"...Ballet Austin, one of Austin's two professional dance companies, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. That's special enough, but also special perhaps even more so is Ballet Austin's artistic director, Stephen Mills..."
"...This original dance is the brainchild of Ballet Austin Artistic Director Stephen Mills, who approached Hancock about bringing his work to the stage and engaged compositional wunderkind Graham Reynolds to provide its score and sounds. Together, the three set out to translate the dense, fantastic chronicle of the black-and-white Vegans, their discovery of color through the priest Sesom, and the fateful repercussions of that act from still life in two dimensions to motion and sound in three...."
"...The Holocaust was not supposed to be Stephen Mills' story to tell. He is not a survivor..."
"...This time, however, the words are missing, as Kate and Petruchio's slugfest/courtship dance is being performed by classical dancers. Ballet Austin Artistic Director Stephen Mills has turned The Taming of the Shrew into an original ballet, and its premiere this weekend at Bass Concert Hall will mark his fourth adaptation of a Shakespeare play in the past five seasons..."
"...It's the story of Dorothy Gale. And it's the story of Stephen Mills..."
"...Sheffield Award to the American Red Cross' Clara Barton Medal of Honor to the Lone Star Girl Scouts Council's Women of Distinction Award. The Hall of Fame is one more, a way of saying that, where the current state of the Austin arts is concerned, we couldn't have done it without her. Stephen Mills..."
"...And that much applied to Ballet Austin's Belle Redux: A Tale of Beauty & the Beast, just remounted by the company for the first time since its 2015 premiere. Even without the fur and fangs of a literal representation of the name, the Beast in Artistic Director Stephen Mills' adaptation read as such: A thick scarlet stripe ran from the back of his shaved skull over the crown of his head and down the center of his face, throat, and bare torso – he was clearly Other..."
"...There isn't a buckled shoe in sight, and you'll find neither hide nor hair of, well, hide or hair. For Belle Redux/A Tale of Beauty & the Beast, premiering this weekend, BA Artistic Director Stephen Mills has conjured a very different Beast – and Beauty, too...."
"...The title of Ballet Austin's program this month is Director's Choice, which is fitting since February marks the second anniversary of Stephen Mills being named the company's permanent artistic director. It has been a busy two seasons, what with Mills delivering a new full-length ballet based on Hamlet, the company being invited to perform at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and BA purchasing a new home in the Aus-Tex print building downtown..."
"...It was as though the tangled quartet was one conglomerate body, the comic side of all love's conflicting intentions and realities represented by Helena, Demetrius, Hermia, and Lysander. Stephen Mills' choreography – performed by Jaime Lynn Witts, Christopher Swaim, Ashley Lynn Gilfix, and Frank Shott, respectively – was often astonishing: a dance saturated with intricate twists and turns whipped to peaks with slapstick and daredevil moves..."
"...Stephen Mills in Ashes When Austin has a winner, everybody knows it, right? The local newsrags trumpet the achievements of the hometown champion in 40-point boldface type, area news jocks and other microphone wranglers breathlessly repeat the victor's name and recount the circumstances of the triumphant deed, municipal merchants use their businesses' signs to pay tribute to the woman or man of the hour, and city politicos confer civic laurels on the honor winner. For weeks after the event, you can catch the accomplishment being dissected detail by detail in print, on the airwaves, and around water coolers from one end of Austin to the other..."
"...As Dave Steakley works in theatre, Stephen Mills in dance, and Craig Hella Johnson in music, you might not think that the three would have much in common. But all have been in Austin for at least two decades, in which time they've been witness to great changes in the city, and as the longtime artistic directors of Zach Theatre, Ballet Austin, and Conspirare, respectively, they've been responsible for their share of great changes in the arts scene..."
"...An Evening With Stephen Mills: Versatility and Anxious Warmth..."
"...On Friday, Dec. 1, I went to the Old Firehouse where Ballet Austin has its studios to interview Stephen Mills, the artistic director of Ballet Austin and the choreographer of The Nutcracker, and Gina Patterson, who's dancing the Sugar Plum Fairy, the Snow Queen, Clara's mother, and Clara's governess in this year's Nutcracker..."
"...The program has given young creators invaluable exposure. If that could work so well for early-career painters and sculptors, wondered Ballet Austin artistic director Stephen Mills, why couldn't something similar work for the country's choreographers?..."
"...Oh, its traditional ballets – The Nutcracker, Cinderella, Giselle, et al. – delight and have grown in technique and style during the tenure of Stephen Mills, BA's artistic director since 2000..."
"...Hamlet, which premiered in 2000 as part of Stephen Mills' inaugural season as Ballet Austin's artistic director, comes back to remind Austin just what a difference nine years can make...."
"...When Ballet Austin Artistic Director Stephen Mills first turned The Taming of the Shrew into a ballet four years ago, he bestowed the plum role of Kate on Allysin Paino, who tore into the role with a comic ferocity that was both hilarious and amazing to see. This week, Mills is reviving the ballet with Paino reprising her role as the Shakespearean spitfire, so the Chronicle checked in with her about the pleasures of playing Kate and the demands of the role...."
"...Watching Petruchio attempt to wrangle this Kate in Ballet Austin's The Taming of the Shrew was like watching a reckless mouse try to put a bell around the neck of a wildcat -- a fool's errand but a damned entertaining one. Choreographer Stephen Mills packed his adaptation of Shakespeare's comedy with a rollicking physicality that spun ballet into slapstick and twirled slapstick into ballet..."
"...Stephen Mills, currently associate artistic director of Ballet Austin...."