Anne Mueller

Welcome to the 3-dot…

Oregon art news about too many things to list in this space

I have always loved the old “three dot” column, a staple of the daily newspaper in olden times, which allowed the writer to jump from news item to news item quickly. We’re wondering if we can adapt it to modern digital times, so we’re going to do a little experimenting, starting today!

We know what Bag & Baggage does to the classics, how it twists them in creative, delicious and occasionally disturbing ways, which is why we like the looks of artistic director Scott Palmer’s 2015-16 season. This year’s targets: Richard III, The Best of Everything, Moby Dick and Emma, along with the Kristmas Karol…Speaking of B&B, the company’s managing director, Anne Mueller, has moved to Portland Ballet to become its co-artistic director. Mueller spent all of her career in dance (a principal at OBT then its interim artistic director, managing director of the Trey McIntyre Project, etc.) before joining Bag & Baggage two years ago. She joins founders Artistic Director Nancy Davis and Managing Director Jim Lane in the leadership positions at the rising company…Bill Rauch, Oregon Shakespeare Festival artistic director, has been named a visiting fellow for the Ford Foundation’s Art of Change initiative. Rauch will explore such issues as the effects of enabling more young directors of color to work with the classics, diversifying audiences for regional theater and fostering innovations in gender-blind casting, all things he has begun to do at OSF.

Frank Boyden, 2003, "Uncle Skulky is accosted by a few of his demons" Drypoint, spitbite, hand colored, 16.75" x 14.25"

Frank Boyden, 2003, “Uncle Skulky is accosted by a few of his demons”
Drypoint, spitbite, hand colored, 16.75″ x 14.25″

A retrospective of Frank Boyden’s prints, Frank Boyden: Oregon Icon, opens on May 4 in Fairbanks Gallery on the Oregon State University campus in Corvallis. Best known for bringing his deft lines drawn from nature to ceramic work, Boyden easily developed a parallel practice in prints 30 years ago, which this show documents…One of the indispensable elements of The Art Gym at Marylhurst University is its extensive production of catalogues for its shows—I use them constantly in researching artists of all sorts. Right now you can support the publication of this vital resource via a Kickstarter campaign, and directly pay artists for their expenses associated with Art Gym shows. You’ll be keeping a crucial historical record of the arts in the state going in the process…The Portland Youth Philharmonic has appointed Dave Matthys as the conductor of its Portland Youth Wind Ensemble, effective June 1, 2015. Current Wind Ensemble Conductor Larry Johnson, who has led PYWE for 10 years, will focus solely on conducting the Portland Youth Conservatory Orchestra. Matthys has directed the band at Lake Oswego High School for the past 11 years and won the National Federation of High Schools Outstanding Music Educator Award for 2014-2015…Portland Opera scored a grant from Opera America for its “Opera a la Cart” project which, according to the press release, is “inspired by the mobility and ingenuity of the city’s food cart culture, which is internationally celebrated and a source of local pride. Portland Opera will create a traveling performance cart inspired by the food truck aesthetic.”

Don’t forget to take a look at Matt Stangel’s latest installment of Nice Work!—he takes a look at Doug McCune’s transformation of the infographic into art…This summer’s Astoria Music Festival schedule is up. Highlights include Mozart’s Magic Flute, Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda, and Israel Nebeker from one of Oregon’s finest indie rock bands, Blind Pilot…Vicente Guzman-Orozco interviews Culture Clash’s Richard Montoya, whose play “American Night: The Ballad of Juan José,” opens next week at Milagro, on race, theater, history, and Portland hipsters.

Dance card: News and notes of a choreographic persuasion

Trey McIntyre shuts it down, Northwest Dance Project, Conduit, Performance Works Northwest

Portland embraced choreographer Trey McIntyre during his stint as resident choreographer here in 1999—some of the bright contemporary dances he made then are still in Oregon Ballet Theatre’s repertoire (Like a Samba, Speak)and are invariably greeted warmly, and more recent contributions, such as Robust American Love, have continued the relationship.

When McIntyre started his own company, the Trey McIntyre Project, one of his co-founders was OBT dancer Anne Mueller, who as managing director helped guide what was a summer pick-up project through its first few years. She didn’t make the jump with McIntyre to Boise in 2008, but she was there for one of the company’s last performances at the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival at the end of June.

“I thought this was a past chapter,” Mueller said last week, “but then I went and it was very emotional—in a fabulous way.”

