Artistic & Executive Director, Dance St. Louis
Michael Uthoff, internationally renowned artistic director, choreographer, teacher and dancer, assumed the newly titled post of artistic and executive director of Dance St. Louis on July 1, 2006.
Uthoff was born in Santiago, Chile, to former dancers, Ernst Uthoff and Lola Botka, both of the Jooss Ballet and founders of the Chilean National Ballet. He started dancing after high school and a year later arrived in New York to attend the Juilliard School of Music, School of American Ballet, and Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance. He danced with the José Limón Company and was a principal dancer with the Joffrey Ballet.
In 1972, Uthoff established the Hartford Ballet in Hartford, Connecticut. For the next 20 years, as artistic director, he developed the company into a national institution that toured throughout 49 states. He commissioned works by both new and established choreographers, and created more than 100 ballets for the company himself. In 1992, Uthoff accepted the position of artistic director of Ballet Arizona, a post he held until 1999. From the time that Uthoff created his first dance for the Joffrey Ballet in 1967, his ballets have entered the repertory of companies all over the world. His large-scale works include The Nutcracker, Coppelia, Hansel and Gretel, Alice in Wonderland, Awakening, Dias de Muertos, and Romeo and Juliet. He has directed opera and choreographed for opera companies internationally, and has served on the Board of Dance/USA and panels of the National Endowment for the Arts.
Uthoff's recent career as guest teacher, choreographer, and artistic advisor includes entities such as the government of Chile, the Shanghai Ballet of China, the California Ballet of San Diego, Portland Opera Performing Institute, Andanza Dance Company of Puerto Rico, the Ballet Estable of the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he held the post of artistic director, and his own Michael Uthoff Dance Theatre, which premiered in 2003. His teaching continues at the university level in the dance departments at University of Missouri-St. Louis and Webster University.
Uthoff's most recent dance is Songs My Mother Taught Me, commissioned by Dancing Wheels of Cleveland and given its world premiere on May 26, 2011 at Dance St. Louis' own 4th Annual Emerson SPRING TO DANCE FESTIVAL 2011. He also recently completed a recreation for MADCO in St. Louis and choreographed for New World School of the Arts in Miami, Florida, for the final performance under retiring Dean Daniel Lewis in Spring 2011. Among other recent dance works are Galleria, premiered in February 2007 by Boston Conservatory, and Honorable Sky, which he created in August 2007 for 30 X 30, the 30th anniversary celebration of BalletMet Columbus.
Uthoff is the proud father of Michelle Uthoff-Campbell and grandfather of Owen and Ivy.