ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

OPEN POSITIONS

BACKGROUND AND HISTORY
Founded in 1972 by Ballet Russe dancers Yvonne Chouteau and Miguel Terekhov, Oklahoma City Ballet has been the city’s professional ballet company for 50 years, boasting talented dancers from around the world. As the resident dance company of the Civic Center Music Hall, the company produces four main-stage productions per season in Oklahoma City, and tours regionally. The Oklahoma City Ballet Yvonne Chouteau School offers dance classes for all ages and skill levels through pre-professional training. The company and school are housed in the impressive Susan E. Brackett Dance Center, which was purchased, fully funded, in 2017. With over 28,000 square feet, this state-of-the-art facility features five studios, administrative offices, a wellness and physical therapy room, and a 4,500 square-foot main studio with retractable seating for 190.

The mission of Oklahoma City Ballet is as follows:
Oklahoma City Ballet inspires its audience through classical and contemporary dance performances, a strong educational program, and community engagement.

Oklahoma City Ballet was most recently led by Artistic Director Robert Mills for 13 successful seasons. The resident company includes 21 professional dancers and 7 apprentices. The Studio Company, which performs its own repertoire in and around the Oklahoma City Metro, consists of 26 OKCB II and Trainee Program dancers.

As one of the three core components of its mission, Oklahoma City Ballet’s robust community engagement programs reach over 6,000 Oklahoma City residents at no cost. Programming is offered to children, seniors, and adults and those with special needs. The company also creates curriculum for area schools, invites them to performances, and provides on-site dance classes at local Boys and Girls Clubs and public schools.

More information can be found on their website: www.okcballet.org

City and Region


The capital of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City has been steadily increasing in population for the past 10 years, reaching over 1.4 million in the Metro area and ranks as the 20th largest city in the US. The city’s residents present a diverse mix, with roughly 50% identifying as non-white. Oklahoma City is a regional center for government and energy, but has also branched into information technology, service industry, health services, and administration. The city is rich in western culture, but it also boasts a thriving restaurant scene with several James Beard Award winners, a burgeoning film industry, outdoor recreation activities including an Olympic rowing center, and cultural gems such as the Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center, Oklahoma City Museum of Art, Oklahoma City Philharmonic, and First Americans Museum. Its reasonable cost of living has proved attractive to families and millennials alike. Learn more at www.visitokc.com and www.okcchamber.com.

LEADERSHIP


Jo Lynne Jones, Executive Director
Jo Lynne Jones was named the John Kirkpatrick Executive Director of Oklahoma City Ballet in February 2018. As Executive Director, she has the primary responsibility of fundraising, financial accountability, administrative management and board engagement. Prior to joining the staff at Oklahoma City Ballet, she spent almost 17 years as Director of Development and Communications at Infant Crisis Services, an Oklahoma City based nonprofit. In addition to her role at Oklahoma City Ballet, Jones is a board member for Brave Woman, a national organization giving voice to domestic abuse survivors. She also serves as past president of the Oklahoma chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and the Oklahoma County Bar Auxiliary. She is a member of Leadership Oklahoma City Class 30 and serves on the Alumni Board. For more detail click here: Jo Lynne Jones

Board of Trustees

Oklahoma City Ballet is governed by a Board of Trustees consisting of 25 business and community leaders. Lisa Mullen serves as President of the Board and Betsy Brackett is President-Elect. The Search Committee is chaired by Sally Starling a former President of the Board. The search committee consists of eight members and includes members of the board as well as community leaders and stakeholders in Oklahoma City Ballet’s success.

CURRENT ENVIRONMENT


Season
Emerging from a season of COVID limitations that still saw Oklahoma City Ballet perform on stage, Oklahoma City Ballet celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2021/22 with a full season of performances including: Septime Webre’s ALICE (in wonderland), the Oklahoma premiere of Jessica Lang’s To Familiar Spaces in Dream, a world premiere of an original work by Nicolo Fonte, as well as performances of The Sleeping Beauty. The 2022/23 season, recently announced, promises to be even more exciting with the company premiere of Val Caniparoli’s Lady of the Camellias, Cinderella, and an evening of mixed repertory featuring works by Gerald Arpino, George Balanchine, and Twyla Tharp. The company also performs a program of new works featuring emerging choreographic voices at its Brackett Dance Center and The Nutcracker, presented by Devon Energy, annually. Ballet Under the Stars, a free, outdoor performance at Oklahoma City’s Scissortail Park, was originally conceived as a response to the pandemic but proved to be so successful it has become an annual event with an estimated 3,500 patrons in attendance. Most productions enjoy live music in a long-standing collaboration with Oklahoma City Philharmonic

Facility


As previously mentioned, Oklahoma City Ballet’s Susan E. Brackett Dance Center is over 28,000 square feet and features five studios. The facility, originally a fitness center, was purchased debt-free in February 2017 through the Turning Pointe Campaign for Oklahoma City Ballet. With iconic design and an extensive remodel, the Brackett Dance Center houses the company, staff, and school and serves as a performance space. A warehouse for sets and costumes is located nearby. A leased property across the street, serves as headquarters for OKCB II with an additional large studio. Adjacent property was purchased last year to allow for future expansion. Photos of the facility and additional information on each of its spaces are available here.

