Portland Ballet Executive Director, Michael Greer, moves to Oregon Ballet Theatre and Nell Shipman, Artistic Director, will lead Portland Ballet through transition.
Oregon Ballet Theatre of Portland, Oregon, and Portland Ballet of Portland, Maine, jointly announced that Michael R. Greer, currently Executive Director of Portland Ballet in Maine, will become the next Executive Director of Oregon Ballet Theatre, effective November 1, 2017.
Greer came to Portland Ballet (Maine) via an international career in management and a passion for ballet and the arts. As a former dancer himself, and having led China-side operations, projects, and sales teams for several multi-national companies, Michael returned to the ballet world in an executive capacity in August of 2015.
A native of St. Charles, Missouri, Michael spent the early part of his life at some of the world’s most prestigious dance institutions. Graduating from Interlochen Arts Academy as a dance major, he also studied at the Jaffrey Ballet School, Pittsburgh Ballet Theater School, School of American Ballet, San Francisco Ballet School, and The Royal Ballet School in London, England. Upon completing his training, he continued on to dance professionally with Ballet West in Salt Lake City, Utah, for six seasons under the direction of Jonas Kage. During his time with the company, he danced many soloist roles including William Forsythe’s Artifact II, Blue Bird in Petipa’s The Sleeping Beauty, Trepek (Russian) in The Nutcracker, and Father in Christopher Bruce’s Ghost Dances, among others.
After retiring from performing, he went on to complete a degree in economics at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts. Michael also holds a Master’s in Education from University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. A fluent Mandarin speaker, Michael and his family have enjoyed life in both the U.S.A and mainland China.
“We conducted a world-wide search, and are thrilled to be able to attract Michael from the “other” Portland,” said Nancy Locke, Chairman of the Board of Oregon Ballet Theatre. “His combination of artistic and business experience is a good fit with our mission and vision.”
OBT is the largest professional ballet company in Oregon, employing nearly 200 people and attracting artists from around the globe with a reputation for excellence. In addition to its four-show main stage season, the Oregon Ballet Theatre School offers professional and recreational classes to dancers aged four to eighty.
Michael Greer commented, “We have had great success in Maine over the past two years and I give credit to the stellar team that I have been privileged to work with at Portland Ballet. I am excited to watch Nell Shipman take the organization to the next level in the years to come. Oregon Ballet Theatre, under the artistic direction of Kevin Irving, is one of the nation’s premier ballet organizations. I look forward to the opportunity to being a part of OBT and continuing to build on their successes.”
Kevin Irving added, “I am very much looking forward to welcoming Michael to Portland and OBT and believe he and I will be an excellent team to lead the next phase of our growth”
“We have had two plus years of remarkable growth and development under Michael,” said Butch Baxter, President of the Board of Portland Ballet. “Portland Ballet can be proud of the opportunities that it has provided to its staff and dancers through the years. Michael’s move illustrates a tradition of us attracting talented people who continue to advance in the world of dance. He performed beautifully for us, and we are very happy for him.” Baxter also announced that Nell Shipman, Artistic Director of Portland Ballet, who has been with the organization for 14 years, will continue to guide both the school and the company during a period of administrative transition.
While Greer’s appointment will be official on November 1, 2017, the two ballet organizations have agreed to work together to ensure a smooth transition for both.