Christopher Stowell's ballet pedigree runs the length of the West Coast. His parents, Kent Stowell and Francia Russell, founded Pacific Northwest Ballet, he danced for San Francisco Ballet for 16 years, and he served as the artistic director of Oregon Ballet Theatre from 2003 to 2012. In July, SFB announced that Stowell would return to serve as ballet master and assistant to artistic director Helgi Tomasson.
Stowell's resignation from OBT—due largely to frustration over budget issues—disappointed many dancers, who were vocal about his positive impact on the company. It's no surprise, then, that SFB wanted him back, and in a role that taps both his artistic and administrative experience. "I will teach company class," he says, "but I'm also Helgi's designate when he's not available. Together, we will make sure there's an artistic voice and ears in every conversation."
As for the future, Stowell says that he would consider directing again, but it's not currently on his mind. "I'm focused on helping the dancers perform their best. That's the ultimate goal."