Since debuting in 1989, the Oregon Ballet Theatre has built its reputation on two seemingly opposed elements: strict balletic classicism and newly commissioned works. Now the theatre enters a new era under artistic director Kevin Irving, whose background spans both classical and contemporary performances. As a dancer, Irving appeared with scores of companies, including the Alvin Ailey Training Ensemble and Elisa Monte Dance Company. In 1994, he retired from the stage to take a position as ballet master and head of the artistic department with Nacho Duato?s Compa?ia Nacional de Danza in Spain. Irving looks to take the Oregon Ballet Theatre to new heights, riffing off rave reviews from the Oregonian's Bob Hicks, who wrote that the theatre's Swan Lake is ?a work of sumptuous geometric balances that echo the story's mirror-image theme.?