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I didn't, of course, but I hope someone else did and will report. This is Canfield's last appearance in New York as director of this troupe, I suppose. I'm very curious about the audience, too -- was the house full, what was the reaction, etc?

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Just doing a little cross post link to OBT's Choreographer's Showcase in the hopes of catching the eyes of some audience members.

As Watermill has written, it sure would be nice to hear from people who have attended... Perhaps with the new administration of Christopher Stowell, there'll be more posters? :)

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Ask and you shall receive....if we get two posters from Portland, I'll put up a forum :) In the meantime, here's a press release, just in:

From August 25 - 31, OBT Exposed!, Oregon Ballet Theatre's open air, summer rehearsal tradition, returns to the South Park Blocks, but with a twist: it's the first public appearance of OBT's new artistic director, Christopher Stowell, who brings a brings a brisk sense of the new and the exciting to OBT's 03-04 programming.

Portlanders will have a chance to

- meet Christopher Stowell, a former principal dancer with San Francisco Ballet

- get a glimpse of OBT dancers, familiar and new, in each morning's company class

- watch afternoon rehearsals of Kent Stowell's Duo Fantasy led by Pacific Northwest Ballet principal ballerina Patricia Barker. The piece by PNB co-artistic director (who also happens to be Christopher's father) is one of four OBT company premieres to be performed in Christopher Stowell's debut program, October 11 - 18 at Keller Auditorium.

- encourage the young dancers, aged 9 - 12, of OBT's Project F.I.N.D. Dance Camp as they prepare for Sunday, August 31 performances of their own choreography.

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Very exciting to hear of the new shape the company's taking. With one exception, those dancers remaining are very strong. Vanessa Theissen & Katarina Svetlova will be missed, but the new dancers sound wonderful.

Christopher Stowell's biggest challenge is going to be mounting a Nutcracker than will maintain the high popularity of Canfield's crowd pleasing version. The entire fiscal year hangs llike a Christmas ornament by this single golden thread. Without a strong Nut, he won't be able to expand the company to major story ballet strength. Looks like he's starting a larger apprentice program which should help.

I was a little taken aback at both Kent Stowell and Patricia Barker leading the Park Blocks barre and rehearsals. I think CS should have this first very public appearance to himself. But most important is the raising of the quality of the company, and he appears to have done that in a very professional way. As far as I'm concerned, he's lept over his second hurdle brilliantly. (The first being the eye-opening season)

I will report from the open rehearsals soon.


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Monday, August 25 – Sunday, August 31, 11 AM – 6 PM, South Park Blocks between Main and Salmon, Downtown


Meet OBT’s New Artistic Director, Christopher Stowell

WHAT: OBT Exposed!, a nine-year, Portland summer tradition returns to the South Parks – this year with new Artistic Director, Christopher Stowell

DATE: Monday, August 25 – Sunday, August 31

SCHEDULE: 11 AM - 12:30 PM

Christopher Stowell leads company class: the dancers stretch, practice technique and work through warm-up routines

12:45 – 4 PM

Patricia Barker, principal ballerina with Seattle’s Pacific Northwest Ballet, rehearses Matthew Boyes, Kathi Martuza, Anne Mueller, Alison Roper, Tracy Taylor, and Artur Sultanov in Duo Fantasy, a work to receive its company premiere at Christopher Stowell’s debut program, “New Beginnings.”

4 – 6 PM

Twenty-five kids, aged 9 – 16, from OBT’s Project F.I.N.D. (“Find and Inspire New Dancers) Summer Dance Camp rehearse their own choreography, to be performed Sunday, August 31 in two free shows at 1 PM and 2 PM.

LOCATION: South Park Blocks between SW Main and SW Salmon.

In one of the most remarkable and delightful events of the summer, Oregon Ballet Theatre presents OBT Exposed!, a week of open-air dance rehearsals, on a tented stage in the South Park Blocks. The easy-going informality of this free event draws approximately 15,000 people each year; strollers, kids-in-hand, office-mates, friends and family, dogs, and brown baggers abound.

OBT Exposed! is also the first public appearance for OBT’s new Artistic Director, Christopher Stowell. He joined OBT on July 1 and launches his 03-04 season with “New Beginnings,” October 11 – 18 at Keller Auditorium. Box office: 503-2-BALLET (222-5538).

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Just returned from the Park Blocks (Day One): Christopher Stowell taught a brisk class. About 3/4 of company attended. Only those six dancers in Duo Fantasy are actually under contract this week, so the other 15 or so who showed up do it voluntarily, which is good of them (and good for them).

The most pleasant suprise was to behold the magnificent Patricia Barker taking barre along with the company. Now that's what I call a GRANDE Battement!

The new company members look promising. Unfortunately Kester Cotton was not there.

After class, the company broke and the crowd (about 150) stood up, moved about, chatted. During the break, Particia Barker, there to set Duo Fantasy, reviewed a bit of the archival video, then marked a bit of it, returned to the video, marked another phrase or two...then danced almost the entire piece full out solo. I doubt there were more than 4 people under the tent who realized what was happening. It was one of those strange unplanned magical dance moments that happen.... for those who have eyes to see. What an unexpected pleasure!

Ms. Barker then led a pretty easy-going rehearsal, helped along by occasional video reviews. Kathi Martuza is most impressive.

It was also good to see most of the board there to support Chris Stowell on his first official public appearance.

Many students of the school there to check out the company and new apprentices. Lots of chatting re: Nutcracker rehearsals (which begin Tues!)

A cystal clear Portland day, and all is well in the world of Ballet.


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This is definitely a much better marketing tool than the PA Ballet's Guiness Book of World Records "How many people can stand en pointe at one time" plan - this is smart and something a number of well known companies ought to plan ASAP...in my opinion.

We're always bemoaning either the public's lack of interest in ballet or the fact that ticket prices are so expensive that most people wouldn't think of going to "check out" what a ballet is all about...unless of course it has a "racey" ad or two to draw them in. :rolleyes: Why can't, for example, NYCB do this right in Lincoln Center?

Just a thought. :)

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Guest mediamaven

Hello -- I'm the press rep for OBT and so glad to have OBT included in the Forum for American Ballet companies. There's a lot of excitement in the arts community in Portland as not only OBT but also the Opera and Symphony have new artistic directors (after long tenures by their predecessors) this season and Portland Center Stage is being run by the ambitious, energetic and well-connected Chris Coleman. Ari posted a link to the Oregonian's 9/5 arts cover story about this very stimulating phenomenon. I've accompanied Christopher to several media meetings and photo shoots...he's receiving a very warm and enthusiastic reception. The Oregonian is planning major coverage of his first season and I hope that any and all dance lovers in the Pacific Northwest will get to Portland to experience it. If I can answer any questions about OBT, please let know.

BTW, to correct an earlier post: Kent Stowell was not at OBT Exposed. CS led company class each morning and then Patty Barker took over to rehearse Duo Fantasy. Kent & Francia, as well as Helgi and Marlene, will attend the October 11 opening, however.

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Sorry Alexandra...failed to notice that we'd been moved off the "Other American Companies" forum. Thanks!

I would like to encourage fellow OBT followers to please join in...This is a wonderful opportunity to bring OBT to the attention of a large number of fans and dancers across the nation & even the world...so stop lurking and start pitching in!

I'll toss out a subject to chat about in a new thread...



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