Canyon Concert Ballet hires new artistic director
The Canyon Concert Ballet (CCB) has announced a new artistic director, Michael Pappalardo. Michael began his classical training at the Janice Heale School of Dance in Brisbane, Queensland before being accepted to study at the Queensland Dance School of Excellence. In 2002 Michael was accepted into the New Zealand School of Dance where he completed his dance training. Michael worked with the Royal New Zealand Ballet while in New Zealand and had the privilege of performing in works by Val Caniparoli, Jiri Kylian, Frederick Ashton, Stanton Welch and George Balanchine.
After returning to Australia, Michael worked with Queensland Ballet before embarking on a successful career as a freelance dancer working with Leigh Warren and Dancers, Melbourne Ballet Company, Victoria State Ballet, Opera Victoria and various independent projects . Michael’s love for creating ballet came to the fore in 2011 when he was given the chance to choreograph for Victoria State Ballet and the Melbourne Fringe Festival.
“As a creator, I believe that original choreography or content is important for all performing arts companies. It’s important to me that the movement matches the company, its style, the dancers and what the community wants to see,” Pappalardo said.
Recognizing his talent for choreography and artistic direction, Melbourne City Ballet appointed Michael as Artistic Director in 2013. He was promoted to Artistic Director/CEO in 2016. There he was able to leverage his many talents, building organization to become Australia’s biggest classical tour. company, presenting over 100 shows across Australia, New Zealand and Japan each year.
During his 7 years as artistic director, Michael’s works have been nominated for numerous dance awards. While at Melbourne City Ballet, he implemented a comprehensive education program for dancers from 4 years old to professional level. These programs included the Melbourne Institute of Classical Dance, which took part-time students in grades 6-12. He has also developed a successful full-time program for students aged 14-19 and a pre-professional program for elite dancers in their final years of training.
Michael regularly supports major national and international training institutions, including the Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School (VCASS) – Australia’s largest arts school, and the New Zealand School of Dance, where he regularly teaches. He was invited to be part of the VCASS Curriculum Advisory Committee to share his expertise.
In 2016 Michael was invited to work as co-director with Niconomel Dance Company in Osaka, Japan. Here he produced full ballets and contemporary works featuring local Japanese dancers in collaboration with guest dancers from Australia and Brazil. Michael joined San Jose Dance Theater in January 2020 as an Artistic Associate. He was instrumental in developing the organization to incorporate a full-time professional company, an intern program, and a pre-professional training program, which made San Jose Dance Theater the largest dance organization in Silicon Valley. He worked closely with the board and artistic team to pilot new and exciting programming, select world-class company artists, and choreograph and stage ballets.
Michael has a passion for digital dance and launched a digital streaming platform for San Jose Dance Theater in October 2020. The platform features four new works he has choreographed. The platform also hosts tutorials, courses, informational lectures, and a variety of other digital content. In 2020 he also worked with Opera San Jose as a choreographer for the production of Dido and Aeneas.
Michael arrived in Colorado in mid-January and observed that “Fort Collins has a huge population of skilled dancers and a university training the next generation of highly skilled dancers. I think it’s important that Fort Collins has a place that can support the professional careers of these very talented dancers, either as a springboard to greater things or as a forever home, I want to help the dancers in this community achieve their goals both professionally and semi-professionally. I also think it’s important for our young dancers to have role models in their own town – professional dancers who can mentor and support the next generation.
“We are thrilled with Michael’s vast experience and unique vision to join Canyon Concert Ballet. Her enthusiasm will elevate our performances and inspire our dancers, while her love of dance is sure to ignite the community. We look forward to Michael’s first production, Snow White in May at Lincoln Center and many more to follow,” said Abby Behm, Chair of the Canyon Concert Ballet Board of Trustees.
“I am thrilled to join CCB and bring exciting new work to this great organization. I look forward to sharing my passion for the art of dance and making Colorado my new home,” Pappalardo said. Canyon Concert Ballet’s mission is to expand, nurture, and enrich the artistic opportunities of classical dance through training, performance, and community outreach in service to the Northern Colorado region.
It is the belief of Canyon Concert Ballet that ballet should be taught with great commitment and respect to the art form while always maintaining the inherent joy of dance. Opportunities for class work and performance should increase the dancer’s capacity for cooperation, responsibility and pride. Training and performances must be presented with accessibility for our audiences, our volunteers and our artists. Canyon Concert Ballet is a 501c3 non-profit organization. Learn more at CCBallet.org