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Founding Artistic Director 



Michael Nickerson-Rossi's choreography and educational impact is vastly valuable and is nationally and internationally renowned. 


“He’s the real thing,” said Janice Stienberg from Dance Magazine. 


Michael launched and founded his dance company, “Nickerson-Rossi Dance,” in 2011. His firm belief in charitable and educational benefits propelled Michael to incorporate his company into a non-profit 501c3. The non-profit mission of Nickerson-Rossi Dance is to provide dance programs to youth, young adults, and adults that focus on dance education, dance as a therapeutic value, and access to professional performances.


Local philanthropist Terri Ketover believed in Michael's work and commissioned the company to perform at the Palm Springs Art Museum’s Annenberg Theater in 2013. He was motivated to create and provide educational experiences to the Coachella Valley and began to work with the Palm Springs Unified School District under the Helene Galen Foundation for the following 3 years.   


His reputable work brought Michael to the East Coast where the position of Creative Director of Dance was created for him at the Uptown! Knauer Performing Arts Center in Pennsylvania created the position for Michael as their Creative Director of Dance because of his renowned work. 


While on the east coast in 2018, he built a modern/contemporary technique program and performance series at Princeton Ballet in Princeton, New Jersey. Additionally, he is a current and founding faculty member at Johns Hopkins University’s Peabody Conservatory, in Baltimore, Maryland, where he teaches modern technique, composition, and dance production. Other notable higher educational institutions Michael has educated include New York University, Loyola Marymount University, American College Dance Festival, Drexel University, Rock School(west), and over 30 other universities.


While traveling between the east and west coasts, Michael was commissioned a second time by the Palm Springs Art Museum where he produced his concert "Past & Present" in 2016. As an outgrowth of this program, he founded and produced the Palm Springs Dance Festival (2015/2019). His organization continued gaining momentum which led to an expansion and reformation, the Festival is now, Palm Springs International Dance Festival. 


The “uNdeRstanD program,” was created to carry out Michael's mission for his outreach work. This provides all diverse and minority communities a platform to engage in artistic expression, and unify the body and creativity as a tool when words are not enough. His passion for impact has been felt by organizations such as LGBTQ Center in Long Beach, Versa-Style P.E.C. in Los Angeles, Project Home in Philadelphia, Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center, and Eisenhower Hospital LUCY CURCI Cancer Center, and Palm Springs Unified School District. Nickerson-Rossi Dance partnered with Riverside County’s Office of Education in 2020 and reached 7 High Schools and 1 Middle School. 


The growth of the International Dance Festival inspired Michael to move to Palm Springs full-time and establish the Palm Springs Dance Academy. The Academy is the official school of the Nickerson-Rossi Dance Company, where they provide comprehensive dance education for pre-professional dancers and serve the community with enrichment, outreach, home school, and after-school dance programs. Nickerson-Rossi's Dance House is Michael's current expanding vision. He is excited to share cultural and diversified dance programming in the Coachella Valley. This dance theater has allowed us to curate sustainable dance and art programming.  

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