Oregon Ballet Theatre (OBT) is rising quickly on the national scene. Established in 1989, OBT’s celebrated company of dancers performs an annual five-program season at the Portland Center for the Performing Arts and also conducts both regional and national tours.
Under Founding Artistic Director James Canfield, a former principal dancer with the Joffrey Ballet, OBT developed a unique repertoire and distinctive style. With a firm foundation in classical technique, the company's dance inventory grew to comprise over 80 ballets including evening-length classics, 20th-Century masterpieces and innovative contemporary works.
In 2003, following a distinguished, 16-year career as a principal dancer with San Francisco Ballet, Christopher Stowell became Oregon Ballet Theatre’s second Artistic Director. The son of Pacific Northwest Ballet Founding Artistic Directors Kent Stowell and Francia Russell, Mr. Stowell possesses an impressive ballet lineage. His extensive training and experience, deep knowledge of the repertoire, and dedication to the discipline’s exacting classical and contemporary vocabulary are all reflected in his programming.
During his tenure, Mr. Stowell added the work of Sir Frederick Ashton, Jerome Robbins, William Forsythe, Lar Lubovitch and Christopher Wheeldon to the OBT repertoire, and significantly expanded the company’s inventory of George Balanchine ballets. He also commissioned new works by renowned contemporary choreographers James Kudelka, Trey McIntyre, Yuri Possokhov, Julia Adam and Nicolo Fonte. In addition, Mr. Stowell created 10 ballets on OBT’s dancers, including the company’s first full-length production of Swan Lake (2006), A Midsummer Night's Dream (2007), The Sleeping Beauty (2010) and Carmen (2011).
Anne Mueller served as Interim Artistic Director from December 2012 through June 2013. Mueller had been with OBT since 1996. She retired from dancing in 2011 following a stellar career as a Principal Dancer.
Kevin Irving became OBT's Artistic Director in July 2013. As a dancer, Kevin Irving appeared with the Alvin Ailey Training Ensemble, Elisa Monte Dance Company, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens (as a soloist and principal dancer) and with American icon Twyla Tharp.
In 1994, Kevin retired from the stage to take a position as ballet master and head of the artistic department with Nacho Duato’s Compañia Nacional de Danza in Spain. From 2002 to 2007, Kevin was the Artistic Director of The Goteborg Ballet; the company under Kevin’s leadership was named the most important dance company in Sweden by Ballet International Magazine.
Since 2007 Kevin has been based in the US, while still maintaining a vast network of contacts abroad. Irving has been a frequent guest teacher with companies and schools such as, The Royal Danish Ballet, Alvin Ailey, Aspen Santa Fe, Juilliard, etc. Mr. Irving was also Associate Director at dance company Morphoses (2011-2012). He continues to stage ballets by Nacho Duato and American choreographer Nicolo Fonte and is the Founder/Director of I-DANCE a non-profit organization that sends teachers and choreographers to Latin American dance communities.