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Stephen Mills - Choreographer
Sarah & Ernest Butler Family Fund Artistic Director

Known for his innovative and collaborative choreographic projects, Stephen Mills has dance works in the repertoires of companies across the United States and around the world. From his inaugural season as Artistic Director in 2000, Mills attracted attention from around the United States with his world-premiere production of Hamlet, hailed by Dance Magazine as "...sleek and sophisticated."

The Washington Post recognized Ballet Austin as "one of the nation's best-kept ballet secrets" in 2004 after Ballet Austin performed Mills' world premiere of The Taming of the Shrew, commissioned by and performed at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. The Company was first invited to perform at the Kennedy Center in January of 2002 with Mills' production of A Midsummer Night's Dream and at The Joyce Theater (NYC) in 2004. In 2005 after two years of extensive research, Mills led a community-wide human rights collaboration that culminated in the world premiere work Light / The Holocaust & Humanity Project. In 2006, Light / The Holocaust & Humanity Project was awarded the Audrey & Raymond Maislin Humanitarian Award by the Anti Defamation League. In September of 2013, the work made its international debut with a tour in three cities across Israel. In October 2016, Mills led his company of dancers through another "first," a 16-city tour of the People's Republic of China, which included performances in China's largest city, Shanghai, an international economic and cultural center.

In 1998, Mills was the choreographer chosen to represent the United States through his work, Ashes, at Les Rencontres Chorégraphiques Internationales de Seine-Saint-Denis in Paris. Most recently, Mills was awarded the Steinberg Award, the top honor at Le Festival des Arts de Saint-Sauveur International Choreographic Competition for One / the body's grace.

Mills has created more than 40 works for companies in the United States and abroad. His ballets are in the repertoires of such companies as Hong Kong Ballet, Ballet Augsburg, American Ballet Theatre Studio Company, Atlanta Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet, Washington Ballet, Cuballet in Havana, Cuba, BalletMet Columbus, Dayton Ballet, Sarasota Ballet, Ballet Pacifica, Dallas Black Dance Theater, Louisville Ballet, Nashville Ballet, Colorado Ballet, Texas Ballet Theater, The Sacramento Ballet and Dance Kaleidoscope. He has worked in collaboration with such luminaries as the eight-time Grammy Award-winning band, Asleep at the Wheel, Shawn Colvin and internationally renowned flamenco artist José Greco II.

As a dancer Mills performed with a wide variety of companies such as the world-renowned Harkness Ballet and The American Dance Machine under the direction of Lee Theodore. He also performed with the Cincinnati Ballet and The Indianapolis Ballet Theatre before becoming a part of Ballet Austin. Mills has danced principal roles in the Balanchine repertoire, as well as works by Choo-San Goh, John Butler, Ohad Naharin, Vicente Nebrada, Domy Reiter-Soffer and Mark Dendy.

In addition to his work as a choreographer, Mills is a master teacher committed to developing dancers. He has been invited as guest faculty at many pre-professional academies including Jacob's Pillow, Goucher College, Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing Arts in Dallas, The Virginia School of the Arts, The New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts, Stephens College and Point Park University in Pittsburgh. Mills is a member of the national dance service organization Dance/USA and has served both in leadership roles and on the board of trustees for the organization.

Natalie Frank - Artist

Natalie Frank explores contemporary discourse on feminisim, sexuality, and violence. Recent drawings and books The Story of O and The Sorcerer's Apprentice (Princeton University Press, 2017) use literature as inspiration. Her gouache and chalk pastel drawings of the unsanitized Brothers Grimm tales, brings back, with Jack Zipes' translations, aspects of sexuality and physical violence left out of our familiar stories. In Frank's 2015 exhibition at The Drawing Center, N.Y., Grimm's Fairy Tales, and in her accompanying publication Tales of the Brothers Grimm. Drawings by Natalie Frank (Damiani), Frank drew the unsanitized tales with a feminist interpretation, emphasizing the roles of women. The exhibition traveled to the Blanton Museum of Art (University of Texas at Austin) and the Kentucky Art Museum. Frank earned a Bachelor of Arts from Yale University in 2002, and a Master of Fine Arts from Columbia University in 2006. She is a Fulbright Scholar, Oslo, Norway. Her work is included in the collections of the Whitney and the Brooklyn Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the Blanton Museum of Art, the Rose Art Museum, and the Yale University Art Museum.

