Michael Romy Greer, executive director at Portland Ballet, will leave the organization he has led for two years for a similar job in Portland, Oregon. He begins his new job at Oregon Ballet Theatre on Nov. 1.

Nell Shipman, Portland Ballet’s artistic director, will lead the ballet company as it searches for a new executive director, said Butch Baxter, Portland Ballet’s board president, in a press release.

Greer said he was recruited to apply for the position and enticed by the opportunity and challenge of leading a larger ballet company. “Oregon Ballet Theatre is one of the larger ballet companies in the United States, and I was presented with the opportunity. As much as I am going to miss Portland Ballet, it’s just the right move in my trajectory,” he said.

Oregon Ballet Theatre has an annual budget of about $6.5 million, compared to about $500,000 at Portland Ballet. Greer came to Portland in August 2015, after a career in business in India and China and a six-year stint as a professional dancer. A native of Missouri, he replaced the company’s founding director, Eugenia O’Brien.

During his time in Maine, Greer helped the company grow artistically and financially, landing $300,000 in grants that allowed Portland Ballet to create fellowships to better compensate its artists and increase its presence in Portland. Portland Ballet trains dancers and maintains a company of professional dancers and choreographers.

In an interview, Greer said he felt comfortable leaving Portland Ballet because the organization is sound financially and ready for new leadership. “My leaving will do no harm to the organization,” he said. “One hundred percent of our success has come from the hard work and dedication of the staff, students, parents, volunteers and the board. This is a good opportunity to bring in a new perspective and new leadership, which is always a good thing.”

Shipman will retain her role as artistic director, and her primary task is preparing the company for its performance of “Giselle” in late October. Otherwise, her job is to maintain the momentum of the company as it looks for Greer’s replacement.

Shipman, who has been with Portland Ballet 13 years, said she’s not interested in applying for the job.

“The artistic side of the organization is my focus, and I want to hang on to that,” she said.

Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: pphbkeyes

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