Anne Mueller and John Michael Schert/ Photo by Jonas Lundqvist

Anne Mueller and John Michael Schert/ Photo by Jonas Lundqvist

I asked her about the New York Times story about McIntyre’s decision to close the company, and she confirmed its accuracy. McIntyre was tired of the pressure and amount of effort it takes to run and keep a touring dance company afloat. He’s rather introverted to begin with, which makes it even harder. He had lots of other creative ideas that he couldn’t pursue (film, photography, writing), and his original “team,” Mueller and John Michael Schert, had moved on.

“It’s worked really well, on a number of levels, and we’ve been able to innovate, but in the end, that level of output is just not sustainable,” McIntyre told the Times’ Marina Harss. That “level of output” was 20 dance works during the past six years, a phenomenal creative burst, especially for someone also responsible for running a dance company.

Not that McIntyre is going to stop making dances: He will return to the freelance choreographer’s life, including an evening-length Peter Pan for Queensland Ballet in Australia, which very well might look wonderful in Portland.

Mueller has just about completed her first year as managing director of Bag & Baggage, the Hillsboro theater company known for the imaginative flights of founder Scott Palmer. She hasn’t stepped away from dance since leaving her post as interim artistic director at OBT, though. She’s continued to dance, teach, choreograph and set dances on various companies. She’ll head to Tulsa this fall to set Nicolo Fonte’s Bolero on Tulsa Ballet, for example. So yes, endings lead to new beginnings.

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Last week I wrote about the first program of Conduit’s Dance+ festival, and I felt obliged to point out that the fourth floor studio can get a little on the warm side. Well, Conduit has brought in some air conditioners to help cool things off, and in any case this weekend is considerably cooler than last weekend.

Two more incentives: 1) Conduit will give you a free popsicle when you arrive (again, trying to keep things cool!); and 2) we’re hearing that Kyle Marshall’s solo, Soundboard, is amazing. You can get tickets online for the 8 pm shows, Friday and Saturday nights at Conduit, 918 SW Yamhill St.

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Northwest Dance Project is featuring new work by the two winners of its sixth annual Pretty Creatives International Choreographic Competition, Lesley Telford and Eric Handman, on Saturday night at PSU’s Lincoln Hall. Both Telford and Handman have terrific dance resumes: Telford has danced and choreographed for Netherlands Dans Theater, for example, and Handman has worked with a host of big name New York choreographers and teaches now at University of the Utah. Doors open at 7, dance begins at 7:30 on Saturday at Lincoln Hall, 1620 SW Park.

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Linda Austin’s Performance Works Northwest is hosting a summer party Saturday night at its studio, 4625 SE 67th Ave. Between 6:30 and 10 pm, Austin and such dancers as Luke Gutgsell, Noel Plemmons, Danielle Ross and Grace Hwang will improvise to music by Douglas Detrick and Ben Kates. Then there’s the video component, which will fill up the walls of the studio and an installation/performance by Jin Camou in a vintage Silver Streak trailer. Then things cool off (or heat up) with a dance party until midnight. It’s all free, including beverages and snacks! Such a deal.

Revealed: ballet for the 21st century

OBT's newest program is hampered by a lack of live music, but tells exciting stories of our time

Oregon Ballet Theatre opened its post-Nutcracker season at the Keller Auditorium last weekend with four 21st century story ballets, and despite the absence of live orchestra, the dancers tell the stories very well. No surprise there. With the exception of Christopher Wheeldon’s Liturgy, a pas de deux made originally on New York City Ballet’s Wendy Whelan and Jock Soto, all were created on these particular dancers, most of them anyway, and that shows.

Two of the dances on the program–which is called Reveal, and which repeats Thursday-Saturday, February 27-March 1–are overtly political.  Christopher Stowell’s curtain-raising world premiere A Second Front deals with Joseph Stalin’s persecution of Dimitri Shostakovich. The whispering soundtrack that alternates with excerpts from two of the composer’s suites for dance is also highly suggestive of the eavesdropping by today’s intelligence agencies, and not just ours.

