Artistic Director & Co-Founder
Artistic Director and Co-Founder, Robert Guitron has been at the helm of Polaris since its inception in 2002. He continues to map the organization’s artistic vision, physical growth, and success in the Portland area and beyond. Guitron’s 30+ years working in dance has taken him throughout the world performing and choreographing for many prestigious dance companies and performing arts organizations. Aside from his repertory work, Guitron’s credits and accolades come from his involvement in many outreach programs, operatic performances, musicals, music videos, and collaborations with corporations, artists and charitable organizations.
Guitron’s mission is to nurture the next generation of dancers through his signature teaching and guidance. His students have been accepted into both national and international dance companies and colleges, such as Alvin Ailey, Merce Cunningham Dance Company, KDNY, The Julliard School, and Batsheva Dance Company.
The Oregon Arts Commission supports three grant programs and funds them through the State of Oregon and the Oregon Cultural Trust as well as federal dollars from the National Endowment for the Arts. Guitron was one of 13 Oregon artists approved by the Oregon Arts Commission for the 2011 Individual Artist Fellowship funding.
Guitron is at his happiest both professionally and personally when he gets to share his life-long passion for dance, music and the arts!
Like most choreographers Polaris’ Artistic Director, Robert Guitron has a passion for music of all genres and an extensive music library to choose from when planning new work. Even so, there are times when it is impossible to find the right piece of music to fit an entire work of dance. Faced with this challenge many choreographers resort to splicing different selections of music together. Being an accomplished musician, Guitron prefers to compose his own score as he has done for many of Polaris Dance Theatre’s works: Red Tied, Solomente and Cling.
Born in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Guitron’s father was a jazz drummer and performed in the local clubs. Since early childhood, Guitron has played many instruments including the accordion, the flute, the sax and the clarinet. Later he picked up piano and began training in classical music theory and composition. He also played sax in a fusion jazz band called Homemade Jam. As a child, it was not in his nature to play music as it was written, which often frustrated his instructors. One instructor compromised by advising Guitron to play a piece as he felt it should have been written in addition to making an effort to play it in the existing version. This began a life long passion for original composition.
Guitron’s scores are based in a modern classical style. However, he enjoys mixing in contemporary music chord progressions and tempos to create specific effects. He composes his work digitally using a keyboard programmed to make many instrumental and vocal sounds. The resulting compositions have a full orchestral sound. In order to make the music sound more human, he purposefully programs slight deviations from the exact tempo.
Guitron is known for his innovative, enthusiastic creativity, pushing the boundaries of choreography and musical composition, and for his kindness and dedication to the board, staff, dancers and community members of Polaris Dance Theatre. Take a look at our upcoming productions to see Guitron’s original compositions for yourself.