© 2020 Michael Fothergill. All rights reserved

.

Selected Reviews 

Recommendation Letters 

Additional recommendations and/or references may be furnished upon request.

 

 

 

 

 

"Catherine Garratt and Michael Fothergill are a convincing couple and excellent actors in the title roles. I saw them dance together earlier in the season and I wanted to see more of them. I still want to see more of them." Romeo and Juliet ~ Rachel Hellwig, Critical Dance

 

"As the ballet’s most famous character, the Sugar Plum Fairy, Catherine Garratt dances with poise, delicacy, and radiance. With her Cavalier, Michael Fothergill, they imbue the pas de deux with regal and romantic coloring. They are so believable as a couple, even the way they take each other’s hands has a special charge. It’s always a delight to see them dance together and their partnership has enriched every Alabama Ballet production that I’ve seen them appear in." George Balanchine's The Nutcracker ~ Rachel Hellwig, Artsbham.com

 

"Company dancer Michael Fothergill's “Laid to Wrest” toyed with the emotions of relationships – the anguish and sorrow of rejection, the elation of coming together. Four door frames, placed at varying depths on the stage, served to bring each of four couples into focus, often while a single figure observed from a distance. Music by Schubert, Chopin and Schumann enhanced the ambiance. Ed Zuckerman's lighting and Wendy Gamble's costumes – women in black, men in blue – contributed to the clean, spare, elegant look." Laid to Wrest ~ Michael Heubner, AL.com

 

"As James, Michael Fothergill was agitated and troubled, chasing his vision relentlessly until, under an evil spell, he kisses her, her wings fall off and she dies.......Fothergill's agile leaps and turns were confidently executed. " La Sylphide ~ Michael Heubner, AL.com

 

"The mild-mannered Jonathan, portrayed in Thursday's show by Michael Fothergill, danced with strength and fluidity with his newly betrothed Mina, Catherine Garratt dancing and acting out that role with elegant sophistication." Dracula ~ Michael Heubner, AL.com

 

Michael Fothergill’s “Within Them, A Great Divide” incorporates a table and chairs into the choreography. As dancers manipulate the furniture and move through tender, tense and quirky music by Philip Glass and German pianist/composer Hauschka, you often don’t focus on any one thing, but absorb the action as a whole. It’s intricate, eye-catching, and imaginative. Arova Contemporary Ballet's "Exist" ~ Rachel Hellwig, Artsbham.com

 

"As Prince Siegfried, Michael Fothergill was a fine partner in the two pas de deux (White Swan, Black Swan), providing strength, support and virtuosity." Swan Lake ~ Michael Heubner, AL.com 

 

"As Albrecht, Giselle's deceiving betrothed, Michael Fothergill partnered with muscle and agility, turning in several strong solos and -- more impressively -- a slow, elegant pas de deux with Owada in Act 2 that cannot have been as easy as it looked." Giselle ~ Michael Heubner, AL.com

 

"Fothergill and Garratt made a fine pairing. Their pas de deux at the end of Act 1 – their lifts, jumps, turns on pointe, and cross-stage movement – was the dance highlight." Jekyll and Hyde ~ Michael Heubner, AL.com

 

The earthy architecture of Michael Fothergill’s “Chiaroscuro,” a reprise from this past spring’s “Ovation,” reads well up close, perhaps even better than it does on a larger stage. The immediacy of the emotion enhances its rawness, as percussive movements suggest rituals of mourning and loss. Alabama Ballet At Home ~ Rachel Hellwig, Artsbham.com

 

“Chiaroscuro,” by Alabama Ballet dancer Michael Fothergill, displayed effective dramatic sensibility in its choreography, music selections and structure. The costumes, a collaboration between Fothergill and Alabama Ballet costume director Wendy Gamble, are tastefully simple. “Chiaroscuro” was a good fit for Alabama Ballet’s dancers....The concluding work, “Les Patineurs” (“The Skaters”), is a glittering, witty gem from 1937 created by British choreographer Sir Frederick Ashton. Catherine Garratt and Michael Fothergill are a glowing romantic couple in the pas de deux. " Ovation ~ Rachel Hellwig, Artsbham.com

