Artistic Director

Robert Mills is an internationally recognized performing arts professional with nearly 40 years of experience in the dance world.  Hailing from Northwest Indiana just miles from Chicago, Robert had access to world class ballet training at a very young age.  In Indiana he trained with Natalie Mayoch-Kolosci before studying in Chicago with renowned pedagogue and author Anna Paskevska in addition to former soloists of London’s Royal Ballet, Richard Ellis and Christine DuBoulay.  He completed his training at Chicago’s Ruth Page Foundation with Larry Long, The Rock School in Philadelphia, and at the Joffrey Ballet School in New York. He then enjoyed a 16-year professional performing career dancing with numerous companies across the United States including Oklahoma City Ballet, Kansas City Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet, and Pennsylvania Ballet among others.

Mr. Mills has been serving as Artistic Director of Oklahoma City Ballet since 2008 at which time the organization began a remarkable renaissance.  The number of performances doubled, the annual budget has grown by more than 400%, the company’s affiliate school now draws over 800 students per year, and the organization has enjoyed extraordinary advances in the scope and quality of its work.  Robert has mounted ballets from important choreographers like Balanchine, Kylián, Joffrey, Arpino, Tharp, Duato, and Tudor; and in the process has developed significant relationships with dancers, choreographers and designers from around the world.  With a focus on commissioning new contemporary ballets from some of todays most acclaimed choreographers, Robert has commissioned work from Jessica Lang, Matthew Neenan, Helen Pickett, and Cayetano Soto to name just a few.  A choreographer himself, Robert’s choreography has been seen across the U.S. 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 the 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 (now called Wonderbound).  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.”

Mr. Mills is also a sought-after dance educator.  Drawing from over 25 years of teaching experience, he has taught at numerous training grounds across the world.

 

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