Ye Li in Stowell's "A Second Front." Photo: Blaine Truitt Covert

Ye Li in Stowell’s “A Second Front.” Photo: Blaine Truitt Covert

Like Ekho, the last piece that Stowell made for the company he directed for close to a decade, A Second Front, is for seven couples.  Packed with classical steps, often executed at top speed in intricately designed floor patterns reminiscent of Balanchine’s, it takes place in a ballroom that the skeletal metal chandeliers suggest has seen better days. The women dance in identical silky gray evening gowns, with pleated skirts slit to the waist to reveal their beautiful legs in attitude or arabesque. The men are costumed in dreary gray suits reminiscent of those worn by members of the politburo.  Mark Zappone designed the costumes, and they, with Michael Mazzola’s lights, help to set the oppressive atmosphere of Stalin’s Soviet Union.

Continues…

In the Bag: Mueller quits OBT for new top post

Passed over for the top spot at Oregon Ballet Theatre, the former ballerina switches to theater and the fast-rising Bag&Baggage

Ty Boice and Mueller in "Kabuki Titus," 2012. Photo: Bag&Baggage

Ty Boice and Mueller in “Kabuki Titus,” 2012. Photo: Bag&Baggage

 

Anne Mueller’s back on top.

And it didn’t take long. Less than a month ago Mueller was passed over for the artistic-director post at Oregon Ballet Company when the ballet’s board chose the other finalist, former Goteborg Ballet leader Kevin Irving, instead.

This morning the small but adventurous Bag&Baggage Productions announced that Mueller will become managing director of the Hillsboro theater company. She’ll work side by side with founding artistic director Scott Palmer.

“This was very much kismet for us,” Palmer said. “Anne’s a remarkable human being independent of her work as an artist. She is singularly focused, and we’re thrilled she’s decided to singularly focus on us.”

Mueller’s move ends a long association with OBT, which she joined as a dancer in the 1990s. She retired in 2011 as a principal dancer and shifted to administration as artistic coordinator under artistic director Christopher Stowell. When Stowell abruptly announced his resignation last December, Mueller took over as interim artistic director, shepherding OBT through the rest of its season and fashioning the 2013-14 season.

Palmer and Mueller. Photo: Bag&Baggage/Lars C. Larsen

Palmer and Mueller. Photo: Bag&Baggage/Lars C. Larsen

She joins a company with a much smaller annual budget – a little under $400,000, compared to roughly $5 million at OBT – but also one that’s growing rapidly along with its part of Washington County, near the epicenter of the Silicon Forest. Bag&Baggage, which began as a touring company, has settled in as the resident company in downtown Hillsboro’s historic Venetian Theatre. And the company’s become known for its provocative approach to the classics. It’ll open an all-woman outdoor production of “Julius Caesar” on August 1, then settle in for a run of five more productions in the Venetian – an adaptation of “The Great Gatsby,” a genre-bending “Twelfth Night of the Living Dead,” a slapstick-style “It’s a (Somewhat) Wonderful Life,” Palmer’s own lean adaptation “Lear,” and, on a more traditional note, Noel Coward’s “Private Lives.”

For Mueller, the leap from ballet to theater might not be as big as it seems. She was noted for her technical precision as a dancer but also for her theatrical approach to the ballet stage, particularly her comic range. And last summer she made a vivid guest-starring appearance at Bag&Baggage in “Kabuki Titus,” Palmer’s fluid Japanese-style adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Titus Andronicus.”

That performance bowled over audiences and critics, and it began a relationship of mutual respect between Mueller and Palmer. Palmer is Christopher Stowell’s domestic partner, and he and Mueller had met several times socially. But “Titus” deepened the relationship. When OBT bypassed her for its top job, Palmer let her know Bag&Baggage’s managing-director posting was still open, if she was interested in applying. She was, and did.

At Bag&Baggage, Mueller’s duties will include fiscal oversight and company management, and development and advancement. Her background is mainly on the artistic side, but she’s already shown adeptness for this sort of management role. She was a co-founder of the touring dance company the Trey McIntyre Project and served as managing director 2004-06. And OBT insiders say she did a remarkable job of steadying a company in turmoil during her emergency stint as interim artistic director.

Mueller liked the challenge, and wanted the permanent job badly. “I found great satisfaction in managing a team of people, and in creative problem solving, and I hadn’t expected how much I’d enjoy that,” she told A.L. Adams in an interview published just a week ago on ArtsWatch.

