Ulsh is out, Stowell gains leverage at OBT. Now what?

A day before the season opener, the turmoil at Oregon Ballet Theatre has taken an unsurprising turn.

Photo: Lambtron, distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License.Jon Ulsh, the embattled executive director, is out. Artistic director Christopher Stowell picks up some of his role, and chief operating officer Doug Wells will assume day-to-day management. The Oregonian’s Barry Johnson has the story on his Portland Arts Watch blog.

The ballet’s board says its decision isn’t a response to the overwhelming vote of no confidence in Ulsh by staff and dancers. But once the company’s letter of concern to the board became public, something had to be done — and this seemed the most likely outcome.

Development — read, fund-raising — apparently will become mainly the board’s responsibility. How it handles that task will be crucial to the company’s success.

Stay tuned. This story isn’t over.