Anyone who has ever danced can tell you, once you have been a dancer, you will always be a dancer.
I remember spending long hours in the studio. Some of those hours were spent training, some just hanging out. I loved being immersed in the environment. I loved the passion that everyone involved shared for the art. To be able to lead an organization like Portland Ballet and be part of bringing that passion to others is really a special opportunity that I could not pass up.
I feel that art can change people and transform places. It has shaped the person I am today. I respect all that art does for a community and its people. Part of that respect is a responsibility to give back. After the last decade as a business leader in China and elsewhere, I knew it was time to come back home to the arts community and share what I have learned. Portland Ballet has been giving back to the community for over 35 years and I am honored to be able to continue that tradition, learn from the community, and grow the company into the future.
My wife and I were also personally very captivated by the city of Portland. After living in some of the biggest and most cosmopolitan cities in the world, we weren't sure what to expect. I will never forget exiting the freeway and seeing all the architecture, restaurants, and culture of downtown Portland. After more than five hours on the road from New York City, my wife and I looked at each other and smiled; it just felt right . . . and this was in February.
Rarely in my life have so many pieces so effortlessly fallen into place. If I had to sum it up: Why did I come to Portland Ballet? It just feels right.
A native of St. Charles, Missouri, I 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, I also studied at the Joffrey Ballet School, Pittsburgh Ballet Theater School, School of American Ballet, San Francisco Ballet school, and The Royal Ballet School in London, England. Upon completing my training, I continued on to dance professionally with Ballet West in Salt Lake City, Utah, for six seasons under the direction of Jonas Kage. During this time with the company, I 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, I went on to complete a degree in economics with a focus in industrial organization as an Arturo Schomburg Scholar at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts. I also received an opportunity to continue his economics studies at Stanford University, but chose to gain experience in international business, in India as a Gilman Scholar (US State Department). I continued to work with companies in both India and China over a nine-year span, managing teams and operations at several multinational corporations.