Features & Articles

Eva Burton | photo by Blaine Truitt Covert

Portland Tribune, Pamplin Media Group | Burton relishes OBT promotion

October 20, 2020 – For six months during the COVID-19 pandemic and era of government restrictions, Eva Burton would practice en pointe on a makeshift dance floor and with a chair to simulate a studio bar in her dining room, as well as communicating with fellow dancers and instructors via Zoom.

“That got old quickly,” the Oregon Ballet Theatre dancer said. “It’s nice to be back in the studio. Even now, when back in the studio, there are only, at most, six total dancers in the big studio. And, we have to keep our distance, so it’s still odd. This is a job where we’re normally touching each other all the time.”

Burton’s patience and practice paid off, however, as she received some good news recently. OBT and Artistic Director Kevin Irving have promoted her to principal dancer. She joins Xuan Cheng, Peter Franc and Brian Simcoe as principal dancers for OBT, a smaller group than usual, but understandable given the current circumstances.

Read the full article HERE


Brian Bennett | photo by Jingzi Zhao

OPB – Think Out Loud | Oregon Ballet Theatre’s only Black dancer reflects on protests and pandemic life

July 15, 2020 – Brian Bennett moved to Portland last year from Chicago. Bennett is the only Black dancer in the full company at Oregon Ballet Theatre. (There is also a Black dancer in the role of apprentice at OBT.) He says the artistic director who hired him was frank about the fact that he’d be coming in to a predominantly white institution. Now, he’s practicing his ballet moves at home, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and attending Portland protests against racism and police violence. Bennett joins us to reflect on this moment and how he thinks things might be different for him when he returns to the studio. Listen or Read the article


Oregon State Capitol Building

KGW8 / AP | The largest amounts went to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, which received $4.7 million, and Metro, which got $4.1 million

July 15, 2020 – State lawmakers have voted to distribute $50 million in federal relief funds to Oregon arts and culture organizations still struggling amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Legislators voted Tuesday to direct $24 million to individual organizations including the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Oregon Symphony among others and another $26 million to county coalitions who can distribute funds to other local arts and culture organizations in need, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported. Read the article


Ansa Capizzi and OBT dancers in the 2016 performance of Beautiful Decay | Image by Yi Yin

Pamplin Media | A silent retirement: OBT’s Capizzi marks end of 17-year career

July 6, 2020 – In recent years, Ansa Capizzi would wake up in the morning, exit her bed and feel the pain.

“It’s amazing now to wake up with no pain and get out of bed like a normal person,” she said. “When I was dancing, every morning I got out of bed, took one step and it was like a machine needing oil.”

Aches, pains and stiffness have departed because the principal dancer with the Oregon Ballet Theatre has been sidelined, like most performers, after cancellation of events because of the COVID-19 pandemic. OBT had two performances planned for the spring.

And, Capizzi has started a new phase of her life, anyway — retirement, effective June 13. Capizzi, formerly Ansa Deguchi and a member of OBT for 17 years, had planned to retire in 2020. Retirement for the 35-year-old Capizzi just came a little early, and she welcomed it. Read the full interview


Brian Bennett in the 2019 performance of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker® | image by James McGrew

Oregon ArtsWatch | How Portland’s big dance organizations responded to Black Lives Matter

June 30, 2020 – For the past several weeks, conversations and arguments around race and the arts have arisen nationally and locally. In the Portland dance community, they’ve been driven by the dancers themselves, many of whom have concluded that the city’s big companies—Oregon Ballet Theatre, BodyVox and NW Dance Project, along with its major dance presenter, White Bird—could do a lot more than they’ve done in addressing systemic racism in both the art form and their own organizations. And they’ve taken to Instagram and Facebook to express their opinions. Read the full interview


Kelsie Nobriga in the 2019 performance of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker® | image by Yi Yin

KGW News, Tonight with Cassidy | Cassidy tries to be a ballerina in The Nutcracker

December 18, 2019 – The Nutcracker is on stage at the Keller Auditorium. Cassidy Quinn fom KGW News got a lesson from the talented OBT performers.
View the Segment Here


Kevin Irving with Candace Bouchard
Kevin Irving with Candace Bouchard

Pointe Magazine | Director’s Notes: Having It All

August/September, 2016 – Kevin Irving is a man of eclectic tastes. It showed in Oregon Ballet Theatre’s 2015-16 season, which opened with Napoli Act III. the company’s first turn with Boumonville, followed by Balanchine’s Nutcracker. Then came Romeo & Juliet, as envisioned by OBT founding artistic director James Canfield. The season closed with Beautiful Decay, an OBT premiere that Irving’s partner, contemporary choreographer Nicolo Fonte, created featuring local contemporary dancers.Read the interview


dennis_buehler
Dennis Buehler

Dance/USA | Leadership Corner: Dennis Buehler, Executive Director, Oregon Ballet Theatre

April 13, 2016 – From the Green Room continues its feature, Leadership Corner, disseminating the voices and experiences of leaders in the professional dance field across the United States Read the interview


KATU_SusanBanyas
Guest Artist Susan Banyas

KATU | ‘Beautiful Decay’ ballet celebrates the gift of age

April 12, 2016 – Like it or not we all get older, and it’s difficult to avoid an aging body. So instead of trying to hide it Oregon Ballet Theatre is celebrating the gift of age in its latest performance called “Beautiful Decay.” Greg Bielemeier, 65, and 68-year-old Susan Banyas have both danced well over 40 years, which is twice the age of an average dancer at OPT. And now they will share the stage with their younger counterparts to show the bittersweet dance of life and aging in “Beautiful Decay.” Watch the video