Graham Reynolds - Composer

Called "the quintessential modern composer" by the London Independent, Austin-based composer/bandleader Graham Reynolds creates, performs and records music for film, theater, dance, rock clubs and concert halls with collaborators ranging from Richard Linklater and Jack Black to DJ Spooky and Ballet Austin. Heard throughout the world in films, on TV, on stage and on radio from HBO to Showtime, Cannes Film Festival to the Kennedy Center, and BBC to NPR, he recently scored the film Bernie, featuring Jack Black, as well as the Hulu TV series "Up To Speed" and his score to the Robert Downey Jr. feature, A Scanner Darkly, was named "Best Soundtrack of the Decade" by Cinema Retro magazine.

With Golden Arm Trio, Reynolds has repeatedly toured the country and released five critically acclaimed albums including the simultaneous release of The Difference Engine: A Triple Concerto and DUKE! Three Portraits of Ellington on Innova Records with distribution by Naxos, the world's biggest classical label. As co-artistic director of the 501(c)3 Golden Hornet Project with Peter Stopschinski, Reynolds has produced more than 50 concerts of world-premiere, alt-classical music by more than 60 composers, as well as five symphonies, two concertos and countless chamber pieces of his own. With Forklift Danceworks, Reynolds has scored pieces involving 18 trash trucks, 200 two-steppers, a solo work for "traffic cop" and most recently PowerUP. Reynolds is an active company member, sound designer, and composer with the internationally acclaimed Rude Mechanicals and resident composer with Salvage Vanguard Theater. He has received more than half a dozen Austin Chronicle "Best Composer" wins and has been involved in projects supported by the MAP Fund and NEA.

About George Tsypin - Scenic Design & Props

George Tsypin is an American stage designer, sculptor, and architect. He was an artistic director, production designer and coauthor of the script for the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games in Sochi in 2014.

Tsypin was born in Kazakhstan and studied architecture in Moscow and theater design in New York. He has worked for many years with renowned directors and composers, such as Julie Taymor, Peter Sellars, Francesca Zambello, Pierre Audi, Jurgen Flimm, Philip Glass, John Adams, Kaija Saariaho and Andrey Konchalovsky. He has a longstanding creative association with the conductor Valery Gergiev.

He has won many awards, including the International Competition of "New and Spontaneous Ideas for the Theater for Future Generations" at Georges Pompidou Centerin Paris.

His designs for opera have been produced all over the world, including Salzburg Festival, Opera de Bastille in Paris, Covent Garden in London, La Scala in Milan, Mariinsky Theater in Saint Petersburg, Bolshoi Theater in Moscow and Metropolitan Opera in New York.

Tsypin has worked in all major theaters in the United States, as well as in film and television.

His sculpture received its first one-man gallery show in 1991 at the Twining Gallery in New York. He created the Planet Earth Gallery, one of the Millennium Projects in England: a major installation of moving architectural elements, videos, and 200 sculptures.

Tsypin was chosen to exhibit his work at the Venice Biennale in 2002. His monograph, GEORGE TSYPIN OPERA FACTORY: Building in the Black Void, was published by Princeton Architectural Press in 2005.

Tsypin's Broadway debut as a set designer for a musical was Disney Theatrical's production of The Little Mermaid, at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. He designed the set for the new musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark for which he won Outer Critics Award and received a Tony Award nomination.

Additionally, Tsypin designed the SeaGlass Carousel for Battery Park next to the World Trade Center site.

Constance Hoffman - Costume Design

Constance Hoffman has designed costumes for opera, dance, and theatre regionally, internationally, and in New York City. Her credits include collaborations with theatre artists such as Mark Lamos, Julie Taymor, Eliot Feld, and Mikhail Baryshnikov, opera directors Robert Carsen, David Alden, Christopher Alden, Keith Warner, and entertainer Bette Midler. Her work has been seen on many stages in New York City, including the Public Theatre, The New Victory Theatre, The Second Stage, The Theatre for a New Audience, Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall, The Joyce, and The New York City Opera. On her Broadway debut, she earned a Tony nomination and an Outer Critics Circle Award for her designs for The Green Bird, directed by Julie Taymor.