 

"Fothergill portrays the pastor with sensitivity and authority, and his duets with Garratt are among the high points of the ballet. Garratt is one of those rare dance actresses who thoroughly embodies her character from start to finish. Together, Fothergill and Garratt imbue “Fall River Legend” with rich emotional content." Agnes de Mille's Fall River Legend ~ Rachel Hellwig, Artsbham.com

"The trio of couples easily commanded their dances, but especially engrossing were Michael Fothergill and Catherine Garratt, one of Alabama Ballet’s most effective pairings. Their duet in this work is one of their best performances yet. It draws out both the radiant and subtle shades of chemistry that color their rich dance partnership." "Tango Tango" ~ Rachel Hellwig, Artsbham.com

"As the monarch of the Land of Sweets, Catherine Garratt Fothergill exuded the angelic, motherly side of Balanchine’s Sugarplum Fairy in her character’s famous solo. The fluidity and projection of her upper body beautifully set against her delicate pointe work — she steps as if tip-toeing across stars. Later, in the arms of her strong and regal Cavalier, Michael Fothergill, she exudes the other side of Balanchine’s Sugarplum Fairy — romantic abandon. The pair’s continually deepening partnership shines in this production. They are an asset to the company." George Balanchine's "The Nutcracker" 2016 ~ Rachel Hellwig, Artsbham.com

 

"Michael Fothergill, in particular, was spot on scene after scene. To say that Fothergill is a talent to watch would be an understatement. He demonstrated absolute mastery of his every movement throughout the performance with an expression of utter confidence on his face all the while." Twisted Tango ~ Jason A. Zwiker, Charleston City Paper

 

"Stars of the evening were Stephanie Bussell, Michael Fothergill and Roy Men Wei Gan, but the entire company was spell-binding as it performed Bahr's complex versions of the tango in wildly dramatic yet tightly controlled sequences" Twisted Tango ~ Dottie Ashley, Charleston Post and Courier

 

"Particularly notable were James Peronto as Rawlings Lowndes (the bratty brother) and Michael Fothergill as his father. Fothergill had the best stage presence of the company." The Nutcracker ~ George Hubbard, Charlestn Post an Courier

 

"In "She Came in Through the Bathroom Window," Andrea DeVries and the magnetic Fothergill exuded a gutsy, devil-may-care feeling that real change just might happen. And even though it's not the '60s, it looks like it has." Beatlemania ~ Dottie Ashley, Charleston Post and Courier

 

"Rather, Bahr created a very real tension between the three dancers. Bussel continually fights off Gan's advances. Like a controlling pimp, Gan thrusts her in strong lustful movements. Fighting to get free, she slaps him. Fothergill, the caring hero, then arrives to cradle Bussel in his arms and carry her off stage." Twisted Tango ~ Kinsey Labberton, Charleston City Paper

 

"The female lead, Jessica Roan, was torn between a debonair Dick Tracy-type, Michael Fothergill, and the fiery, devilish Roy Wei Meng Gan. The males had very strong and distinct dance styles, with Fothergill exuding elegance and beautiful ballet style and Gan presenting a fierce force to be reckoned with." Twisted Tango ~ Gervase Caycedo, Chareleston City Paper

 

"Stand-out selections included the opener "Esmeralda Pas de Deux" — traditional movement performed on point in formal tutu by Melody Staples and male lead Michael Fothergill. The couple treated us to classical ballet at its best, with precision movements, elegant lifts, and solid adagio elements." Evening of Pas de Deux ~ Kinsey Labberton, Charleston City Paper 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To whom it may concern;

 

I am please to expound upon Michael Fothergill's skills as a choreographer and teacher of classical and contemporary dance. I observed Mr. Fothergill's work while we were in residence at the Robert Thomas Dancenter in Ames, Iowa 3 years ago. It was clear that as a teacher he gained and maintained the students high respect and they worked very hard for him, leading to much development. He imparted a lot of knowledge, taking the necessary time for individual attention, therefore fostering great improvement. Michael gives a well balanced class and is truly interested in technique, musicality, and quality of movement as opposed to just the outer appearances. It is important to him that each of his students understands the material, and becomes capable of adaptation to the requirements of the class. As a choreographer, his work pushed the envelope, as he likes to experiment with ideas which keeps his movement fresh, alive and intriguing.