The Yvonne Chouteau School


Directed by Rachael Nye, the Yvonne Chouteau School is the official school of Oklahoma City Ballet, offering classes for students ages three to adult from beginner to advanced levels. Students share a facility with the professional company, enriching each student’s experience by allowing them to observe those dancers in classes, rehearsals, and performances. Students are also offered opportunities to perform with the Oklahoma City Ballet in productions such as Devon Energy’s The Nutcracker. The School’s offerings include a Children’s Division, a Preparatory Division, day and evening Pre-Professional Divisions, as well as the by-invitation Professional Division, composed of OKCB II and trainees.

Size and Scope


For FY23, Oklahoma City Ballet’s operating budget stands at $5M with an earned/contributed ratio of approximately 60%/40%. Earned revenue includes ticket sales, touring revenue, school revenue, as well as significant merchandise sales through the annual Nutcracker boutique. The organization employs 20 full-time employees as well as part-time faculty and staff.

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT


Building Relationships and Inclusivity through Dance for a new Generation of Excellence

Oklahoma City Ballet has recently launched a new initiative for community engagement: BRIDGE. This initiative has a special focus on education, programs, mentorships, and partnerships to help better serve the community and promote diversity and inclusivity within the organization. Oklahoma City Ballet wants to be a BRIDGE for the community, providing a connection to ballet and the ways it can impact the lives of those within the region. The overall goal of Oklahoma City Ballet’s commitment to the community is achieved through a variety of programs including:

  • ArtsReach: a free 8-week course educating students in the history of ballet and culminating in a ballet performance at the Civic Center, serving 4000 students annually.
  • BalletReach: weekly on-site ballet instruction in underserved schools and Boys and Girls Clubs throughout Oklahoma City, serving 600-1200 students annually.
  • Golden Swans: dance and movement classes for senior adults in the community and senior centers, serving 150-200 senior adults annually.
  • Dance for Parkinson’s: special dance classes for people with Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders, serving 75-100 people annually.
  • Chance to Dance: an adaptive dance class for students with varying abilities, serving 100 children and adults annually.
  • Books & Ballet: a special program in partnership with the Metropolitan Library System where students take a ballet class, read a story, and learn a dance from one of the ballet productions currently being performed.

OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES

The people who comprise Oklahoma City Ballet—dancers, staff, faculty, trustees—have a universal belief in the mission and to its success. This is an organization that has succeeded through collective commitment, grit, and devotion. Among the opportunities for the next Artistic Director are these:

  • Nurturing and deepening the important ties that the Company has with the City and region.
  • Developing and expanding audiences by developing new portals of access and expanding platforms of program delivery, ensuring ballet is accessible to all.
  • Advancing the work of the School and reinforcing its relationship with the professional company.
  • Embracing the organization’s commitment to drive inclusion, diversity, equity, and access in all of its strategies and objectives.
  • Expanding the campus to include additional studios and support facilities.

Along with these opportunities, there are challenges the next Artistic Director must embrace in concert with the Executive Director and Board, including:

  • Raising funds for and building a new production of The Nutcracker.
  • Staying relevant to audiences in an era of increased competition.
  • Balancing programming in a way that retains Oklahoma City Ballet’s commitment to the classics while continuing to identify and showcase important contemporary work.
  • Raising the company’s national profile.
  • In partnership with the Executive Director and Board, develop a strategic plan for managed growth.

POSITION AND RESPONSIBILITIES


The Artistic Director and Executive Director of Oklahoma City Ballet serve in a co-leadership structure, each reporting directly to the Board of Trustees. The Artistic Director is responsible for conceiving, developing, and implementing the artistic direction and focus of Oklahoma City Ballet and articulating this direction internally as well as to the broader community. Serious candidates will possess a deep understanding of and commitment to classical ballet while having the ability to evolve, move, and develop the art form into the future. The Committee will consider candidates who have not previously held artistic director positions but who will need to demonstrate an ability to work effectively in a collective leadership environment, which will include the Executive Director and the Board of Trustees. Candidates need not be choreographers; however, if they are, their work and perspective should align with the breadth and depth of classical and contemporary pieces for which the company is known. More importantly, the Artistic Director must have the ability to attract and curate work from top-tier choreographers.

