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Timothy O’Donnell
Prince of Pirouettes


Landing a spot in a premiere dance company is no entrechat in the park, but Timothy O’Donnell’s path to the Milwaukee Ballet was longer than most, and not just because it involved a 9,000-mile trip from his native Australia. O’Donnell was selected as a finalist at the company’s 2009 Genesis Choreographic Competition, then won first prize, then returned in 2010 to set another dance on the company, and was named artist-and-resident choreographer in 2012. With ballet roles to play – Paris in Romeo & Juliet, Rothbart in Swan Lake, among others – O’Donnell spends a lot of time in the studio doing other people’s steps. But he’s always on the lookout for dancers who “inhabit movement that embodies something and expresses emotion.” And he’s always listening – mixing and remixing music on his iPod to find a potent musical combination. You can see that in last season’s Children of the Wall, a sinuous and sexy meditation on the legacy of a divided Berlin that blends music and text with the skill of an experienced DJ. And he’s working on two pieces for the MB II junior company.

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