Mr. Fothergill is a thorough professional and I am positive that he will be a positive asset to any program or company that he becomes a part of in the future. Please do not hesitate to contact me for any further reference on Michael Fothergill's work. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely
Kennet Oberly

International Master Instructor/ Ballet Master

 

 

 

To whom it may concern;

 

I am writing you this letter to express my sincere professional respect for Michael Fothergill. I have had the pleasure of working with Michael over the course of the last 7 years as a partner, an instructor, and a choreographer I have studied and danced with several different schools and companies in Japan, Canada and the United States, but I have never met a teacher with such passion or attention to detail like Mr. Fothergill. He respects the history of ballet and values a correct technique. He is a clean, strong, technically fluid dancer and expressive dancer. I believe that students would be very fortunate to learn from such an artist, one that is still young and entirely capable of such an impressive performance. His instruction is clear to the point, and what he says is simple for all to understand. He is able to teach different methods and aestetics as well as various ages and levels of students. He knows appropriate class regimens for each level and one can easily observe his students improve and grow to understand the differences in methods. Michael teaches a remarkable contemporary class. Simply put, students become dancers within his class. Students learn crisp, unaffected technique in his ballet class and then, how to free it up within his contemporary class. Students and professionals adore him, he is very encouraging and keeps the classroom bright. 

As a choreographer, I strongly believe, Michael is a treasure. He can choreograph classical, neo-classical and contemporary works to great acclaim. I have had opportunities to dance his works both in the USA and while in Japan, all receiving great reviews. I have also assisted with his creations and am always astonished by the way he visualizes his work.  He can pull things out of dancers that they didn't even know they were capable of. I have seen it and felt it myself. 

 

Should you have any questions or  should you desire a character reference, please do not hesitate to contact me. I believe that Michael  would be a wonderful and thoroughly professional addition to any team. Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Miki Kawamura

Principal Dancer

Oklahoma City Ballet

Guest Faculty

Takako Classical Ballet of Japan 

 

 

 

To whom it may concern;

 

I am writing this letter of recommendation on behalf of my former esteemed colleague, Michael Fothergill. As a dancer, choreographer and teacher, Michael is exceptional in his commitment, his vision and his creative abilities. His skills as a dancer are commendable as is his attention to detail - far beyond the standard of classical technique, position him as one who is understands his work at a deep and profound level. His innovative approach and enthusiasm definitely positions him as one who will continually be successful in his field. I have had the privilege of having Michael choreograph on me before. He brings a unique and adventurous sensibility that embodies all that we value in society : freedom and innovation. His work as a choreographer is riveting, sublime and not least importantly, marketable. I have no doubt in my mind that Michael will continue to evolve as an emerging choreographer with a loud and important voice. 

On a personal note, I find Michael to be a genuinely kind and generous person. It has been a great joy to work alongside with him and experience the artistry and honesty and sense of adventure that he brings to everything that he does. Michael is indeed a young man with unlimited creative potential. I feel in my heart that he will have a unique and positive impact on the world of dance and beyond.It is therefore my pleasure and honor to write this letter of support for him and strongly recommend him as an asset to your organization. 
 

If you have any questions regarding this recommendation, please do not hesitate to contact me.

