Born in Oakland and raised in Alameda, Mr. 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 the first lesson, his love for music found a counterpart in his natural agility, leading to a new career. Michael joined 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, Mr. Lowe has 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 with Mark Morris. Mr. Lowe has 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 reconstructions of Bronislava Nijinska’s Le Train Bleu. In recent years, Mr. Lowe has revealed himself as a gifted choreographer. He has created a number of striking ballets, six of which have been presented by Oakland Ballet: Table for Two, Witness, The Emperor and the Nightingale, Dim Sum, Bamboo (for which he received an Izzy Award for Best Choreography 2001-2002) and Double Happiness.
In addition to his dancing and choreography, Mr. Lowe served as Assistant Artistic Director from 1997-2000, and coordinated the Company’s outreach program throughout the East Bay from 1982-1999. In addition to his work with Oakland Ballet, Mr. Lowe was the Artistic Director of Peninsula Ballet from 2004-2008 and resident Choreographer for Moving Arts Dance where his works have been showcased in Belarus, Poland, Paris and Hawai’i. He is the current Artistic Director of the Black Diamond Ballet Theatre in East Contra Costa County where he choreographed his first full length Nutcracker. His most recent role in the dance world is as the Artistic Director of his own exciting, new company, Menlowe Ballet in Menlo Park, that has already positively impacted audiences.
Sarah-Jane 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 (ISTD) ballet techniques. In addition to ballet, her wide knowledge of dance also encompasses tap, jazz and European folk dance. Sarah-Jane taught and performed professionally in Hong Kong before she came to the United States and joined the faculty of Menlo Park Academy of Dance. For the past seven years, she has been the co-owner and director of the school. Sarah-Jane holds the Royal Academy of Dance Teaching Certificate with distinction, always nurturing her students to achieve their very best. Many of Sarah-Jane’s students have gone on to enjoy professional dance careers, including former ballet student, who is now on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars”, Cheryl Burke.
Lisa received her classical ballet training with Grace Doty at Berkeley Conservatory Ballet. Her training also included instruction from Howard Sayette, Larry Grenier, Kenneth Melville and Leslie Crockett. She was fortunate to perform in many classical works, as well as pieces choreographed by Richard Cook and John Loschmann, among others.
Lisa spent a summer with Milwaukee Ballet prior to attending Mount Holyoke College. After receiving a BA in Political Science, she enjoyed a decade-long career at Oracle Corporation. More recently, Lisa has served on a number of non-profit boards, notably the YMCA of the Mid-Peninsula and Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco. Lisa in enthusiastic about her current work as a Certified Life Coach and is thrilled to be serving as Executive Director of Menlowe Ballet.
Julie Lowe has danced and taught professionally for over 25 years. As a Principal Ballerina with the Oakland Ballet Company, she toured extensively throughout the United States and Europe, performing many of the company’s leading roles, and working alongside luminaries of the dance world.
Upon retiring from her performing career as a ballerina, Julie discovered the enchanting world of ballroom dance and now, through her teaching, she provides students the opportunity to enhance their technical and artistic skills in both dance forms.
From 2001 to 2007 Julie served as Artistic Director for the Metronome Ballroom’s acclaimed summer showcase and was instrumental in bringing the production to Fort Mason’s Cowell Theater where it performed to sold-out audiences.
Currently, as a Master Teacher for the Ballroom Dance Teachers College, the nation’s premier vocational training program for ballroom dance instructors, Julie nurtures adults on their path to becoming ballroom dance teachers. Julie enjoys teaching, coaching and choreographing for ballroom and ballet students of all levels, from beginners to professionals. Her teaching intention is to create a safe, fun, and nurturing environment where students can explore and achieve their dance goals.