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. Michael 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 his training, Michael 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, 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, Michael 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. He 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). Michael continued to work with companies in both India and China over a nine-year span, managing teams and operations at several multinational corporations.
Nell Shipman, Artistic Director / School Director
After ten years with Portland Ballet, Nell Shipman assumes the role of Artistic Director and School Director. She holds a B.F.A. in Dance Performance with High Honors from Butler University, and has performed and shown choreography in Portland, New York, Chicago, Boulder, Indianapolis and Tbilisi, The Republic of Georgia. Nell has taught for studios throughout the country, including Regional Dance America's Mid-States Festival in St. Louis, Missouri, and Kansas Regional Ballet's Summer Intensive. In addition to appearing in numerous Portland Ballet performances, Nell has also appeared as a guest artist with the Portland Symphony Orchestra, The Good Theater, 2008 Best of Broadway, PORTOpera as both dancer and choreographer, and with Ballet Conservatory of South Texas. Her choreography for Portland Ballet includes The Victorian Nutcracker, Jack the Ripper, Halloween Spooktacular, The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace, Dance for the Cure, Spoke of the Wheel, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and works for the 2004-2008 Portland Dances! Choreographers showcase. Her choreography for Bowdoin College includes Triumph of Aphrodite and Les Noces, and the 2006, 2008 and 2011 Friends of the Kotzschmar Organ Halloween Concert.
Sabir Yapparov, CORPS Director
Sabir Yapparov received his academic and ballet training at the Perm Ballet Academy, Russia and studied with some of the finest teachers in his country, including Julius Plahkt. He was a soloist with the Sverdlovsk Academic Theatre of Opera & Ballet and with the Bolshoi Theater in Uzbekistan, and was a principal with the Odessa Academic Theater of the Opera and Ballet in the Ukraine. His repertoire included leading roles in the classical, neoclassical and contemporary ballets: Albrecht in Giselle, Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake, Prince Star in Masquerade, Prince Desire in Sleeping Beauty and Ivan in Hunchback Horse. Mr. Yapparov worked with prominent teachers and artists such as A. Messerer, M. Plisetskaya and V. Gordeev. He was invited as a guest principal throughout the former Soviet Union, Italy, Hungary, Portugal, Finland, India, Spain and Canada. He was also awarded the rank of Honored Artist of the Ukraine. Mr. Yapparov worked as a ballet master with the Sarasota Ballet for eleven years, serving one year as Associate Artistic Director. In 2003-2004 he was a Visiting Professor in the Dance program at the University of South Florida School of Theatre and Dance, and was a guest faculty member at North Carolina School of the Arts in 2007-2008. Mr. Yapparov recently was both a ballet teacher and the Assistant to the Artistic Director at the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington, D.C. He was the director of Portland School of Ballet’s pre-professional CORPS program from 2011-201 2. Most recently, he served as Principal at the School of Cincinnati Ballet.
Amy Baxter, Wardrobe & Costume Mistress
Amy Baxter began working with costumes at Portland Ballet 10 years ago when her children performed in their first Victorian Nutcracker. After several years asa back stage volunteer she stepped into the role of costuming assistant. In 2014 she assumed the role of Costume Manager/Mistress, working with both the company and the school to ensure that the dancers have costumes that are visually pleasing, easy to dance in and serve as an important part of the storytelling.
Krista Woodbridge, Office Manager
Krista Woodbridge holds an M.A. in classical studies from Tufts and an M.L.S. from Southern Connecticut State University. When not in the office, she may be found behind the reference desk at Bath’s Patten Free Library or at the barre in Teen & Adult Beginner Ballet.
Nate Eldridge, Marketing Director
Nate is the visual voice behind Portland Ballet. A photographer, writer & director he creates the imagery & brings the grace & power of Portland Ballet to the market.
Brianna Wing, Stage/Production Manager
Brianna Wing is a native of South Portland, Me. She holds her B.A. in Visual & Performing Arts with a concentration in Theater from Stonehill College. She has worked professinally in Boston, New York, Florida & Maine as a production & stage manager.