Artistic Staff

Ben Stevenson, O.B.E.

Artistic Director

Ben Stevenson, a native of Portsmouth, England, received his dance training at the Arts Educational School in London. He appeared with the Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet and English National Ballet where, as a principal dancer, he performed leading roles in all the classics.

He has received numerous awards for his choreography, including three gold medals at the International Ballet Competitions of 1972, 1982, and 1986. For his contributions to international dance, Mr. Stevenson was named an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (O.B.E.) by Queen Elizabeth II in December 1999. In April 2000, he was presented with the Dance Magazine Award. Mr. Stevenson assumed the artistic directorship of Texas Ballet Theater in July 2003.

Previously he served as artistic director of Houston Ballet (1976-2003), elevating the company from a regional troupe to an internationally acclaimed ensemble.

“I’ve been blessed with an artistic staff, company of dancers and administration, who hand-in-hand, strive to produce the finest dance performances.”

Tim O’Keefe

Associate Artistic Director

A native Houstonian, Tim O’Keefe was awarded a scholarship to Houston Ballet Academy in 1981, joined the company one year later, was promoted to Soloist in 1985, and was named Principal Dancer in 1995.

In 1997, Houston Ballet Artistic Director Ben Stevenson created the title role of Dracula for Tim. Tim has choreographed works for Houston Ballet’s Cullen Contemporary Series and for Houston Ballet Academy, as well as Love Thing and Ragtime Dance for Texas Ballet Theater. This is Tim’s thirteenth season with TBT.

Li Anlin

Assistant Artistic Director

Li Anlin was born in Nanjing, China. At age 13 he began training with Beijing Dance Academy and joined the Young Dancers Company upon graduation. In 1982, he joined the Central Ballet of China (now the National Ballet of China) and in 1985 was invited by Ivan Nagy to join Ballet de Santiago. In 1989, Mr. Stevenson invited him to join Houston Ballet as a Soloist. Li has been the Assistant Artistic Director at TBT since 2005.

Anna Donovan

Principal Ballet Master

A native of Ireland, Anna Donovan won a scholarship to train at the Royal Ballet School in England when she was ten years old. After performing in Kaiserslautern, Germany she joined the Irish National Ballet in 1973 and was rapidly promoted to Principal Dancer.

She joined the staff of Ballet Dallas in 1991, serving as Principal Ballet  Mistress/Repetiteur and instructor of the Dallas Conservatory of Ballet. She is included in The Who’s Who of Teachers in America 2000, 2001 and 2005. Anna joined the artistic staff as Principal Ballet Master in 2000.

Justin Urso

Manager of Artistic and Production Operations

A native of Detroit, Michigan, Justin joined Texas Ballet Theater in 2004 and danced with the company through 2010. In 2013, Justin returned to his roots and graduated with a BFA in Musical Theater from the University of Michigan. He worked as a featured dancer in national and international Broadway Tours including Come Fly Away (Twyla Tharp) and performed as a featured artist in Little Dancer (Kennedy Center) and Guys and Dolls (Carnegie Hall). Justin is honored to be back at home with his wife and daughter and with Texas Ballet Theater as the Company Manager, where he works with both the Artistic and Executive Directors, the Artistic Staff, and the incredible artists of Texas Ballet Theater.