 

Roy Gan

Dancer

The Sacramento Ballet

Independent Choreographer

 

 

 

To whom it may concern;

 

I have known Michael Fothergill for many years as a teacher, choreographer, and dear friend. His endless energy and passion towards advancing the art of dance and excelling his students worldwide has been a driving force for upcoming generations of dancers such as myself. Learning traditional forms of dance, like Classical Ballet, is one of the most important steps in creating a foundation for any aspiring dancer; Michael’s attention to detail when teaching ballet helps his students establish a strong foundation, preparing them significantly to adapt to the broad variety of styles and choreographies, especially those within the contemporary realm. Just from watching him demonstrate at the barre during my first couple of classes under his instruction, I quickly learned that his understanding and training in dance set the standards I needed to pursue for a proper education or successful career. Michael demonstrates great creative passions in his choreography as well, which I experienced in a few of his pieces during my training in his technique classes while he was seated as the Artistic Director of the "Iowa Youth Ballet". Each of his choreographies were unique and distinguished in their explorations of movement, time, space, dynamics, and other elements. If there was something intriguing that Michael could explore, he would pursue it until he found what he was looking for. To this day, Michael continues to share with me his explorations, and he is still searching to adapt new ideas and concepts. 

Based on my experiences, I believe Michael will be a great asset to your program, its faculty, and students. He is an innovator, a team player and fully committed to the preservation and expansion of the art form. He is someone I strongly believe will continue to bring dance into new levels and dimensions, while making sure his students are given proper foundations to adapt to this ever changing art form. Your students will find Michael’s unique blend refreshing and challenging, something that will help them prepare for future roles as professional dancers, as it has done for me.

Sincerely,
Jason Wang

Dancer, The Louisville Ballet, Verb Ballets

Producer/Director/Cinematographer at Extreme Leap Motion Pictures, LLC

 

 

 

To whom it may concern;


I have known Michael Fothergill for over a decade now and I feel qualified to vouch for his character both on a professional and personal level. I have studied with numerous noted dance masters from New York City and Chicago, but Michael is one of the most challenging and encouraging instructors I have ever had the pleasure to work under. He draws technique and focus out of his students, coaxing them to achieve and then reach further He has a careful eye for proper alignment and anatomical movement, while he also demonstrates performance quality. Michael is one of those teachers who will watch the execution of a problematic step and with one suggestion, the problem is corrected.As a person, Michael demonstrates discipline, honest work ethic, and energy. He is constantly creating choreography while also developing business proposals and creative problem solving ideas within his spheres of influence. Many young dancers have relied on Michael for both dance instruction and mentorship.

I would recommend Michael as an invaluable asset to any team motivated by the intent to preserve and develop the art forms of Classical and Contemporary Ballet. 

 

Melinda Marie Heitzman

Director PR Affairs, Happiest Mommy

NYC Producer/Director, Break the Mold
Bachelor of Performing Arts, Oklahoma City University Summa Cum Laude

 

 

 

To whom it may concern;

 

I am pleased to recommend Michael Fothergill for your teaching faculty. Michael has taught for the Samford University Department of Theatre and Dance for four years with professionalism and attention to detail. Michael is a very gifted dancer, yet he shows great patience for the students who may not have his natural gifts. I have observed his teaching in studio and find him clear and enthusiastic in his teaching. His technique is thorough and he conveys confidence and artistic vision. Michael has choreograped for our annual dance concert as well. His work shows vision and careful compostision.

 

Michael is a very likeable colleague and could add a calm assurance to your teaching ranks. If you would like to discuss Michael's work further I would welcome the chance to further recommend a valued teaching asset.

 

Don Sandley, PhD

Chair of Theatre and Dance

Samford University

 

 

 

To whom It may concern:

 

I highly recommend Michael Fothergill as an instructor, choreographer and performer.

 

Michael began teaching advanced ballet technique for the dance program at Samford University in 2010 and quickly became a favorite of the students because of his challenging yet supportive manner of teaching.  He has a strong yet not overbearing presence, a keen eye for placement, and a clever approach to classwork that interests and encourages the students. He is very committed to his work as a dance educator, and this is apparent in his approach to teaching and his consistent efforts to further his own knowledge of the field.

 

Michael’s approach to choreography is refreshingly unique. His work is musically challenging, cleverly crafted, and well researched. He has a calm intensity about him during the rehearsal process that enhances trust between him and his cast. Fothergill’s work pushes the edges of the capacity of human expression through movement, which increases the confidence and range of the dancers, and gives the audience a fresh perspective on life as interpreted through dance.  

