PHOTO BY ARHSCANA IMAGES
Founding Artistic Director of Nickerson-Rossi Dance and Palm Springs International Dance Festival
IN 1997, AFTER THE UNTIMELY PASSING OF HIS LOVING MOTHER, MICHAEL NICKERSON-ROSSI WAS A STRUGGLING 17 YEAR OLD LIVING IN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA GRASPING FOR ANY TYPE OF FUTURE. WHILE ATTENDING COLLEGE HE WITNESSED HIS FIRST DANCE CONCERT. FOR THE FIRST TIME IN A LONG TIME HE FELT SOMETHING OTHER THAN SADNESS; IT WAS PURE PASSION FOR DANCE!
MICHAEL HAD A LATE START ON WHAT IS COMMONLY KNOWN AS A PHYSICALLY DEMANDING ART. HE SPENT YEARS IN INTENSIVE STUDY SURPASSING THOSE WHO HAD FIFTEEN YEARS PRIOR DANCE TRAINING. HE DROWNED HIMSELF IN THE THERAPIES DANCE OFFERED A ONCE LOST YOUNG MAN AND IT WAS CLEAR TO THOSE AROUND HIM THAT HE WAS OF PURE TALENT.
“He’s the real thing.”
-Janice Steinberg, Dance Magazine
Nationally, he has premiered work in San Diego, San Francisco, Salt Lake City, Tempe, Princeton , Miami Beach, Palm Springs, Philadelphia, Massachusetts, Los Angeles, New York, and internationally, Belize and Italy. Michael's work was commissioned at: Alex Theater, McCallum Theatre, Annenberg Theater, Marsee Theater - Center for the Arts, Royal Theater
(Teatro Regio, Torino, Italy), New York Live Arts, Barclay Theater, Bliss Centre for the Performing Arts ( Belize City, BZ ), among many others.
Michael is a passionate lifelong educator and has worked with 23 universities and community colleges crafting and spreading his wealth of knowledge in dance as resident choreographer, instructing master classes/workshops, and hired as an adjunct faculty member.
-New York University
-Johns Hopkins University-Peabody Conservatory
-California State University Fullerton
-Fresno State University
-College of Charleston
-Loyola Marymount University
-Santa Monica Community College
-Santa Ana College
-Irvine Valley College
-El Camino College
and many others…
Nickerson-Rossi Dance created and performed “Deeply Rooted” in the Cape Cod Dance Festival in Provincetown, MA alongside the Martha Graham Dance Company, Paul Taylor, American Ballet Theater, Boston Ballet and others. In February 2015, the company premiered “CHECKMATE”, their evening length work at the Helene Galen Performing Arts Center in Rancho Mirage, CA. In 2016, Michael produced “Past and Present,” a performance in the Annenberg Theater at the Palm Springs Art Museum, where he also served as the Creative Director of Dance 2015/2016. Michael transitioned to the east coast, where he served as Creative Director of Dance and resident dance company for the Uptown Knauer Performing Arts Center in Chester County in 2016/2017. His newest endeavor has landed him back into Palm Springs and is recently partnered with Riverside County Office of Education. His expertise is focused in teaching professional development programs to district teachers, and educating /offering dance to over 420,000 students county wide!
Michael is ardent about the company’s outreach program, entitled uNdeRstanD, which is a platform of education for youth designed to provide both physical and emotional liberty through the medium of dance. Students are given the opportunity to perform alongside professional dancers with the many wonderful dance programs created by Michael Nickerson-Rossi. See below:
"ART SHARE” - Palm Springs, CA
A performance by the Nickerson-Rossi Dance Company and an extension of a Palm Springs Unified School District program, brought different mediums of high caliber arts to low socioeconomic families in Desert Hot Springs.
“Stomp out Genocide”- Palm Springs, CA
Michael choreographed and worked with the students of Cielo Vista on a spoken word and dance film of self-expression to speak out against the genocide.
“Movement/Voices Heard”- Long Beach, CA
An 8 week dance program for youth at the LQBTQ Center in Long Beach. The program focused on movement as therapy to reveal their individual life stories.
“Transition from Ballet to Modern/Contemporary Dance” - Princeton, NJ
At the Princeton Ballet School, Michael incorporated and built a modern/contemporary dance program which transitions dancers from ballet to contemporary dance preparing them for the college and professional environments.
“Direct/Link”- Philadelphia, PA
This program will give equal opportunity to students who may not have
the financial accessibilities to participate in programming like this and to students who meet an advanced training criteria that should be acknowledged and rewarded. "Direct Link" offers opportunities to turn building blocks for success into careers, goal setting, and professional development through mentorship and education.
Michael’s work has been recognized as profound and it is with this passion he creates quality and meaningful programming throughout the United States. Currently, you can find Michael teaching choreography and composition at John Hopkins University "Peabody Conservatory" in Baltimore, Maryland and modern dance technique (principles/aesthetics) at Princeton Ballet in Princeton, New Jersey. Additionally, he is hard at work programming high quality art and education for the Palm Springs International Dance Festival.