Orlando, FL — Friday, August 13, 2021 — Orlando Ballet announced today that Artistic Director Robert Hill has stepped down after 13 years with the company that saw unprecedented growth and artistic excellence.
“Robert has been instrumental in leading Orlando Ballet to where we are today,” said Jonathan Ledden, board president. “The company has grown a strong repertoire, moved into its new performance home at Dr. Phillips Center, and built a permanent home at Harriett’s Orlando Ballet Centre. Robert’s exceptional creativity produced beautiful works that more than doubled our audience. We thank him for a job well done.”
Hill shared a farewell statement with the staff, donors, and the Board of Orlando Ballet: “Gratitude – a word I use so often is what I express to everyone in the Orlando Ballet family and community. I am incredibly grateful for the 13 wonderful years leading the organization. Creativity and leadership can be exhausting, especially when combined with recovering from a full knee replacement. After 13 years, with the company in such great shape, with incredible artists, faculty, staff and Board, now is the time to take some time off. I look forward to having time to focus on my recovery and to moving forward. Thank you all for your endless love and support.”
Jorden Morris, the current Choreographer-in-Residence, has been appointed as Guest Artistic Director for Orlando Ballet’s 2021-22 season. Morris is well-known to Orlando Ballet staff, dancers, students, and audiences for the 2020-2021 season performances of his works Moulin Rouge and Peter Pan. Both are among the most popular performances in Orlando Ballet’s history, despite Covid limitations.
Morris brings a distinguished resume of experience that will not only ensure a strong 2021-22 season but continue the company’s trajectory built by the Board, administrative and artistic leadership over the last several years. Morris’s appointment was unanimously approved by the Orlando Ballet Board of Directors.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed working with Orlando Ballet over the past year as Choreographer in Residence,” said Morris. “Robert Hill has created and maintained a strong dance presence in the community. The talented company of committed artists, experienced and exceptional teachers and artistic staff are a joy to work with. The Board and executive leaders have a true understanding and respect for the art form. The organization as a whole is well-situated for the next chapter of its growth and development within the dance world.”
“We are grateful to Robert for the company he has built and I have been honored to serve as his partner over the last year and a half,” said Cheryl Collins, executive director. “We also look forward to what Jorden will bring to us this season. In addition to his artistry, we are incredibly excited about Jorden’s unique understanding of the business and the production side of ballet. His experience will benefit Orlando Ballet well beyond the stage and be an important component to coalescing our next long-range plan and some big projects we have in store.”
Completion of major initiatives set in the 2017 Long Range Plan and successfully navigating a challenging 2020 provide a natural transition point for Orlando Ballet and for Hill. Leadership at Orlando Ballet School will remain with School Director Phillip Broomhead, which is experiencing record attendance and significant expansion for dancers of all ages.
“Dr. Phillips Charities has supported the Orlando Ballet for many years. Robert Hill has been the constant light for over a decade always assuring us the ballet will succeed and always producing a world class product. During the past three years the ballet has been undergoing a renaissance with a new building and much improved financials. We are confident that the Board, Robert and leadership have placed the Orlando Ballet in a great position to navigate this transition and to flourish in the future,” said Kenneth Robinson, president Dr. Phillips Charities.
The Orlando Ballet Board appointed a search committee, led by board member Jayne Willis, retired Orlando Health Chief Nurse Executive and current adjunct faculty at University of Central Florida College of Nursing. The committee will conduct a worldwide search to identify an artistic leader to continue the company’s momentum.
“The company sits on a rock-solid foundation with a firm financial footing as we begin the next chapter of Orlando Ballet, and prepares for our 50th anniversary in 2024,” concluded Ledden.