Since being named Artistic Director of Oklahoma City Ballet in 2008, Robert Mills has established himself as a prominent member of the Oklahoma arts scene and in the process has brought the company national recognition as one of the fastest growing ballet companies in the United States.
Born in Gary, Indiana and raised just outside of Chicago, Robert had access to world class ballet training at an early age. In Indiana he trained with Natalie Mayoch-Kolosci before moving on to study with some of Kolosci’s mentors in Chicago including Richard Ellis, Christine DuBoulay, Larry Long and Anna Paskevska. He completed his training at the School of the Philadelphia Ballet, and at the Joffrey Ballet School in New York City. He then enjoyed a 14-year professional performing career dancing with numerous companies across the United States including Oklahoma City Ballet, Kansas City Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet, and Philadelphia Ballet among others.
Throughout Mills’ tenure with Oklahoma City Ballet, patrons have enjoyed seeing the extraordinary advancements made in the scope and quality of the company’s work on stage. Keeping a focus on education and community engagement, the organization can boast dramatically increased enrollment in its Yvonne Chouteau School under Mills’ guidance plus the addition of numerous community engagement programs geared towards broadening OKC Ballets reach into the community.
A prolific choreographer, Robert has created 12 new works during his time at Oklahoma City Ballet. His work has been seen across the United States and in 2017 he was selected to take part in the National Choreographers Initiative in Southern California, an honor bestowed to only four American choreographers per year.
Reporting on Robert’s time with OKC Ballet, the Oklahoman newspaper wrote: “During Mills’ 10 years of artistic leadership of OKC Ballet, dance lovers in Oklahoma have had the pleasure of seeing an all-but-failed ballet company grow into a vibrant, passionate, powerful group of performers.” In 2018, Robert was presented with a Governor’s Arts Award from the state of Oklahoma for community service.
Prior to joining Oklahoma City Ballet as Artistic Director, Robert spent three years as Artistic Director of Ballet Nouveau Colorado in Denver. Of his time in Colorado The Denver Post wrote, “Mills was instrumental in putting it on the map…Mills is now an artistic director responsible for one of Colorado’s biggest dance success stories." Ballet Nouveau Colorado has since divided into two organizations. The performing company is now known as Wonderbound and the school became Colorado Conservatory of Dance.
Mr. Mills is also a sought-after dance educator drawing from over 25 years of teaching experience. He teaches classical ballet in the Yvonne Chouteau School and oversees the School Director and faculty. He has taught at numerous companies, schools and summer programs across the world.