The phrase “being in the right place at the right time” certainly applied to Jorden Morris in the lead-up to his appointment as Orlando Ballet’s new artistic director. Morris, the company’s artist in residence, happened to be in Orlando, preparing to set his production of The Great Gatsby on the company this past August, when the artistic director Robert Hill abruptly stepped down after 13 years. Jonathan Ledden, the company’s board president, swiftly asked Morris to take over as guest artistic director for the company’s 2021–22 season. Then, after a monthslong national search for Hill’s permanent replacement, the board selected Morris by unanimous vote on December 16.
A native of Banff in Alberta, Canada, Morris spent 11 years as a dancer with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, where he rose to principal. He later studied theater arts and choreography at New York University. Morris served as chief ballet master and interim director at Boston Ballet, associate school director for the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, and artistic director of Edmonton Citie Ballet. As a choreographer, he may be best known for his popular productions of Peter Pan (2006) and Moulin Rouge (2009).
Pointe spoke with Morris shortly after his appointment to learn more about his plans for the company.
How has your career prepared you for your new post at Orlando Ballet?
I think with a company like Orlando Ballet, which has an attached school, my prior experience at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School gave me a lot of tools and knowledge on how the two should run when they are under the same roof. I find it very valuable as a director to have that intimate understanding of the educational side of the organization as well as the artistic performing side.