Founding Artistic Director
“Sarah Slipper is truly gifted. This is what dance should be … she found the point at which the form of dance (steps, technique, feet, performance) combine to create a work of art.”
Sarah Slipper was born and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia, and received her professional training at the Royal Ballet School in London, England and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School. In 1980, she made her professional debut with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet as a corps de ballet member, and became one of the company’s leading dramatic ballerinas. Ms. Slipper worked closely with many internationally renowned directors, choreographers and teachers, including Arnold Spohr, Rudi van Dantzig, Hans van Manen, Jirí Kylián, Agnes de Mille, Galina Yordanova, and Alla Savchenko. Ms. Slipper was noted for her classical line and dramatic abilities, dancing the principal roles in classical ballets such as Swan Lake, Les Sylphides, Giselle, and The Nutcracker. In addition to the classical repertoire, she received worldwide acclaim for her performances of contemporary ballets, most notably Nobert Vesak’s The Ecstasy of Rita Joe and the award winning Belong pas de deux.
After Ms. Slipper left the stage, she continued her passion for music and drama, studying theatre at the honours level at the University of Winnipeg, and in Oxford, England. During the 1996/97 season, she served as ballet mistress of Alberta Ballet, and from 1997/99 as ballet mistress of Oregon Ballet Theatre. Ms. Slipper’s command of classical and contemporary styles is demonstrated in her active role of teaching and coaching younger dancers. As a guest master teacher, Ms. Slipper has worked with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Washington Ballet, Ballet Austin, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, The Jefferson Dancers and the Dance Departments of the University of Utah, Cornish College of the Arts, and the University of Iowa.
An award winning independent choreographer, Ms. Slipper is presently based in Portland, Oregon, creating dance worldwide. She has worked with prominent dance companies including the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, Oregon Ballet Theatre, Nashville Ballet, Washington Ballet, Ballet Jorgen, Louisville Ballet, Fugate/Bahiri BalletNY, Alberta Ballet, Ballet Pacifica, Cornish Dance Theater, NW Dance Project and The Jefferson Dancers. She was awarded the Grand Prize for Choreography at the International Choreographic Competition Saint Sauveur 2000 for her ballet Shattered Night, which was created on the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. During her choreographic residency at Festival des Arts in Quebec, Canada, her ballet A River In A Dry Land, was described by the Montreal Gazette as “one of the finest choreographies produced in residency.” Ms. Slipper’s works have been described as “absolutely remarkable … grippingly pits breezy romanticism against a sinister undercurrent.” (The Oregonian) and “… a complete, enclosed world, a somber yet hopeful winter landscape across which the three couples thread in a long, smoothly unfolding skein of dance.” (The New York Times)
A Fine Balance, her pas de deux created during the first year of NW Dance Project, was a finalist for the prestigious Benois de la Danse award in 2006 and was performed at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow as part of the award’s gala celebration.
Ms. Slipper has created over 40 ballets to date and is currently working on several new creations while serving as the Founding Artistic Director of NW Dance Project.
Scott Lewis has led and managed Northwest Dance Project since its inception in 2004. He holds a degree in Psychology with Honors as well as a degree in Sociology from the University of Oregon. Mr. Lewis has an extensive background in child development and education. Mr. Lewis worked as a counselor to high-risk youths (age 5 to 14) housed in state facilities for five years and is the former Director of the Los Angeles Suicide Prevention Center.
Mr. Lewis has over 15 years experience in marketing and fundraising, has been a published arts journalist for over a decade and was the Operations Manager of CD Baby, the world’s largest seller of independent music. Scott Lewis has served as a grant panelist for the Regional Arts and Cultural Council as well as on numerous arts education panels for universities in Portland.