Artistic Director, Michael Lowe
Born in Oakland and raised in Alameda, Michael Lowe was encouraged at an early age to explore the joy and discipline of classical ballet to augment his coordination and strength in athletics. With his first dance lesson, his love for music found a counterpart with his natural agility, leading to a career path. Michael joined the Oakland Ballet in 1974 and was promoted to Principal Dancer in 1976 with his debut as Alias in Billy the Kid. A scholarship student at Alvin Ailey American Dance Center in New York City, Lowe also performed with Pacific Ballet Company, Gilbert Reed Ballet Company, Los Angeles Chamber Ballet, Sacramento Ballet, North Dakota Ballet and the Old Souls New Shoes Dance Company under Mark Morris. Michael worked with such legendary choreographers as Agnes de Mille, John Butler, Leonide Massine, Frederic Franklin, Anna Sokolow, Betsy Erickson, Willem Christensen and Ronn Guidi. In 1989, he recreated the role of Beau Gosse for Oakland Ballet’s historical reconstruction of Bronislava Nijinska’s Le Train Bleu.
During and after his performing career, Lowe revealed himself to be a gifted choreographer. He created a number of striking ballets for Oakland Ballet including Table for Two, Witness, The Emperor and the Nightingale, Dim Sum, Double Happiness, and Bamboo, for which he received an Isadora Duncan Award for Best Choreography. Most recently, Mr. Lowe was invited to choreograph a world premiere for Oakland Ballet’s 50th Anniversary celebration. In addition to his choreographic accomplishments, Michael has assumed artistic leadership positions with ballet companies including Oakland Ballet, Peninsula Ballet, Black Diamond Ballet, and he served as Resident Choreographer for Moving Arts Dance.
As Founding Artistic Director of Menlowe Ballet, Mr. Lowe has given his own company a number of beautiful works to perform including Plague, Chuntian, Cirque, Serei, Surfside, Tribute, Transcendence, Legend of the Seven Suns and Playing Love, as well as the company’s first full length ballet, It’s a Wonderful Nutcracker.
Executive Director, Lisa Shiveley
As Executive Director of Menlowe Ballet, Lisa helped conceive and launch the community-focused dance company in 2011. This represents a successful culmination of her lifelong collaboration with ballet and the management expertise she gained throughout her professional business and nonprofit career.
A dancer in her own right, Lisa received her classical ballet training with Grace Doty at Berkeley Conservatory Ballet, with training from Howard Sayette, Larry Grenier, Kenneth Melville and Leslie Crockett. During her time with BCB, she performed in many classical ballets, including: Les Sylphides, Paquita, Raymonda, Pas de Dix, Nutcracker, and Graduation Ball. She also enjoyed dancing contemporary works choreographed by Richard Cook and John Loschmann, among others.
As a young student, Lisa also spent a summer at the Milwaukee Ballet before heading to Mount Holyoke College. After receiving a BA in Political Science, she enjoyed a decade-long career at Oracle Corporation holding various Finance & Administration management positions. Lisa’s innate sense of community awareness and activism inspired her to initiate Oracle’s volunteer matching program, an innovative idea that led her to assume leadership roles on a number of non-profit boards, most notably Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco and the YMCA of the Mid-Peninsula.
Associate Artistic Director, Sarah-Jane Measor
Sarah-Jane Measor was born in England and realized her love for dance at an early age. She was trained in the Royal Academy of Dance & Imperial Society Techniques and holds the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) Teaching Certificate with distinction. Her knowledge of dance extends beyond ballet, encompassing tap, jazz and European folk dance. Ms. Measor taught and performed professionally in Hong Kong before coming to the United States in 1990. She joined the faculty of Menlo Park Academy of Dance as a teacher in 1992, became co-owner and Director in 2005, and in 2015, became sole owner and Director.
Ms. Measor is the recipient of numerous regional and national competition choreographic awards, as well as many studio awards recognizing “best technique” and “overall highest scores.” In 2016, under her leadership, Menlo Park Academy of Dance submitted the most student entries of any U.S. school for Royal Academy dance exams. She has successfully coached students through all RAD levels of exams including the prestigious Solo Seal Award.
In 2016 she and her husband, Michael Lowe, were presented with the prestigious Outstanding Teacher Award by Youth America Grand Prix where many of her students have placed in the final rounds held in New York City.
Ms. Measor nurtures her students to achieve their best and many have gone on to enjoy professional dance careers, including former student, Cheryl Burke, of ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars”. Ms. Measor made her professional choreographic debut in 2016 with Menlowe Ballet’s world premiere of Portraits.
Ballet Master & Artistic Associate, Julie Lowe
Julie Lowe received her earliest training in New York with Mimi Kellerman, and went on to study with teachers including Audree Ismailloff, Meredith Bayless, Lawrence Rhodes, Wilhelm Burmann, Sally Streets, Howard Sayette, Betsy Erickson, and Ronn Guidi. As a Principal Ballerina with the Oakland Ballet Company under the artistic leadership of Ronn Guidi, she toured the United States and Europe extensively, performing leading roles and receiving coaching and mentorship from many of the dance world’s greatest legends and luminaries including Frederic Franklin, Anna Sokolow, Leonide Massine, Eugene Loring, Irina Nijinska, Ruthanna Boris, and John Butler. Her repertoire of notable portrayals include the title role in Giselle, Swanhilda in Coppélia, the Sugarplum Fairy, Snow and Rose Queen, and Marie, in Ronn Guidi’s Nutcracker, Gretel in Guidi’s Hansel and Gretel, Beth in the world premiere of Eugene Loring’s The Tenderland, and signature roles in works by John McFall, Betsy Erickson, Brenda Way, Marc Wilde, John Pasqualetti and Ronn Guidi. Ms. Lowe participated in many of Oakland Ballet’s original Diaghilev and Americana revivals. From 1991-1992, she appeared as a guest artist with San Francisco’s ODC, performing the title role in The Velveteen Rabbit.
From 2008-2015, Ms. Lowe served as Master Teacher for the Ballroom Dance Teachers College, the nation’s premier vocational training program for ballroom dance instructors. She currently teaches social social ballroom dance classes at Oakland’s Just Dance Ballroom, and leads a thriving adult ballet program at the Alameda Ballet Academy.
As Ballet Master and Artistic Associate for Menlowe Ballet since its inception in 2011, Ms. Lowe’s responsibilities are diverse and include coaching and rehearsing the dancers and the ballets to help bring them to the stage. With a nurturing, supportive and exacting approach, she supports dancers in enhancing their technical and artistic skills.