Michael Bearden received his early training at the Academy of Ballet Arkansas and then became a student in the University of Utah Ballet Department. From there, he was hired by Ballet West where he had a distinguished fourteen year career. Michael Joined Ballet West in 1999, was promoted to Soloist in 2004, and to Principal in 2008. As a Principal Dancer at Ballet West, Michael performed leading roles in ballets by some of the world’s greatest choreographers including Balanchine, Ashton, Tudor, Forsythe, Stevenson, Welch, Dove, Tetley, Tharp, Kylian and Christopher Bruce. Michael’s performance highlights with Ballet West include Oberon in Sir Frederick Ashton’s The Dream; Pinkerton in Stanton Welch’s Madame Butterfly; Whip Boy in Glen Tetley’s The Rite of Spring; Tie Boy and Ghost in Christopher Bruce’s Ghost Dances; a principal role in Ben Stevenson’s Three Preludes; the Prince in Stevenson’s Cinderella; The Lover in Antony Tudor’s Lilac Garden, The Husband in Tudor’s Echoing of Trumpets, The Painter in hisOffenbach In the Underworld; and a leading role in George Balanchine’s Concerto Barocco.
While still dancing for Ballet West, Michael taught as an adjunct faculty member at Brigham Young University and Utah Valley University and was a guest teacher at Ballet Arkansas. In 2011 he became Artistic Advisor for Ballet Arkansas and in 2013 was appointed Artistic Director for Ballet Arkansas.
Michael is an active choreographer. Most recently, he created and expanded a new work for Ballet West Artists, the Company’s 2010 and 2012 “Innovations” program — Descent, set to the music of Dmitri Shostakovich. While serving as a visiting faculty member he will set an original work on Utah Ballet.
Micheal has a strong interest in project management. In 2005, Michael led a team of Ballet West dancers in organizing a special performance to benefit Utah Cancer Foundation. The event, “A Dance for Life,” raised more than $20,000. In 2007, he was the project manager for Ballet West’s 2007 calendar, which highlighted the Artists of Ballet West in some of Utah’s most memorable settings.
Michael’s additional interests include golfing and mountain climbing. In 2007, he summited Mt. Rainier in Washington, and in 2009 he successfully climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, Africa’s tallest mountain.