It is a season of firsts for Oregon Ballet Theater. Celebrating their 35th anniversary, OBT begins by unveiling the first season programmed by new Artistic Director, Dani Rowe, and OBT’s first woman to permanently hold this role. 

Among the highlights is Dani’s For Pixie, her first choreographed work set to the soulful melodies of Nina Simone, which will be part of The OBT Collection. Additionally, OBT is thrilled to present the debut of Marilyn, Dani’s first full-length ballet, which pays homage to the timeless American icon Marilyn Monroe. Notably, Marilyn represents OBT’s first co-production and a female-led creative team.

“This season is not just about stellar performances – it’s about continuing a legacy. I am excited to build a new canon of work, standing on the shoulders of OBT’s already rich history of exciting dance works. Together with our brilliant dancers and artists, we aim to present captivating stories and dance performances that resonate deeply with our community.”

– Dani Rowe, Oregon Ballet Theatre Artistic Director

The season begins with a fresh take on the famous fairy tale, Hansel and Gretel, a hit ballet from Australian choreographer Loughlan Prior premiering for the first time in the United States with OBT’s performance. It’s a bit Tim Burton-esque and a whole lot of fun – perfect for all ages.

Hansel and Gretel is followed by the family-favorite and traditional George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker® featuring 17 performances, including 15 with the OBT Orchestra. Additionally, this year OBT continues the special offering of Nutcracker in a Nutshell, which provides a supportive environment for people with sensory processing challenges and for those with young children. This shortened performance is conducted in a more relaxed environment with lighting and sound modifications, entry/exit privileges and an understanding that patrons may move, vocalize, and bring comfort items to feel at ease in the theater.

What better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than with a tragic love story at the ballet? Opening on February 14, 2025, Giselle is one of the most beloved classical ballets of all time. This will be the world premiere of a new adaptation choreographed by Tiit Helimets and OBT’s Dani Rowe – another first.

In April 2025, OBT offers a new ballet about a true icon: Movie star. Ingenue. Lover. Survivor. Marilyn.

Dani Rowe’s first full length ballet, Marilyn features an original score by Shannon Rugani, iconic costumes by Emma Kingsbury and an arresting set design by Emma Kingsbury and David Finn. This internationally recognized and female-led creative team brings audiences powerful storytelling as 36-year-old Marilyn Monroe looks back at her life and memories through the only lens that matters: her own.

Closing out the season, we have four strikingly beautiful one-act ballets presented as The OBT Collection. Featuring a haunting pas de deux from Dani Rowe, an intensely physical contemporary work from Bobbi Jene Smith and Or Schraiber, a world premiere with fresh edge from Nicolas Blanc and a surprise from OBT by Design, this unforgettable collection will be an experience to remember.

This article was provided courtesy of Oregon Ballet Theatre.

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