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Oregon Ballet Theatre Has A New Artistic Director

OPB | June 17, 2013 6 a.m. | Updated: June 17, 2013 1:44 p.m. | Portland

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Kevin Irving, the new artistic director of the Oregon Ballet Theater.

Kevin Irving, the new artistic director of the Oregon Ballet Theater.

Michael Clapp / OPB

Oregon Ballet Theatre has plugged a critical hole in its leadership.  The company has named Kevin Irving as its new Artistic Director.

Irving, a former dancer from New York, was previously the AD for the Goteborg Ballet in Sweden.  He was well known for moving the company into a strong balance between classical and contemporary repertoire.  He also credits himself for building links between the company and its patrons.

“If I was known for anything in Sweden,” says Irving, “it was bringing the company into greater and more complete relationship with the city.”

It’s a challenging time for OBT.

Board chairman Ken Hick says, “One of our weak points has been our fundraising.” 

In 2009, the company had to slash its budget by 28%.

It also had to deal with the loss of Executive Director Diane Syrcle to the Oregon Symphony last year.

Irving says he’s not daunted by the leadership holes or financial challenges, pointing out that he was considered an effective “turnaround guy” for the Goteborg Ballet.

He says, “I see a lot of similarities to the situation here.”

The next task for OBT is to hire an Executive Director.  Hick says the company is, “actively in the search mode right now.”  He hopes to have it done in the next 60 to 90 days.

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