 

As a case in point, Michael collaborated with Samford professor Dr. Sarana Chou in 2012 to present Chou’s “A Litte Dance Suite” for violin and dancers. Dr. Chou’s intent to merge multiple disciplines and broaden audience understanding of contemporary arts as well as engage student audiences was realized in the choreography of Fothergill and the violin performance of Samford’s Dr. Flaniken. Fothergill expertly created contemporary dances that reached beyond classical technique, a perfect complement to Dr. Chou’s approach to music composition.

 

Michael’s extensive performance career has given him the opportunity to understand all sides of the life of a professional dancer. He holds himself to the same high standards as his students and cast members, with full commitment to the project at hand. Exposure to numerous choreographers, répétiteurs, and directors has influenced his personal approach to performing, teaching and choreographing. Michael was an inspirational and highly valued member of my faculty at Samford University and will be an asset to any dance program, company, or studio.

 

Lisa Gibbs

Doctoral Candidate

University of Alabama, School of Education

Former Coordinator of Dance, Samford University

 

 

 

To whom it may concern,

 

I have had the pleasure of working with Michael Fothergill in numerous capacities over the last five years. Michael has been a colleague of mine as  performer, instructor and choreographer. His professionalism, strong work ethic, and aptitude in a variety of fields including business, education, and dance would make him a strong addition to any institution.

 

As principal dancers at the Alabama Ballet, Michael and I have performed together for several seasons. As a dancer, Michael upholds the classical elements of clean technical precision, clear presentation, powerful dynamics, and is a dependable and respectful partner. As a principal, he is the epitome of a role model for the company through his dedication to the organization, his peers, and the integrity of theart form. 

 

In recent years, I have assumed the role of "ballet mistress" for several of Michael's choreographic commissions both here in the United States and abroad. Michael runs rehearsal efficiently, and his delivery is always straight-forward and precise. He pushes the dancers to meet a high standard, expanding their potential and building a work suited to their combined strengths. When he rehearses the Alabama Ballet for his ballets, the dancers maintain the utmost respect for him and his process.. His pieces continue to  strengthen the company and build the repertoire, while receiving praise by critics, artistic staff alongside the audience. Michael coaches beyond technicality, extracting deeper meaning through intricacy. Highly respected as a ballet educator, Michal is a hands-on instructor that produces results. I have observed Michael's classes at Samford University, ballet schools across the U.S. and within company classes for several professional companies. I have seen him transform dancers of all ages and levels of commitment into strong and intelligent dancers. His class consists of challenging mental and physical components, ranging from simple and unaffected technique to elaborate choreographic sequences, structured to fit the needs at hand. Students, acknowledge how they are introduced to new and creative approaches to the same old steps. On the professional level, dancers are motivated by the way Michael challenges their sense of movement and encourages their artistic expression. 

 

Michael possesses strong managerial and communication skills, business acumen, and a creative mind for problem solving and innovation. As the Director of Outreach and Ballet Mistress for a classical ballet training program that Michael produced in 2012, I worked alongside Michael on the development of every aspect of the program, including marketing, advertising, finances, staff selection, syllabus creation, outreach planning, client and co-worker communication, and student advising. Michael handles problem solving in a direct manner, efficiently seeking and implementing solutions, with no allocation of resources to unproductive means. He demands productive and efficient processes and is focused and proficient in manners of business and customer service, always producing solid and creative ideas with plans of implementation. In each aspect of his work, Michael dedicates himself to the process, and holds himself, his dancers, and his employees to high standards of hard and intelligent work. He is tirelessly devoted to maintaining the integrity of ballet as an art form.  Michael is an asset to the dance world and I highly recommend him as an outstanding addition to any academic or professional institution. If you would like to speak with me further regarding Michael's credentials or my experience as his co-worker, please do not hesitate to contact me.

