Christopher Stowell Returns to San Francisco Ballet

Christopher Stowell leads a Rite of Spring rehearsal at Oregon Ballet Theatre.

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."

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Sponsored by The Rock School
From left: Sarah Lapointe, Derek Dunn and Jeanette Kakareka. Courtesy The Rock School

For more than five decades, The Rock School for Dance Education has been launching young dancers into professional ballet careers around the globe. Boasting distinguished alumni such as Beckanne Sisk, Michaela DePrince and Taylor Stanley, the Philadelphia-based institution has garnered a well-deserved reputation for pairing rigorous training with a tight-knit, welcoming community. Their summer intensives are no different, with a wealth of prestigious faculty members, many of whom are Rock School alums currently dancing at companies around the world.

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