Photo by Andy Batt from OBT.org
KC Cowan contributed to this story
PORTLAND — After 18 years at Oregon Ballet Theatre, Principal Dancer Alison Roper is hanging up her toe shoes. She has dazzled audiences for nearly two decades, but she’s 40 now, and for a dancer, that’s old. She says she has suffered from some chronic injuries that are just getting harder to recover from as the years go by.
She has been doing a little bit of teaching at OBT’s school and could expand on that, but the next chapter of her life will involve fundraising for the ballet company. Alison will be a Major Gifts Officer for OBT. As the face of OBT for so many years, she’ll now try to convince others to love it as much as she has.
“A lot of emotions are going through me for sure,” she said. “It’s a lot of trepidation and excitement to step into a new role here.”
As sad as she is to stop dancing professionally, Alison says she’s looking forward to her last show.
“Because my entire family is coming, and some of them have never seen me dance!” she said. “And it’s making me feel really happy that they’re finally going to get to see me dance.”
Her final performances will be in a show titled “Celebration.” Artistic Director Kevin Irving says Alison will be featured in two pieces, including one that is a company premier, and he’s arranged something a bit special for her.
“It’s something I’ve referred to as an excavation of Alison’s life in dance,” he says.
Tickets are on sale for the show, which opens April 17th and runs through the 26th. And if you want to see Alison’s very last performance on closing night, you’d better hurry. It’s expected to sell out.