Macomb Ballet Company celebrates 40th anniversary

By: Kara Szymanski | Shelby-Utica News | Published December 7, 2022

 Macomb Ballet Company kicked off its 40th anniversary this season with five Nutcracker performances at the Macomb Center for Performing Arts Dec. 2-4.

Macomb Ballet Company kicked off its 40th anniversary this season with five Nutcracker performances at the Macomb Center for Performing Arts Dec. 2-4.

Photo provided by Jessica Spano


SHELBY TOWNSHIP — Macomb Ballet Company, a preprofessional nonprofit ballet company located in Shelby Township, kicked off its 40th anniversary this season with five  performances of “The Nutcracker” at the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts this past weekend.

Amber Megna Michalik, the artistic director of the Macomb Ballet Company since 2007 and prior to that MBC’s assistant artistic director, said “The Nutcracker” is a wonderful holiday experience for all ages.

“Each year, we make updates to our production, and this year is no different. In addition to a revamped fight scene, new set designs and costumes, we are introducing a powerful new character danced by our female principal dancers, Queen of the Mice,” Michalik said in an email interview prior to the performances.

She said her favorite part is watching the show come to life during the first performance.

“After the endless hours of planning, rehearsals, costume fittings and staging, it is very rewarding to watch the show from the wings and marvel at how far we have come as a company in just a few short months,” Michalik said.

This being MBC’s 40th year is very special for me. As a MBC company member once myself, I’m proud of the legacy we have built as Macomb County’s only nonprofit performing ballet company. This year, we added two new wonderful artistic directors, Hannah Carden and Brandon Koepsell, both of which brought their own exciting ideas, fresh vision and innovative choreography to the production,” she said.

She said she is excited to share this season with Carden, Koepsell and Assistant Artistic Director Mary Sherman, who also joined MBC in 2007.

“The Nutcracker” performances featured a record-breaking 76 dancers ages 8-25.

“MBC is honored to be a small part of our audience’s holiday season. We strive to put on the very best production possible, keeping it fresh and exciting for all to enjoy year after year. After a short and well-deserved break, our directors and company members will be back in the studio staging our next ballet, an original production of ‘The Little Mermaid’ premiering at the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts April 28-30. Dancers interested in joining our program may audition in August 2023 for our ’23-’24 performance year,” she said.

Nina King, a Macomb Ballet Company principal dancer, said via email that “The Nutcracker” always signifies the beginning of the holiday season and “brings immense joy to me as a dancer and to the audience.”

She said her favorite part is to dance the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy.

“This will be my second year performing this role, and I always look forward to dancing in the land of sweets. The Macomb Ballet Company has existed for 40 years because it has maintained a legacy of excellence as a result of hard work, dedication and innovation. The artistic staff led by Mrs. Amber Michalik has encouraged, believed (in) and inspired me as a dancer, and I am so honored to be a part of this 40th anniversary,” she said.

She said what makes the Nutcracker so special is the plethora of exciting roles that it has to offer. It takes a team to produce it, and she said she is grateful to play a big role in such a production.