in the arts

Ballet Austin's Stephen Mills to merge innovation & movement in new piece commissioned by 3M

Ballet Austin's Stephen Mills to merge innovation & movement in new piece commissioned by 3M

Austin Photo: Author_Stephen Mills
Stephen Mills
Austin Photo Set: News_Elle_Stephen Mills_3M award_ballet_sept 2012_taming of the shrew
The Taming of the Shrew, choreographed by Stephen Mills. Photo by Tony Spielberg
Austin Photo: Author_Stephen Mills
Austin Photo Set: News_Elle_Stephen Mills_3M award_ballet_sept 2012_taming of the shrew

Imagine being hired to create: to be original, to push the envelope of innovation. While originality is no easy task, it is a call for exquisite imagination.

Stephen Mills, Artistic Director and choreographer for Ballet Austin, has been awarded this honorable and thrilling opportunity.

Earlier this month, Ballet Austin announced that Stephen Mills has been granted an extraordinary 3M Innovation Commission to create an original full-length ballet.

The project fuses a corporate company’s dedication to originality with Ballet Austin’s pioneering work, hinging on the notion of innovation — an attribute that 3M has undoubtedly harnessed over its decades of success.

Ballet Austin board member, and 3M Executive Vice President, Dr. Joaquin Delgado crafted the concept to merge corporate and artistic creativity with Mills in mind. “People think of innovation as a process, but it is more and deeper, it is a culture,” Dr. Delgado says.

“The attainment of a culture of innovation is what has made 3M successful for over a century. Cultures are made by people and the ‘innovation culture’ is no exception. Innovation touches our lives in so many ways every single day.  I am excited to see how Stephen Mills and Ballet Austin will bring innovation to the stage and communicate the magic of humans working together in the search of innovation.”

The project allows Mills an opportunity that most choreographers will never experience: He will conduct research through July 2013, while simultaneously collaborating with 3M international scientists, inventors and experts to develop schemes rooted in the process of innovation.

“3M is a pioneer in changing lives through innovation. That, to me, is art; creativity at its highest level,” explains Mills.

To those well-immersed in the world of ballet, the mission granted to Mills may come as no surprise. In 2004, The Washington Post hailed Ballet Austin as “one of the nation's best kept secrets" for its performance of Mills’ Taming of the Shrew, commissioned by the The John F. Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC.

The collaboration between 3M and Mills’ will culminate in a full-length ballet that is scheduled to premiere in Ballet Austin's 2014 season.