By losing Mueller, OBT loses both a person who was loved during her dancing career, and a deep part of company history. Mueller joined the company under founding artistic director James Canfield and remained through the Stowell years, as a dancer and then an administrator. Until the shakeup of the past several months, she was widely believed to be an OBT lifer. Principal Alison Roper is the only remaining company dancer who also danced during the Canfield years. She will probably retire from the stage relatively soon – perhaps after the 2013-14 season – and has been widely expected to then move into a managerial role at OBT.

Mueller as Livinia in "Kabuki Titus." Photo: Bag&Baggage

Mueller as Livinia in “Kabuki Titus.” Photo: Bag&Baggage

 

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Oregon Ballet Theatre names new artistic leader

Kevin Irving takes over the city's top ballet spot effective July 15

Kevin Irving, a former dancer with international connections, was named today as the new artistic director for Oregon Ballet Theatre. He replaces Christopher Stowell, who resigned in December, and interim artistic director Anne Mueller, who took over when Stowell left. Irving and Mueller were believed to be the only finalists for the job, and there’s no word yet on what her plans will be.

Kevin Irving

Kevin Irving

Irving began his dancing career in 1980 with Alvin Ailey and spent several seasons working with European star choreographer Nacho Duato.

Here’s the press release, just sent by OBT:

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Oregon Ballet Theatre (OBT) is excited to announce the hiring of Kevin Irving as its new Artistic Director, following an exhaustive international search.

Kevin Irving brings a wealth of experience as a dancer, teacher and Artistic Director, along with a depth of knowledge and connections in the dance world. “Kevin has very high standards and will not rest until they are met, whether in regards to artistic matters or balancing a budget,” stated one of his dance colleagues.

Kevin’s training and track record as an outstanding dancing talent on an International level, as well as his proven abilities in management and artistic direction, education, fund raising and marketing, combine to make him an extraordinarily qualified leader to help take OBT to the next level of excellence, for Portland, the Region and Nationally. The contacts he has made over his illustrious career will enable OBT to present well-established classics as well as ballets from the major choreographers of today and emerging talents in the world of Dance.

Kevin began his career as a dancer in 1980 with the Alvin Ailey Company. Subsequently, he was a principal dancer with Elisa Monte Dance, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, and Twyla Tharp Dance. In 1994 Kevin joined noted choreographer Nacho Duato’s Compania Nacional de Danza in Spain, where he served for eight years as Head of Artistic Department and primary rehearsal director. From 2002 to 2007, Kevin was the Artistic Director of The Goteborg Ballet, which under his leadership was named the most important dance company in Sweden by Ballet International Magazine. Since then he has worked as a consultant, serving as President/Owner of Dance Masters Consulting. During that time he has worked as Associate Director of Morphoses and guest teacher for such notable companies as Alvin Ailey, Aspen/Santa Fe Ballet, New York Theatre Ballet, Royal Danish Ballet, and Juilliard Dance. He has staged works by many of the most distinguished choreographers in the world, including those of his partner, Nicolo Fonte, who has created works for OBT. Additionally, Kevin started the not-for-profit

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organization I-DANCE, which creates relationships between US-based choreographers and Latin American dance communities.

Kevin earned his Bachelor of Arts in Dance Performance and Choreographic Studies from Empire College/SUNY, NY, has studied crisis management, work environments, conflict management and is fluent in Spanish, French and has conversational abilities in Swedish and Portuguese.

OBT Board Chair, Ken Hick, says, “We are particularly gratified that the reputation and success of OBT has been able to attract a leader of such extraordinary success, experience, taste and skills. We welcome Kevin and his partner, Nicolo Fonte, as major additions to the Portland community and cultural scene and we are all looking forward to an exciting next chapter for OBT.”

Speaking on behalf of the Board of Directors, Mr. Hick added, “We also want to take this opportunity to thank Anne Mueller for the exceptional work she has done as Interim Artistic Director for the past six months. OBT is indebted to her for her passion, creativity and inspiration during the transition. Her participation at OBT as a dancer and leader has been tremendously important in OBT’s success.”

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BodyVox-2: the future is now

The 'second company' is making a vital case for its slice of the BodyVox pie

Josh Murry, Holly Shaw in Jamey Hampton's "Alter." Photo: Blaine Truitt Covert

Josh Murry, Holly Shaw in Jamey Hampton’s “Alter.” Photo: Blaine Truitt Covert

The house was packed Thursday evening for the opening of BodyVox-2’s weekend run of new and revived pieces, and the eagerness of the crowd suggested the growing conviction among Portland dance followers that this is no ordinary apprentice company.

