The close of the 2014–15 season marks Marcello Angelini's 20th year as artistic director at Tulsa Ballet, a company that has grown substantially under his leadership.
Since he arrived in 1995, Angelini helped extend the dancers' contracts from 27 to 40 weeks and increased their salaries by about 60 percent. In 2003, he oversaw the opening of the Tulsa Ballet Center for Dance Education. Now, the first dancers from the school are starting to enter the ranks of the second company, Tulsa Ballet II, which formed in 2005. While it functions as a bridge between academic studies and a professional career, TBII also provides students with a stipend to offset their cost of living.
Angelini's leadership has also had a positive impact on Tulsa's flourishing arts scene. TB has expanded its studio space to include an in-house theater called Studio K, which is dedicated to presenting new work.
Once Studio K was established, TB was able to subsidize performance space for local modern dance troupes. "Now, one or two of the companies can present a full season," says Angelini. "The arts need to lead the cultural life of a community. Our responsibility lies beyond simply existing to survive."
Tulsa Ballet will wrap up Angelini's anniversary season in May, with a triple bill dedicated to the director: Going for Baroque, by Val Caniparoli; a world premiere by resident choreographer Ma Cong; and Age of Innocence, by Edwaard Liang.