EXECUTIVE AND ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
Michael began his dance training in central Iowa at the Betty Hill Dance Studios, and continued his study of classical ballet under the guidance of Robert Thomas and Miyoko Kato-Thomas of the Robert Thomas Dancenter. He was a full scholarship recipient of the Milwaukee Ballet School, Boston Ballet School, and the School of American Ballet, and following an early graduation from high school, Michael accepted an invitation to further his studies with American Ballet Theatre in New York City. While in New York, Michael taught at such prestigious institutions as Steps on Broadway and the Peridance Capezio Center, and over the next 20 years, accepted a number of prominent appointments as a principal dancer, choreographer and dance educator across the USA, Europe, and Asia. Michael has performed the male leads in the classical staples, and in celebrated works by Ashton, Balanchine, Baryshnikov, De Mille, Dow, Duato, Fokine, Fosse, Gamonet, Kylian, Massine, Prokovsky, Robbins, Tharp, and Tudor, among others.
Within the last 15 years, Michael’s choreography has been performed across the United States, Japan, Iceland, Australia, France, Romania, Dubai, Spain, Puerto Rico, and Mexico, and his work was highlighted on film within the international documentary “Dance the Dream at 50” produced by acclaimed filmmaker Richard Karz. As a dance educator, Michael's experience spans the United States, Canada, Japan, and France. Michael was a faculty member of the Department of Theatre and Dance at Samford University, one of the region's preeminent private universities, and in 2020, was appointed Guest Artist in Residence of the Dance Department at Belhaven University. Michael is a frequent guest instructor for the Cecchetti Council of America's International Summer School, where he is the founding Artistic Director of the Enhanced Men’s Training Program, and has served on the juries of Japan Ballet Association's Hokkaido Ballet Competition and the CCA Classical Ballet Competition.
Michael began his relationship with Ballet Arkansas as a finalist in the Ballet Arkansas Visions Choreographic Competition in the winter of 2017, and following a 7 year stint as principal dancer and choreographer with the Alabama Ballet, he was appointed Executive and Artistic Director of Ballet Arkansas in July of the same year. Since that time, Michael has revitalized the organization's programming and operations, allowing for the doubling of its gross operating budget and an exponential expansion of its programming. Michael has diversified and emboldened the organizations repertory by adding the signature works of distinguished choreographers such as George Balanchine, Gerald Arpino, Agnes De Mille, Alice Klock, Florian Lochner, Yoshito Sakaraba, Ma Cong, Christopher Wheeldon, and Madison Hicks. Ballet Arkansas is now ranked as one of the Top 100 Professional Ballet Companies in the United States by that Dance Data Project, and was rated Best Performing Arts Organization in Arkansas in 2018 and 2020 by the readers of the Arkansas Times - runner up in 2019.
Since moving to Arkansas, Michael has lectured at UA-Little Rock, the Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts, Walton Arts Center, and at UA-Pulaski Technical College's Center for Humanities and Arts.He consults in the areas of public relations, fundraising, brand management and program development, and is an active member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and Americans for the Arts. In 2020, Arkansas Money & Politics recognized Michael as one of the Top 100 Professionals in Arkansas. Beyond his many endeavors in the arts, Michael enjoys spending time exploring the world with his lovely wife, Catherine, and relaxing with a good book.