Recently chosen as a choreographer for the prestigious National Choreographers Initiative in Southern California, Robert Mills is celebrating his tenth season as the Artistic Director of Oklahoma City Ballet. Since he began, the city and Oklahoma City Ballet have both enjoyed a new era of growth and renewal. At Oklahoma City Ballet the number of performances have doubled, the annual budget of the organization has tripled, the school’s summer intensive draws hundreds of aspiring ballet dancers from around the country, and dance artists from around the world are vying to work with Oklahoma City Ballet. In 2017 the company will move into a new, state of the art, 29,000 square foot facility, a home finally befitting the brand that has been finely crafted by Mr. Mills over the course of his tenure.
Originally from Northwest Indiana near the heart of Chicago, Robert began formal training in gymnastics at the age of seven and soon after shifted his focus to dance. He studied in Chicago, concentrating on ballet with renowned pedagogue and author Anna Paskevska, with former soloists of London’s Royal Ballet Richard Ellis and Christine DuBoulay, and at the Ruth Page Foundation with Larry Long. While in Chicago he also studied modern dance with some of the city’s best instructors. He received further training in ballet with full scholarships from the Milwaukee Ballet School, Richmond Ballet, The Rock School in Philadelphia, and the Joffrey Ballet School in New York City.
Robert enjoyed a vast performing career touring internationally as a guest artist and dancing with the Milwaukee Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, Tulsa Ballet, Kansas City Ballet, Oklahoma City Ballet, Eugene Ballet, and Ballet Idaho. Critics across the country took note of his crisp technique and inherent acting ability in works ranging from the classical to the contemporary.
Prior to joining OKC Ballet as Artistic Director, he spent three years as Artistic Director of Ballet Nouveau Colorado (now called Wonderbound) bringing that company into the national spotlight. After which time the Denver Post wrote, “Mills is now an artistic director responsible for one of Colorado’s biggest dance success stories.” A sought-after teacher, he teaches on faculty at The Dance Center of Oklahoma City Ballet and has taught at the Kansas City Ballet School and Ballet Idaho Academy along with numerous summer programs across the country including the University of Oklahoma, Burklyn Ballet, Ballet Academy of Texas, and Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. An accomplished choreographer, he has created ballets for Oklahoma City Ballet, Kansas City Ballet, Dance Theatre of Tennessee, and Ballet Nouveau Colorado, among others.