Leading arts organizations to achieve programmatic and financial success is Kevin Irving’s reputation, earned over more than 30 years in the field. A rare dancer whose performance career spanned multiple disciplines, Kevin’s professional history is marked by bold leaps, increasing responsibilities, positive outcomes, and a dynamic personality that aims to help people connect with each other and to their community.
Following a performance career that included work with luminaries such as Alvin Ailey, Twyla Tharp, and notables from classical and contemporary ballet, Irving was invited to join Spanish choreographer Nacho Duato, as rehearsal director and later Associate Director of Compañía Nacional de Danza, in Madrid. He later went on to direct The Göteborg Ballet in Sweden for five years and is credited with turning around the company during his tenure. After returning to the USA in 2007, Irving established a non-profit, I-DANCE, which connected American choreographers and teachers with dance communities in South and Central America.
In 2013 he became the third Artistic Director of Oregon Ballet Theatre, a position that earned Kevin renown in the Northwest arts community. While at OBT, he launched the successful junior company (OBT2), doubled Education/Community Engagement initiatives, led a full re-branding effort, and won praise for multiple artistic and organizational collaborations that produced new audiences. Seventy percent of new ballets commissioned during his tenure were by female or BIPOC-identified choreographers, reflecting Kevin’s attention to the evolution of ballet as an art form in the 21st Century.
Kevin and his partner (now husband) of 31 years, choreographer Nicolo Fonte, enjoy Portland and the Pacific Northwest lifestyle. They combine an active life in the arts with many fresh air activities that involve their cherished mini-pinscher Ziggy.
Photo by Michael Slobodian