Oregon Ballet Theatre Adds Audio-Described Performances

Oregon Ballet Theatre is offering audio-described performances for patrons with blindness or low vision, or anyone interested in listening to a live narration of select performances of George Balanchine's The Nutcracker in December and Cinderella in February.

Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs) will be available for patron use during two performances of December's run of The Nutcracker and one performance of Cinderella. Attendees wanting to experience the performance through verbal description of the action on stage, including choreography, story line, scenery and costumes, will be able to pick up a hand-held device on a first-come, first-served basis from the coat check area before both Dec. 16 Nutcracker performances - 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. - and before the Feb. 17 2 p.m. Cinderella performance.

Neck loops for use with hearing aids and cochlear implants with a "T" switch (telecoil) are also available. Please bring ID when checking out a hearing device. Supplies are limited.

A rare dancer whose career spanned multiple disciplines, Kevin Irving began dancing with jazz classes in his hometown dance school (Long Island, New York), before joining the school and training ensemble of Alvin Ailey - an experience that impacted him deeply. From 1982-1985, he danced with The Elisa Monte Dance Company of New York, a company often referred to as "post-modern." At 24, however, he took a sharp turn toward classical dance, joining Les Grands Ballets Canadiens in Montréal.

Promoted to soloist and principal, Irving became a well-known figure wherever LGBC performed, excelling in classical, neoclassical, and contemporary roles - including roles and ballets created by LGBC's resident choreographer, James Kudelka. In 1993, Irving joined Twyla Tharp Dance, touring the U.S. and Europe with the acclaimed choreographer, including performances at L'Opéra de Paris, and the PBS filming of Tharp's much-lauded ballet In the Upper Room.

From 1994-2002, Irving was ballet master and associate director with Nacho Duato's Compañía Nacional de Danza in Madrid. From 2002-2007, he served as artistic director of The Göteborg Ballet in Sweden. The company, during Irving's tenure, was named the most important dance company in Sweden in Ballet International's critic poll. From 2007-2013, Irving was a frequent guest ballet master with The Royal Danish Ballet, where he staged and rehearsed works by Ji?í Kylián, George Balanchine, and Jerome Robbins. He has also been a guest teacher with numerous companies and schools in the U.S. and abroad for over 20 years. Additionally, he staged ballets by Nacho Duato and Nicolo Fonte for companies such as The Royal Ballet Covent Garden, Nederlands Dans Theater, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Lyon Opera Ballet, and The Australian Ballet, to name just a few.

In the U.S., Irving became associate director at Morphoses (formerly The Wheeldon Company) from 2011-2012, coordinating special initiatives aimed at defining the company's unique profile in the dance world. In 2010, he founded I-DANCE (Inspiring Dance: American Nations' Choreographic Exchange), a nonprofit that sends teachers and choreographers to dance communities in Central and South America. Irving was named artistic director of Oregon Ballet Theatre in July 2013.

ABOUT THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Michael Greer brings leadership experience from both for-profit and nonprofit worlds. Most recently, he led an arts nonprofit through a successful transition; previously, he led China side operations, projects, and sales teams for multinational companies. A native of Missouri, Greer spent the early part of his life as a dancer at the world's most prestigious institutions: Interlochen Arts Academy, School of American Ballet, San Francisco Ballet School, and The Royal Ballet School. Upon completing his training, he danced professionally with Ballet West in Salt Lake City, Utah, under the direction of Jonas Kage.

After retiring from performing, Greer completed an economics degree with emphasis in industrial organization - as an Arturo Schomburg Scholar at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts. He was offered a merit scholarship to continue economics at Stanford University, but declined - to gain international business experience as a Gilman Scholar through the U.S. State Department. Greer then worked with companies in India and China for nine years; he managed teams and operations for several multinational corporations. A Mandarin speaker, he fully enjoyed life in China with his wife and two children.

In 2015, Greer returned to the U.S. and the dance world, to direct Portland Ballet in Portland, Maine. Combining considerable business experience with his passion for the arts, he worked to increase earned and contributed revenue, which resulted in Portland Ballet's major turnaround. Now, Greer and his family are thrilled to be a part of the Portland, Oregon community.

OBT is committed to sharing its passion for the expressive power of ballet, inspiring an enduring appreciation of dance, and connecting in meaningful ways to our community through excellence in performance, training, and education. OBT is the largest professional ballet company in Oregon; we employ nearly 200 people and attract artists from around the globe through our reputation for excellence. The company is rooted in classical ballet traditions, with a repertoire ranging from the classics to premieres from today's most exciting choreographic voices. Our mission is dedicated to the vitality of - and access to - world-class ballet performance and training in the Pacific Northwest.

Founded in 1989 by James Canfield, a former principal dancer with the Joffrey Ballet, OBT developed a distinct style and unique repertoire that comprised over 80 ballets. From 2003-2012, under the direction of Christopher Stowell, OBT presented nearly 350 performances, and added 51 ballets - including 20 world premieres - to its diverse body of work. In June 2013, the OBT Board named Kevin Irving as the company's third Artistic Director.

Irving brings over 25 years of experience performing with and managing world-renowned cultural organizations and dance companies, including The Göteborg Ballet, The Royal Danish Ballet, and Compañía Nacional de Danza. Irving's tenure is marked by a commitment to collaborative partnerships with Portland artists and organizations, including the Portland Art Museum, Multnomah County Library, Kenji Bunch, and Pink Martini. He is expanding the company's classical repertoire with premieres of Ben Stevenson's Cinderella and his own updated Swan Lake, while preserving OBT's legacy by restoring major works such as James Canfield's Romeo & Juliet. Irving is diversifying our repertoire with world premieres from internationally-acclaimed and contemporary choreographers: Nacho Duato, William Forsythe, Nicolo Fonte, Darrell Grand Moultrie, and Helen Pickett.

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