COMPANY } Choreographers
Director's Choice — Choreographers
Sarah Slipper / Founding Artistic Director
"Sarah Slipper is truly gifted. This is what dance should be ... she found the point at which the form of dance (steps, technique, feet, performance) combine to create a work of art." - The News Record
Sarah Slipper was born and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia, and received her professional training at the Royal Ballet School in London, England and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School. In 1980, she made her professional debut with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet as a corps de ballet member, and became one of the company's leading dramatic ballerinas. Ms. Slipper worked closely with many internationally renowned directors, choreographers and teachers, including Arnold Spohr, Rudi van Dantzig, Hans van Manen, Jirí Kylián, Agnes de Mille, Galina Yordanova, and Alla Savchenko. Ms. Slipper was noted for her classical line and dramatic abilities, dancing the principal roles in classical ballets such as Swan Lake, Les Sylphides, Giselle, and The Nutcracker. In addition to the classical repertoire, she received worldwide acclaim for her performances of contemporary ballets, most notably Nobert Vesak's The Ecstasy of Rita Joe and the award winning Belong pas de deux.
After Ms. Slipper left the stage, she continued her passion for music and drama, studying theatre at the honours level at the University of Winnipeg, and in Oxford, England. During the 1996/97 season, she served as ballet mistress of Alberta Ballet, and from 1997/99 as ballet mistress of Oregon Ballet Theatre. Ms. Slipper's command of classical and contemporary styles is demonstrated in her active role of teaching and coaching younger dancers. As a guest master teacher, Ms. Slipper has worked with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Washington Ballet, Ballet Austin, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, The Jefferson Dancers and the Dance Departments of the University of Utah, Cornish College of the Arts, and the University of Iowa.
An award winning independent choreographer, Ms. Slipper is presently based in Portland, Oregon, creating dance worldwide. She has worked with prominent dance companies including the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, Oregon Ballet Theatre, Nashville Ballet, Washington Ballet, Ballet Jorgen, Louisville Ballet, Fugate/Bahiri BalletNY, Alberta Ballet, Ballet Pacifica, Cornish Dance Theater, Northwest Dance Project and The Jefferson Dancers. She was awarded the Grand Prize for Choreography at the International Choreographic Competition Saint Sauveur 2000 for her ballet Shattered Night, which was created on the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. During her choreographic residency at Festival des Arts in Quebec, Canada, her ballet A River In A Dry Land, was described by the Montreal Gazette as "one of the finest choreographies produced in residency." Ms. Slipper's works have been described as "absolutely remarkable ... grippingly pits breezy romanticism against a sinister undercurrent." (The Oregonian) and "... a complete, enclosed world, a somber yet hopeful winter landscape across which the three couples thread in a long, smoothly unfolding skein of dance." (The New York Times)
A Fine Balance, her pas de deux created during the first year of Northwest Dance Project, was a finalist for the prestigious Benois de la Danse award in 2006 and was performed at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow as part of the award's gala celebration.
Ms. Slipper has created over 40 ballets to date and is currently working on several new creations while serving as the Founding Artistic Director of Northwest Dance Project.
Winner: 2011 Sadler's Wells Global Dance Contest
Ihsan Rustem was born in London and trained at the Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance. He was a member of the National Youth Dance Company from 1997-99 before engagements with Adventures in Motion Pictures (Matthew Bourne, UK), Ballet Theater Munich (Germany), Introdans (Netherlands), Bern Ballet and the Tanz Luzerner Theater (Switzerland). Ihsan has worked with many of today's leading choreographers, namely Mats Ek, Jirí Kylián, William Forsythe, Paul Lightfoot / Sol Leon, Hans van Manen and had works created on him by Wayne McGregor, Hofesh Shechter, Alexander Ekman, Patrick Delcroix, Stijn Celis, Robert Battle, Carol Armitage and Cayetano Soto, amongst others. Ihsan began choreographing as a student at the Rambert School, creating over ten pieces for the Academy. In 2009 he created Twist of Fate for the Bern Ballet's choreographic workshop. Upon seeing this piece, Sarah Slipper invited Ihsan the following year to Portland, where he created his first major work for a company, State of Matter - a piece which took both the Audience Choice Award at the 2011 International Competition for Choreographers in Hannover and won the 2011 Sadler’s Wells Global Dance Contest and was performed by the Northwest Dance Project in London 2012 as part of the Cultural Olympiad. He has since created works for the Tanz Luzerner Theater, Istanbul State Ballet MDT, Würzburg Ballet, BYU Contemporary Dance Theater, Interdans, DSC Faenza, National Youth Dance Company, ArtEz Dansacademie and the choreographic workshops of Ballet Theater Munich, Introdans and Bern Ballet. He returned to the Northwest Dance Project in 2013, where he created Mother Tongue with the Oregon Arts Watch calling it "...a model of contemporary choreography – a piece very much of its own time but also fiercely focused and sure of itself...like all good dances, it cuts through space with a conviction that this is the only possible way this particular piece could be."
Choreographer Patrick Delcroix was educated in at the Centre International de Danse Rosella Hightower in Cannes and the Ecole de Danse Colette Soriano in Orthez, France. In 1982 he joined the Iwanson Dance Company in Munich (director Jessica Iwanson), followed by the Scapino Ballet Amsterdam in 1985 (director Armando Navarro). It was here that he first met Jirí Kylián, when the choreographer came to create Picolo Mondo and cast the young Delcroix. He was subsequently invited by Kylián to join the Nederlands Dans Theater 1, where he danced from 1986 to 2003. In these 17 years with NDT he worked with many celebrated figures, namely William Forsythe, Mats Ek, Ohad Naharin, Edouard Lock, Nacho Duato, Hans van Manen and of course Jirí Kylián. As a choreographer, Patrick has created 40 works and re-staged numerous others for a variety of companies, including Nederlands Dans Theater 1, 2 & 3, Royal Danish Ballet, Basel Ballet, Ballet du Capitole Toulouse, Cape Town City Ballet, Ballet of the Croatian National Theater, Vienna Staatsoper Ballet, Aalto Ballett Theater Essen, Cisne Negro Sao Paolo, Ballet Jazz de Montreal, Tanz Luzerner Theater, Baltic Dance Theater, Introdans, Prague Chamber Ballet, Northwest Dance Project, Junior Ballet Genève, It Danza Barcelona, Artscape, New English Contemporary Ballet, Tanztheater am Staatstheater Braunschweig, Companhia Portuguesa de Bailado Contemporâneo, Royal Conservatory Den Haag, Royal Conservatory Antwerp, Nationale Ballet Academie – Amsterdam and ArtEZ in Arnhem, Netherlands. His relationship with Jirí Kylián continues to this day as a repetior for the Kylian Foundation. He has re-staged ballets on such companies as the Paris Opéra Ballet, Boston Ballet, Royal Danish Ballet, Ballet de l'Opéra du Rhin, Norwegian National Ballet, Bern Ballet, National Theater Ballet Prague, Aalto Ballett Theater Essen, Kobe Ballet, Dresden Semperoper Ballet, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet and the Georgian National Ballet. In 2001, he was knighted by the French government for services to the arts, being made "Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres”. Patrick's first creation for Northwest Dance Project in 2011, Harmonie Défigurée, is a rich exploration of human relationships filled with inventive, breathtaking partnering The Oregonian reviewed as "mesmerizing...gave the dancers the kind of space-eating, tempo-shifting movement -- from fast, aggressive unison to lyrical duets -- that makes this company such a pleasure to watch."
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