RESPONSIBILITIES


The primary responsibilities of the Artistic Director are these:

  1. Develop, articulate, and execute a clear artistic vision aligned with Oklahoma City Ballet’s mission.
  2. Direct and lead all the artistic and production functions of the organization.
  3. Recruit, motivate, develop, and inspire a devoted company of dancers.
  4. Forge an effective working relationship with the Executive Director, developing strategies to balance artistic ambition with available resources, ensuring Oklahoma City Ballet’s artistic and fiscal vibrancy.
  5. Ensure The Yvonne Chouteau School remains as vibrant and high-functioning as the professional company.
  6. Fully embrace the organization’s commitment to inclusion, diversity, equity, and access with demonstrable evidence to IDEA values in current and previous work.
  7. Work closely with the senior executive team and Board to accomplish audience development and fundraising objectives.
  8. Forge relationships and collaborations with local, national, and international partners.
  9. Serve as a principal voice of Oklahoma City Ballet in the community.

QUALIFICATIONS


Ideally, the successful candidate for this role will possess many of these skills and experiences:

Artistry and Training

  1. A deep knowledge of classical ballet repertoire as well as modern and contemporary ballet from both a performance background and a producing perspective.
  2. A highly accomplished ballet artist and a skilled teacher and developer of talent who can maintain high artistic standards within the company.
  3. A background in staging and producing works of significance.
  4. A commitment to dance training for children, young people, and adults as well as pre-professional dancer development.

Leadership

  1. An ability to articulate an exciting and inspirational vision and aesthetic.
  2. A strategic thinker with the desire and ability to work collaboratively with the Executive Director, Board of Trustees, School, and staff team.
  3. A background that clearly demonstrates a commitment to inclusion, diversity, equity, access, and an understanding of what living these values means in an institutional context.

Administration and Production

  1. Ideally, artistic management experience in an organization of significant size and scope.
  2. Clear understanding of (and ideally, background in) producing, engaging with design, technical, and production staff and the ability to work within available human, time, and financial resources.
  3. Keen awareness of the operational needs of a professional ballet company and ballet school.

Personal Attributes

  1. Strong social and interpersonal skills, with a desire to represent Oklahoma City Ballet in multiple business, artistic, and social contexts.
  2. A deep commitment to developing, nurturing, and fostering a welcoming environment for dancers of diverse backgrounds, individually and as an ensemble.
  3. A transparent, open, collaborative, and confident leadership style.
  4. A desire to be fully rooted in the Oklahoma City community.

COMPENSATION, APPLICATION PROCEDURE, AND START DATE

The salary and benefits will be competitive with other ballet companies of comparable stature and size. Oklahoma City Ballet has engaged Management Consultants for the Arts to facilitate this search. The Search Committee of eight, including Oklahoma City Ballet trustees, the Executive Director, and community leadership, hopes to make its decision by late 2022, with the new Artistic Director ideally beginning as soon as possible thereafter.

HOW TO APPLY


Oklahoma City Ballet has engaged Management Consultants for the Arts to facilitate this search, with the project led by David Mallette, Jason Palmquist and Shruti Adhar. Interested and qualified candidates are encouraged to apply in complete confidence by providing materials requested below with these guidelines:

  • A cover letter of no more than 1.5 pages describing why this post is attractive to the applicant and what will make them a potentially strong administrative leader for Oklahoma City Ballet.
  • Resumé or CV.
  • Names of four professional references, including email and phone contact information (recommendation letters are not required).
  • Each file should have the applicant’s name included as part of the file name and submitted as separate .pdf documents.
  • Application materials may be uploaded via this link:https://airtable.com/shrCn7lLQCekzjpJM

Once all materials have been submitted online, the applicant will receive a confirmation of their submission via the email address provided in the application. For clarification on any of this information, please contact Christy Wall at cwall@mcaonline.com.

EEO STATEMENT

Oklahoma City Ballet is committed to the principle of equal employment opportunity for all. All employment decisions are based on business needs, job requirements and individual qualification.

Oklahoma City Ballet, in compliance with all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations, does not believe in nor discriminate on the basis of: race; color; national, social or ethnic origin; age; religion or belief; gender; sexual orientation; gender identity; marital, civil union, domestic partner or family status; disability; genetic information; Veteran status; or any other characteristic protected by state, federal, or local law in any of its policies, practices, or procedures.

We expect and require the cooperation of all employees in maintaining a discrimination and harassment-free workplace.