Michèle Ceballos Michot
Michèle Ceballos Michot is an accomplished dancer, choreographer, artistic director, educator, visual and performance artist. Her performance history includes numerous international ballet companies and dance productions. Born in New York City of a Colombian father, Alvaro Ceballos, and North American mother, Jacqueline Michot, she spent her formative years in Bogotá, Colombia where she started dance at the age of six with the exiled dancer Vladimir Volski of the Bolshoi Ballet.
In 1967 – at 11, she moved back to New York City with her mother, and won a scholarship to Thalia Mara’s, National Academy of Ballet and Theatre Arts, where she studied from the 6th to the 9th grade academics and ballet, pointe, character and Spanish dance, acting, piano, theory, anatomy, French and speech. During these years, age 11 to 13, she performed with the school, and in the Nutcracker and Sleeping Beauty with Rudolph Nureyev, Natalia Makarova and the Royal Ballet of London, at Lincoln Center. Age 14-16, – she attended the Professional Children’s School and received a scholarship to the American Ballet Theatre School, trained by Leon Danielian and Patricia Wilde.
At age 16 she was accepted to the Royal Ballet School in London, England,and studied under the sponsorship of Margot Fonteyn. Her primary teachers were Maryon Lane and Eileen Ward. As a student she toured with the Sadlers Wells Royal Ballet, and at 18 was contracted with the Deutsch Oper Am Rhine in Dusseldorf, Germany. At 19, returning to New York, she received a partial scholarship to the Joffrey Ballet School, studying with Basil Thompson, and placed in the apprentice class for the A.B.T. Company, taught by Yurgen Schneider. She studied independently with Gabriella Taub Darvash, Finis Jhung. Alexander Mintz, David Howard, Maggie Black, and Louie Falco & Co.
Michèle went on to dance with Ruth Page’s Chicago Ballet and with the Ballet Hispanico of NYC. In 1978, she visited her sister; Janine, who studied at Maurice Béjart’s school; Mudra, in Brussels, Belgium, and took company classes with Béjart’s company, Ballet du XXe Siècle. She then returned to Bogotá, Colombia and was contracted as a principal dancer with El Ballet Nacional de Colombia under the direction of Pricilla Welton.
In 1981 she married a dancer, Alejandro Ronceria. They had a daughter, Natalia. The two opened a dance studio and were founding members of Kameliz Danza Contemporanea. They traveled to Russia to study the 1st to 3rd years of the Vaganova Method of Classical Ballet at the Institute Paliashvilli in Tibilisi, Georgia, SSR.
In 1983 she returned to train with Nucri Magalashvilli, coached by Rezo Magalashvilli, and competed in the International Ballet competition in Varna, Bulgaria, the first dancer to represent Colombia in the Competition.
In 1984 she and her daughter, moved to New Orleans where she met Olga Guardia de Smoak, President New Orleans International Ballet Conference, and joined Ballet Mississippi, based in Jackson, which hosts the U.S.A. International Ballet competition.
After two years she accompanied Ms Smoak, and Mikhail Lavrovsky, former principal dancer with the Bolshoi Ballet, to Phoenix Arizona
Throughout her career Michèle was impressed that so many dancers were rejected from dance studies because of body type; stereotyped because of nationality or gender, or unable to study or attend dance performances because of money. So, in 1992 she founded Opendance, a non-profit community based dance arts and educational outreach company. Opendance works with all types of dancers, and offers free or reduced rate dance and the arts based classes for the community. It was listed on the Artist Roster of the Arizona Commission on the Arts from 1994-2012, and nominated in 2006, 2007, 2012 for the AZ Governors Arts Awards and for the Arts and Business Council award, In 2006 and 2012 Opendance received the Creighton School District Partner Award. where he would guest with Ballet Arizona. This coincided with a contract with Ballet Arizona, offered to her by then BAZ director Jean Paul Comlin. Because of a lingering back injury, she was not able to honor the contract, but she stayed in Phoenix and continued teaching and choreographing in private dance studios throughout Arizona. During this time she married Ralph Cote and had a son, Dashiell.
In 1994 she joined performance artist and writer, Guillermo Gomez Peña for a project at the Scottsdale Center for the Arts. “The Temple of Confessions” performed at the Center and toured to several cities in the U.S. She became a collaborating partner with Gomez Peña and participated in the founding of La Pocha Nostra, an international performance troupe. La Pocha’s performance and installation work, which explores cross-cultural issues and North/South relations, has been presented around the world.
2013 – Identity and place has been a base for Michele’s work, who is also known as Michelle Ceballos and Michel Cote. To date, Michèle continues to teach, direct and choreograph with Opendance, and as a guest teacher for local and national dance studios, spa’s and organizations, and teach and perform with La Pocha Nostra.