Dorothy O'Shea Overbey grew up in Austin, Texas, training at Ballet Austin and performing corps de ballet roles with the company. As a teenager she performed in traditional productions of Swan Lake, Giselle, Coppelia, and Paquita, as well as in artistic director Lambros Lambrou’s original production of Romeo and Juliet, and an original ballet about the life of Tchaikovsky. During this time she trained in classical piano as a private student of Dr. Amanda Vick Lethco, Head of Piano Pedagogy at the Butler School of Music at the University of Texas.
Dorothy graduated cum laude from Southern Methodist University in 1999 with degrees in Dance Performance and Philosophy. While at SMU, she danced principal roles in the Meadows Dance Ensemble and began work as a choreographer. In addition to choreographing for multiple student productions, her ballet Les Joueurs was performed at SMU’s Commencement Ceremony in 1999. Most notably, Dorothy was coached by the Royal Ballet’s Valerie Taylor while dancing the Prelude variation from Les Sylphides, and American Ballet Theater’s Jeremy Blanton while dancing the title role in the ballet Raymonda. Under the direction of Dr. Shelley Berg, she performed in the reconstruction of Anthony Tudor ballets Soirée Musicale and Fandango. While at SMU Dorothy was particularly influenced by visiting professor and celebrated Martha Graham dancer Ethel Winter.
After graduating from SMU, Dorothy spent a year as an apprentice with Colorado Ballet and then went on to dance with David Taylor Dance Theater, Ballet Nouveau Colorado, California Ballet, and Aspen Santa Fe Ballet. After moving to New York in 2004, Dorothy danced for Ballet NY (Judith Fugate and Medhi Bahiri, artistic directors), Dances Patrelle, Collective Body Dance Lab, John-Mark Owen Presents, and many other choreographers and companies, working in a wide range of styles. She also regularly performed as a guest artist with regional ballet companies, most frequently in the Grand Pas De Deux of The Nutcracker.
While in New York, Dorothy began acting, training at the Atlantic Theater School and appearing in indie films, commercials, and an off-broadway production of Don Nigro’s The Sphinx. She was also cast as a dancer in Darren Aronofsky’s film Black Swan.
Dorothy returned to Austin in 2012 and this is her third year on faculty at the Department of Theatre and Dance at the University of Texas at Austin. Along with Magdalena Riley and Sara Paul, Dorothy is a co-founder of Austin Community Ballet, a organization of Austin area dancers who provide affordable, professional quality ballet classes. At ACB, the dancer who teaches class also dances themselves. This creates a unique environment of collaboration and information sharing, in contrast to the traditional ‘teacher-student’ power structure of classical ballet.
In the summer of 2015 while participating in a summer intensive workshop at UT’s department of Radio-Television-Film, Dorothy wrote and directed Prelude, her first short film. Prelude, and Prelude Variation, a solo dance work exploring similar themes, were premiered at Cheryl Chaddick’s Fall For Dance Festival in September. Dorothy is currently working to obtain music rights for Prelude so it can be submitted to festivals.
In the Fall of 2015 as a guest performing artist with the Department of Theatre and Dance, Dorothy performed in Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet veteran Manuel Vignoulle’s Maximizing the Audience, as well as in her own work, Prelude Variation, at the Fall for Dance Concert at the B. Iden Payne Theater.
In early 2016, Dorothy worked as a choreographer, dancer and producer on String Circle, a multi-media collaboration with The Cordova Quartet, musicians of the Butler Music School, MFA candidates in Dance and Integrated Media, and recent BFA Dance graduates. String Circle was performed at SXSW 2016, at Bates Recital Hall at UT in March, and at the Blanton Museum of Art in April.
As of Fall of 2016, Dorothy is developing a new film, Crone. Set in a lush and textured fantasy world, using an original score, this film will further explore a genre that blends silent film and dance film. Crone is supported in part by the City of Austin Cultural Arts Division and a crowd-funding effort is planned for Summer of 2017.