Canyon Concert Ballet Hires New Artistic Director

Michael Pappalardo

Canyon Concert Ballet (CCB) has announced a new Artistic Director, Michael Pappalardo. Michael began his classical training with Janice Heale School of Dance in Brisbane, Queensland before being accepted to study with 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 during his time in New Zealand and was privileged to perform in works by Val Caniparoli, Jiri Kylian, Frederick Ashton, Stanton Welch, and George Balanchine.

After returning to Australia, Michael worked with Queensland Ballet before launching himself into a successful independent Dancer career working with Leigh Warren and Dancers, Melbourne Ballet Company, Victoria State Ballet, Opera Victoria, and various independent projects. Michael’s love for creating ballets came to the forefront in 2011 when he was lucky enough to choreograph for Victoria State Ballet and Melbourne Fringe Festival.

“As a creator, I believe that original choreography or content is important for all performing arts companies. It is important to me that the movement fits the company, its style, the dancers, and what the community wants to see,” said Pappalardo.

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 the organization to become Australia’s largest classical touring company, performing over 100 shows across Australia, New Zealand, and Japan annually.

Over his 7 years as Artistic Director, Michael’s works were nominated for numerous dance awards. While at Melbourne City Ballet, he established a comprehensive education program for dancers from 4 years of age to professional level. These programs included the Melbourne Institute of Classical Dance, which catered for semi full-time students Grade 6 – 12. He also developed a successful full-time program for students aged 14 – 19 years 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 New Zealand School of Dance, where he taught regularly. He was invited to be a part of the VCASS Curriculum Advisory Committee to share his expertise.

In 2016, Michael was invited to work as co-director with Niconomiel Dance Company in Osaka, Japan. Here he produced full-length ballets and contemporary works showcasing local Japanese dancers in collaboration with guest dancers from Australia and Brazil. Michael Joined San Jose Dance Theatre in January of 2020 as Artistic Associate. He was instrumental in developing the organization to incorporate a full-time professional company, trainee program, and pre-professional training program, which established San Jose Dance Theatre as Silicon Valley’s largest dance organization. He worked closely with the board and artistic team to drive 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 the San Jose Dance Theatre in October of 2020. The platform features four new works he choreographed. The platform also hosts tutorials, classes, information lectures, and a variety of other digital content. In 2020 he also worked with Opera San Jose as Choreographer for the production of Dido and Aeneas.

Michael arrived in Colorado in mid-January and has observed that “Fort Collins has a huge population of skilled dancers and a University educating the next generation of highly skilled dancers. I think it is important that Fort Collins has a place that will be able to support the professional careers of these very talented dancers, either as a stepping-stone to greater things or a permanent home, I want to support dancers in this community to reach their goals both professionally and semi-professionally. I also think that it is important for our young dancers to have role models to look up to in their own city – professional dancers who can mentor and support the next generation.”

“We are elated for Michael’s vast experience and unique vision to join Canyon Concert Ballet. His enthusiasm will elevate our performances and inspire our dancers, while his love of dance is certain to ignite the community. We’re looking forward to Michael’s first production, Snow White in May at the Lincoln Center and many more to follow,” said Abby Behm, Board President of Canyon Concert Ballet.

“I’m thrilled to be joining CCB and to bring exciting new work to this great organization. I can’t wait to share my passion for the art of dance and make Colorado my new home,” said Pappalardo. Canyon Concert Ballet’s mission is to expand, nourish, and enrich the artistic opportunities in classical dance through training, performance, and community outreach in service to the Northern Colorado region.

It is the belief of Canyon Concert Ballet that classical dance should be taught with a great deal of commitment to and respect for the art form while always maintaining the joy inherent in dance. Classwork and performance opportunities should heighten the dancer’s capacity for cooperation, responsibility, and pride. Training and performances should be presented with accessibility for our audiences, volunteers, and artists. Canyon Concert Ballet is a 501c3 nonprofit organization. Learn more at

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