 

Sincerely,

Catherine Garratt

The Alabama Ballet

Alabama Ballet School (Royal Academy of Dance), Faculty

The Pointe Dance Arts, XL Program Director of Outreach, Faculty

B.A. summa cum laude University of Alabama At Birmingham (2012)

 

 

 

To whom it may concern, 

 

This letter serves as my wholehearted endorsement of Michael Fothergill as a ballet instructor and choreographer. His work is profound and seamless; and his attention to detail is subtle, yet carefully strategic. Michael has the ability to create work that is intricate but seemingly uninhibited and fluid. Although he is very detail oriented, Michael is quite efficient with his rehearsal period setting large works in a small amount of time with great clarity. His level of artistry is rare in our area and can easily compare to the works of many contemporaries from around the world. Michael would be an asset to any ballet school, dance company or university. If I could provide you with further information, please do not hesitate to contact me. 

 

Best Regards, 

Jamorris Rivers, 

Artistic Director

AROVA Contemporary Ballet

 

 

 

To whom it may concern,

 

The Cecchetti Council of America hired Michael Fothergill last year to teach and choreograph at our International Summer

School. He was responsible for teaching two ballet classes per day for students at various levels, and choreographing a piece for

one of the levels. He also taught a few teacher classes. It was a pleasure to get to know him as a person and teacher.

Michael is an intelligent, well organized, and conscientious teacher. He is professional and composed in communicating with

dancers and fellow teachers. The ability to connect, inspire, and guide others was evident in class and in his choreography. Both

dancers and teachers respected him and his work. The piece he choreographed for the performance was very well received.

We found him to be an asset to our program and are pleased he will be joining our faculty again this year.

 

Sincerely,

Lee Ann King

President

Cecchetti Council of America

 

 

 

To whom it may concern, 

 

My name is Takako Watanabe, I am am the Artistic Director of the Takako Classical Ballet of Japan. I have had the pleasure of knowing Michael since late 2005, when I first observed his talents as an instructor and choreographer within my organization. He is a talented, organized and highly motivated individual with much capability within the multiple areas within dance. From 2005, Michael has assumed the position of Permanent Guest Artist, a post that allows him the freedom to instruct, coach, set classical repertoire and create vibrant new works for the Takako Classical Ballet. His works have received great appreciation across Japan and are often sought after for gala presentation and IBC competition. He has created work for display by numerous organizations in Japan, the Chida Toshiko Ballet, the Hiroko Masuya Classic Ballet, the Midorigoaka Ballet, the Shinkotoni Ballet, and in collaboration with dance icons such as Seiichi Shinohara and for inclusion in productions sponsored by the governing body of ballet within Japan, the Japan Ballet Association.

 

Michael is an accomplished instructor, and often attracts a large crowd to his classes at my studio and elsewhere. He has coached a number of dancers to success in classical roles both within competition and on the main stage. His classes are a mixture of unaffected classical ballet and freeing choreographic movement. He clearly communicates his expectations and reasonable methods to achieve them, while remaining encouraging and light-hearted throughout the process.

 

Micheal appears respectable and highly professional at all times. Colleagues, employers and audience members highly regard his talents and his interactions with them. He is sincere, energetic and captivating individual who thrives in highly interactive environments. I believe Michael's attributes make him a suitable candidate for any position that allows him the freedom to create, perform or manage an administration. To speak more regarding his aptitude in these areas, please feel free to contact me at your convenience.

 

Takako Watanabe

Artistic Director

The Takako Classical Ballet,  Japan

 

 

To whom it may concern, 

 

We’ve now had Michael Fothergill as a guest faculty member during our Intermediate and Pre-Professional Summer Intensive programs twice now (2011 and 2015) and he is an awesome dance educator.  His varied and expansive training and performance background, along with his own choreographic voice, allows him to give an engaging, challenging and insightful class.  He is detail oriented and specific in his teaching of ballet technique and it is delivered calmly and kindly in a way that still encourages the dancers to work hard. This makes him wonderfully equipped to work with a variety of ages and levels.  Our Intermediate through Pre-Professional students enjoyed working with him on ballet technique, pointe and variations and we look forward to working with him again in the future!

 

Miah Nwosu

Principal, Scripps Performing Arts Academy,

Artistic Director, Scripps Ballet Theatre