What is it, then?

“We’re really trying to figure that out,” a pleased Una Loughran, the company’s general manager, said after Thursday’s performance at the BodyVox Dance Center. “It’s an evolving thing. When we started it we thought it was a two-year program. It’s obviously moved far beyond that.”

One thing it is, as this short run of performances through Saturday illustrates, is a tight ensemble of skilled performers capable of pulling off a polished and fully satisfying evening of varied short works. The company’s six members – Jeff George, Samuel Hobbs, Anna Marra, Josh Murry, Holly Shaw and Katie Staszkow – are young but not beginners, and they’ve developed the kind of well-practiced teamwork that allows them to relax and let their individual personalities also come across. Directed by main-company dancer Zachary Carroll, they’re at ease in the BodyVox style, which requires a playful and dramatic blend of acting and dancing skills, plus a taste for quirkiness and vaudevillian physical surprise. And they’re adaptable: the current show features premieres of works by four choreographers, and also dips into the repertory as far back as 1985, or before some of the performers were born.

Anna Marra in Eowyn Emerald Barrett's "I Asked of You." Photo: Blaine Truitt Covert

Anna Marra in Eowyn Emerald Barrett’s “I Asked of You.” Photo: Blaine Truitt Covert

They’re also very much part of the present of the main BodyVox company, and they could be a very big part of its future. The BodyVox-2 dancers do a lot of the company’s school performances and residencies – a bread-and-butter task for a company like this – and they’re showing up increasingly onstage in the main company’s shows, too. This injects a shot of youth into what is a company of veterans, and it also expands the palette for BodyVox choreographers, allowing them to do bigger works with more dancers. More and more, BodyVox-2 is both an essential element of the main company and its own thing: like Nederlands Dans Theater 2 and Joffrey II, it’s developing its own following and identity.

Because of external events, the signal work among the four new pieces is Anne Mueller’s “Tuesday, 3:47 p.m.,” a witty, swift and prop-laden (table, chairs, giant water pitchers) short dance that blends contemporary pop motifs with a ballet sensibility. Mueller, a former longtime Oregon Ballet Theatre dancer, took over as OBT’s interim artistic director after Christopher Stowell’s surprise resignation late last year, and people inevitably will be reading “Tuesday, 3:47 p.m.” like tea leaves in an effort to see what she might be thinking about for OBT. That’s not really fair –  she choreographed this piece specifically for BodyVox-2, not for OBT, and it’s not a ballet, it’s a contemporary dance. Still, it has an airy feel, with both fluidity and grace, and a sense of humor, and a penchant for visual storytelling: the props and situations brought to mind some of the work Robin Lane has done with Do Jump! It’s a savvy, well-shaped piece: I liked it.

The other three new dances are closer to home: co-founder Jamey Hampton’s “Alter,” a tightly knit showcase for Murry and Shaw; veteran BodyVox dancer Eric Skinner’s “Feeling Unknown,” performed to music by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross by the second company’s three women dancers; and “I Asked of You,” by onetime BodyVox-2 performer Eowyn Emerald Barrett, an intricate and yearning piece for all six dancers performed to Max Richter’s contemporary reconception of Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons.” All three have polish, substance and spark. They know the dancers and the company style, even though they pull in different directions, from extreme physicality to coquetry to emotional tugging.

What comes across best in this program is how well the old and the new have become integrated, each bringing its own strengths to create a broader scope of possibilities. Suddenly, BodyVox feels like an institution in the best sense of the word: an organization capable of growing and evolving and regenerating itself. So maybe it’s fitting that both acts end with short pieces from the 1980s, before BodyVox existed, when Hampton and co-founder Ashley Roland were performing with ISO. In 1985’s “Scare Myself,” which Roland and Hampton danced around the world, George and Marra nimbly carry on the tradition. Presented in a puff of stage fog, it’s a witty crowd-pleaser, and a period piece within a period piece: when it was new it was already nostalgic for the social dance of the 1950s; now it’s nostalgic one more step removed. That makes it, again in the best sense of the word, charming.