Art_of_Making_Art

Portland Monthly | A Spellbinding Short Film Reveals the Magic Behind Every Oregon Ballet Theatre Performance

April 4, 2016 – The lights go down. A current runs through the auditorium, the electricity of anticipation as the hum of conversation becomes a hush, and then silence. The curtain goes up on the Oregon Ballet Theatre, and the spell is cast. Except in the hours leading up to that moment, there’s been a whole world spinning behind the scenes, as a new short video by local filmmaker Patrick Weishampel makes clear. The Art of Making Art is a four-and-a-half-minute tribute to the work required to cast that spell, making visible what the audience rarely sees. Read the full article Watch the video


Jungle by James Canfield
Jungle by James Canfield

The Oregonian/OregonLive | 5 other James Canfield works Oregon Ballet Theatre needs to bring back

February 24, 2016 – Founding artistic director James Canfield created many original ballets during his 14 years leading Oregon Ballet Theatre, but since his departure in 2003, his works fell out of the company’s repertory. The long-overdue return of “Romeo & Juliet” opens the door to other Canfield signatures being restored, filling a critical gap in the company’s history. Here are five significant Canfield ballets that audiences need to see again. Read the full article


OBT Dancers in the new studio
OBT Dancers in the new studio

The Oregonian/OregonLive | A look inside Oregon Ballet Theatre’s new home on the South Waterfront

February 24, 2016 – This winter’s production of James Canfield’s “Romeo & Juliet” is the first that Oregon Ballet Theatre has rehearsed in its new studios in Portland’s South Waterfront district. In January, the company moved from a former bank building in the industrial eastside, where it resided for 15 years, to a new home on the banks of the Willamette River. Read the full article


James Canfield and Principal Dancer Brian Simcoe
James Canfield and Principal Dancer Brian Simcoe

The Oregonian/OregonLive | With ‘Romeo & Juliet,’ James Canfield makes long-overdue return to Oregon Ballet Theatre

February 24, 2016 – This weekend, Canfield’s version of “Romeo & Juliet” is back, marking a long-overdue reunion of the choreographer and the company. The six performances, which begin Saturday at Keller Auditorium, restore an important work to the company’s repertory and possibly set the stage for the return of more Canfield originals. Read the full article


Choreographer James Canfield with Xuan Cheng as "Juliet" and Peter Franc as "Romeo" in rehearsal for Oregon Ballet Theatre's production of "Romeo & Juliet," running Feb. 27 – Mar. 5, 2016 at the Keller Auditorium. Photo by Blaine Truitt Covert.
Choreographer James Canfield with Peter Franc and Xuan Cheng. Photo by Blaine truitt Covert.

Portland Tribune | Former OBT artistic director James Canfield to reprise ‘Romeo and Juliet’

February 18, 2016 – Whenever James Canfield visits Oregon Ballet Theatre, he always beams with pride. Canfield helped merge two companies into OBT 27 years ago. He helped start the School of Oregon Ballet Theatre. He helped secure the building at 818 S.E. Sixth Ave. He helped put OBT on the ballet map as artistic director. Read the full article


jamescanfield
James Canfield

Stage and Studio | James Canfield Returns

February 16, 2016 – Following an absence of over 15 years, Oregon Ballet Theatre presents the return of James Canfield’s beloved production of Romeo & Juliet to Portland’s Keller Auditorium February 27th through March 5th. Listen to the episode


Dennis Buehler and Kevin Irving
OBT Leadership in the Bancroft building – Portland Business Journal

Portland Business Journal | Oregon Ballet Theatre stays on pointe

January 1, 2016 – After nearly sinking, OBT soars into 2016 with money in the bank. Read the full article Portland Business Journal Site


Drosselmeier presents the Nutcracker at OBT’s 2015 production. Photo by James McGrew.

OregonLive | Oregon Ballet Theatre, Pacific Northwest Ballet square off in a ‘Nutcracker’ battle

December 15, 2015 – It’s “Nutcracker” season once again, that magical time when families get to experience the venerable holiday spectacle, and ballet companies reap the benefits of its timeless appeal. This year, Northwest ballet fans are getting a double-dose of George Balanchine’s version of the holiday gem. Read the full article


northwest-previews
Northwest Previews

All Classical Radio | Kevin Irving on Northwest Previews

September 3, 2015 – Northwest Previews, with host Andrea Murray, highlights outstanding classical events in the Portland area for the coming week. On this episode, OBT Artistic Director Kevin Irving discusses all of OBT’s recent activity. Listen to the interview Northwest Previews Site


Lisa Sundstrom
Lisa Sundstrom

OBT | Announcing the Launch of OBT2

July 14, 2015 – With the Generous Support of the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, Oregon Ballet Theatre to Launch Junior Company OBT2 and Names Former American Ballet Theatre and Pennsylvania Ballet Principal Lisa Sundstrom as Program Director. Read More


KGW News Segment with Darrell Grand Moutrie
Darrell Grand Moultrie

KGW | News Segment with Darrell Grand Moultrie

Beyonce and ballet: Award-winning choreographer comes to Portland.

April 17, 2015 – Choreographer Darrell Grand Moultrie talks with Cassidy Quinn about his new ballet for OBT, working with Beyonce, and how to flip your hair like a pro. Watch Segment