Biography

Michael began training in central Iowa at the Betty Hill Dance Studios, and under the guidance of Robert Thomas and Miyoko Kato-Thomas at the Robert Thomas Dancenter. He furthered his dance education as a scholarship recipient of the Milwaukee Ballet School, Boston Ballet School, and the School of American Ballet. Following an early graduation from high school, Michael accepted an invitation to train with American Ballet Theatre. During his tenure in NYC, Michael taught at Steps on Broadway and the Peridance Capezio Center. Over the next 18 years, Michael accepted a number of prominent appointments, leading him to explore opportunities throughout the USA, EU and Asia. While dancing the male leads in the classical staples, and in works by Ashton, Balanchine, Baryshnikov, De Mille, Dow, Duato, Fokine, Fosse, Gamonet, Kylian, Massine, Prokovsky, Robbins, Tharp, and Tudor, Michael developed a love for choreography. 

 

Within the last 12 years, Michael’s choreography has been performed across the United States, Japan, Iceland, Australia, France, Romania, Dubai, Spain, Puerto Rico, and Mexico. His work was highlighted in the international documentary “Dance the Dream at 50” produced by acclaimed filmmaker Richard Karz. Michael was a 2017 Ballet Arkansas Visions Choreographic Competition finalist, and his work was previously selected for display at the European Contemporary Choreographic Initiative. As an educator, Michael frequently travels throughout the United States, Canada, Japan, and France. He is a frequent guest instructor for the Cecchetti Council of America where is is the founding Artistic Director of the Enhanced Men’s Training Program, a competition judge, and a chief fundraiser. Michael is a sought after adjudicator and frequent jury member of Japan Ballet Association’s Hokkaido Ballet Competition. 

 

Most recently after a 7 year stint as a principal dancer and choreographer with the Alabama Ballet, Michael was appointed Executive and Artistic Director of Ballet Arkansas in July, 2017. Since that time, Ballet Arkansas has tripled the number of seasonal performances while elevating the quality of it's programming to include classical and contemporary masterpieces by world renowned choreographers, full-length world premieres, innovative multimedia infused programming, and a highly popular series of interactive performances devoted to young audiences. Michael has emboldened the organization's repertoire by adding signature works by distinguished choreographers such as George Balanchine, Gerald Arpino, Agnes De Mille, Alice Klock, Florian Lochner, Yoshito Sakaraba, and Christopher Wheeldon, among others. Under his direction, Ballet Arkansas nearly doubled its operational budget within a mere 2 years, enjoying a subscription sales increase of 47%, a gross ticket sales increase of nearly 40%, and a fundraising increase of nearly 75%. Michael is highly active building educational and civic partnerships in the community, nearly 26 in 2 years. He is a sought after lecturer in dance history and business, and was previously a faculty member at Samford University. Since moving to Arkansas, Michael has spoken at UA-Little Rock, the Arkansas Arts Center, Walton Arts Center, and at UA-Pulaski Tech's Center for Humanities and Arts. Most recently, Michael served as a guest artist in residence at Belhaven University. In addition to his duties at Ballet Arkansas, Michael is a freelance consultant specializing in development, branding, and program development, and is a ever-grateful husband to his lovely wife, Catherine. 

© 2020 Michael Fothergill. All rights reserved

.