Hoffman's collaborations in opera have taken her to the Glyndebourne Festival Opera, the Paris Opera, the New Israeli Opera in Tel Aviv, the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich and The Tokyo Opera Nomori, among others. In the United States, she has designed costumes for the San Francisco Opera, the Santa Fe Opera, the Houston Grand Opera, the Los Angeles Opera, the Minnesota Opera, the Portland Opera, the Opera Theatre of St.Louis, the Lincoln Center Festival, and she has had a long association with the Glimmerglass Opera in Cooperstown, New York, whose productions have traveled regularly to the New York City Opera. At the New York City Opera, Hoffman's designs for the critically acclaimed Paul Bunyan, Tosca, and Lizzie Borden have been televised in the Live from Lincoln Center Broadcasts.

Regionally, she has designed in theatres such as the Guthrie, the Hartford Stage, The Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, D.C., The Center Stage in Baltimore, The Alley Theatre in Houston, Goodspeed Musicals and the Prince Music Theatre.

In addition to her Tony Nomination and Outer Critics Circle Award for The Green Bird in 2000, Hoffman was honored in 2001 with The Theatre Development Fund's Irene Sharaff Young Masters Award, and in 2003, 2007, and 2011 with an invitation to exhibit her work in the Prague Quadrennial.

She is currently engaged at the Tisch School of the Arts as an Associate Arts Professor in the Department of Design for Stage and Film, and holds an MFA as an alumna of that program.

Tony Tucci - Lighting Designer

Residing in Austin, Tony Tucci has been the resident lighting designer for Ballet Austin's repertory for more than 25 years and also currently serves as resident lighting designer/director for Ben Stevenson's Texas Ballet Theater and Bruce Wood Dance. Tucci created the lighting designs for Leonard Bernstein's Mass at the Long Center in June 2018. In September 2018, Tucci designed a new production of Cinderella, choreographed by Ben Stevenson for the National Ballet of China. Tucci has created designs for national and international dance companies: Mejia International Ballet, Washington Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, Cirque Ziva, the Golden Dragon Acrobats, National Ballet of Canada, Royal Danish Ballet, Winnipeg and Swedish Ballets, Hong Kong Ballet, Singapore Dance Theatre, Ballet Contemporaneo de Caracas, Christopher Bruce's Kingdom-Geneva Ballet. Tucci has designed for musical theater, including Austin productions of Damn Yankees, Carousel, West Side Story, Annie, Gypsy, Jesus Christ Superstar, Music Man, Oklahoma, A Chorus Line, and Sound of Music as well as Charles Duggan's productions of Dames at Sea in San Francisco and at the Goodspeed Opera House. For the 1996 Summer Olympics, Tucci designed for the Cultural Olympiad, showcasing national and international companies. He is the recipient of two Iden Payne Awards and Critics Table awards for lighting in Austin.

Howard Werner - Projection Design

A BFA graduate of the University of Illinois, and a product of the burgeoning theater movement of the 1980s, Howard Werner has developed from a young Chicago lighting designer into a multi-talented, many-faceted lighting, projection and multimedia design leader. Often found at the apex of the Broadway design world, he is just as likely to be found ground level, lighting a plaza, illuminating an historic building, or exercising his genius for exhibit design. His award-winning work spans theater, architecture and event categories, and his expertise has brought him recognition as a Live Design Master Class presenter for Broadway Projections.

Edward Carey - Dramatist

Edward Carey is a writer and illustrator who was born in North Walsham, Norfolk, England, during an April snowstorm.

Like his father and his grandfather, both officers in the Royal Navy, he attended Pangbourne Nautical College, where the closest he came to following his family calling was playing Captain Andy in the school's production of Showboat. Afterward, he joined the National Youth Theatre and studied drama at Hull University.

He has written plays for the National Theatre of Romania and the Vilnius Small State Theatre, Lithuania. In England, his plays and adaptations have been performed at the Young Vic Studio, the Battersea Arts Centre, and the Royal Opera House Studio. He has collaborated on a shadow puppet production of Macbeth in Malaysia, and with the Faulty Optic Theatre of Puppets.

He is the author of the novels Observatory Mansions and Alva and Irva: The Twins Who Saved a City, and of the YA Iremonger Trilogy, which have all been translated into many different languages and all of which he illustrated. His most recent novel is Little, which has taken him a ridiculous 15 years to finish. He always draws the characters he writes about, but often the illustrations contradict the writing and vice versa and getting both to agree with each other takes him far too long.

He has taught creative writing and fairy tales on numerous occasions at the Writers Workshop at the University of Iowa, and at the Michener Center and the English Department at the University of Texas at Austin.

He has lived in England, France, Romania, Lithuania, Germany, Ireland, Denmark, and the United States. He currently lives in Austin, Texas, which is not near the sea.
natalie frank