
Work for Art