Nineteen-eighty-seven’s “Psycho Killer,” created by Hampton, Roland, Daniel Ezralow and Morleigh Steinberg, comes from a similar place of puckish period theatricality, once again with stage fog (was this when steampunk started rolling?) and over-the-top whimsy. Performing to The Bobs’ bouncing rendition of the David Byrne tune, George, Murry, Shaw and Staszkow operate like a four-piston engine, conjoined at the ankles and bobbing, bouncing and bopping to the rhythm. It’s all a bit like following the bouncing ball in an old-time drive-in movie cartoon. It’s quite terrific to be reminded of what BodyVox came out of, how much of that original impulse has been retained and how much has been toned down, and how well a new generation can step into the old shoes and recapture some of the magic, even as they continue to explore their own variations on the BodyVox theme.

A good, smart program, all in all – and a promise of what’s yet to come.

NOTES

  • BodyVox-2’s spring program concludes with performances at 7:30 p.m. Friday (March 8) and at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday (March 9). Tickets are tight; information here.
  • Choreographer Barrett is planning to take a program of her work to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival for a six-day run in August, and it’ll have a BodyVox flavor, with Murry, Shaw, main-company dancer Jonathan Krebs and Barrett performing, and BodyVox technical director James Mapes along to run the lights.
  • Jamuna Chiarini wrote for ArtsWatch about the rehearsal process for three of the program’s four new pieces. Read her interviews with Mueller, Skinner, and Barrett.

 

Katie Staszkow, Anna Marra in Anne Mueller's "Tuesday, 3:47 p.m." Photo: Blaine Truitt Covert

Katie Staszkow, Anna Marra in Anne Mueller’s “Tuesday, 3:47 p.m.” Photo: Blaine Truitt Covert

 

 

 

 

 

OBT at the crossroads: where next?

Portland's embattled ballet company approaches 'Swan Lake' and a new season with hopes, fears, and a lot of questions

Artur Sultanov and Alison Roper in Nicolo Fonte's "Bolero," 2010. The ballet will repeat in February 2014. Photo: Blaine Truitt Covert

Artur Sultanov and Alison Roper in Nicolo Fonte’s “Bolero,” 2010. The ballet will repeat in February 2014. Photo: Blaine Truitt Covert

The king is dead. Long live the king.

Or queen.

But first, the good news. The kingdom itself is holding off the barbarian hordes—at least, for now. Dancers are deep in rehearsals for the February 16-23 run of the popular story ballet “Swan Lake.” Fundraisers are punching important numbers on their cell phones, sweet-talking potential donors. And on Thursday evening Oregon Ballet Theatre, confounding a flood of rumors about its viability, threw a small wine-and-showcase party at its Southeast Portland studios to announce its 2013-14 season—a season the most pessimistic dance followers in town thought would never happen. You’d never know it from the packed house at the announcement, where the crowd radiated optimism.

When last we checked in on OBT, back in late November and early December, optimism was the last thing on most people’s minds. The place was in a shambles. After more than nine years as artistic director, Christopher Stowell had resigned abruptly, scant days before the opening of the company’s annual coffer-filler, George Balanchine’s “The Nutcracker.” He would leave, he said, by the end of December—while the current season was in mid-swing, and before the company had made plans for its 2013-14 season.

Stowell’s announcement was a bombshell. He was one of the most prominent arts leaders in town, and part of American regional-ballet royalty: His parents, Kent Stowell and Francia Russell, had danced with New York City Ballet in Balanchine’s glory years and were the founding directors of Seattle’s Pacific Northwest Ballet. Christopher Stowell had a storied dancing career at San Francisco Ballet and pretty much knew everyone in the business. His international connections paid big dividends as he rebuilt OBT and expanded its reach and reputation well beyond Oregon.

But underneath the artistic triumphs, the company was bleeding. Just three years after an emergency bailout that raised $900,000 to keep the doors open, OBT was once again in the financial weeds. It had amassed a $300,000 backlog in payments to the Portland Center for the Performing Arts, where it performs, all from missed payments during the 2011-12 season. Board membership had plummeted to just eight people—mostly, vice president Harold Goldstein said on Thursday, because a large contingency wanted to just shut the thing down. That group eventually quit the board. “Those of us who remained said we didn’t want to do that,” Goldstein said. “It was bizarre to me that someone would join the board in order to close it.”

Less than two months later, the supposedly sunken ship is bobbing bravely above the waves. For a company with no executive director, development director, or permanent artistic director, a remarkable sense of passion and purpose appears to have set in, alongside a frank acknowledgement of the deep problems the troupe faces. “Sometimes you have to fix the leaks in the boat before you remodel it,” board president Ken Hick commented.

Continues…

 
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