Michael Viator-Guest Choreographer, Instructor
Michael Viator began his dance training at the age of 9. He began performing as a Company Member several years later. He was then invited into the Instructor's Trainee Program and upon successfully completing the course joined the CCB Instructional Staff.
Michael's gift for choreography emerged when at age 16 he choreographed Freedom, a full-length ballet for the entire company celebrating the spirit of the American people. Michael went on to create ALICE, Beauty and the Beast and Cinderella and was recognized by Charles Scavullo, Executive Director of Augusta's Imperial Theatre, for the considerable financial contribution his works brought to the theatre's renovation projects.
Michael was invited to join Ballet Magnificat's Trainee Program but delayed accepting until first completing three years of training at Georgia School of Ministry. During this time Michael founded a dance ministry within his home church providing instruction to students based upon what they could afford.
Michael moved to Jackson Mississippi to begin dancing with Ballet Magnificat and was soon promoted to Company Artist. He traveled extensively with the company throughout the United States and on into Europe and Asia. Michael met Olivia Nelsen, a fellow dancer in the company. The couple married in March, 2020. Today Michael is the Artistic Director of Encounter Performing Arts Company where he continues to to minister the gospel through dance.
Michael and Olivia will visit the Columbia County Ballet this June as Guest Instructors. Michael will create a new piece on Performing Company at the invitation of Artistic Director Ron Jones to once again be based upon the theme of Freedom.
Originally from Washington State, Olivia Nelsen grew up studying ballet, jazz, tap, contemporary, and modern at Irene's School of Dance. During her training there, she had the opportunity to perform many lead roles with the studio company, and was also offered a support cast role with the New York Ballet Theatre. Later, Olivia furthered her ballet training with former Pacific Northwest Ballet and Joffrey Ballet Principal Dancer, Deborah Hadley, and Pacific Northwest Ballet personal trainer, Carol Elsner.
After receiving several scholarship awards, Olivia attended summer dance intensives with Cornish College of the Arts, The Evergreen City Ballet, and Ballet Magnificat!. Following high school, Olivia was asked to be a trainee with Ballet Magnificat!. She was soon promoted to Company Artist with the company where for the next six years she had the opportunity to perform and minister to over 20 countries including Europe, Russia, Africa, Central America, Canada, and the United States. In 2019, Olivia and her husband, Michael Viator, moved to Iowa where they are now the Artistic Directors of Encounter Performing Arts Company.
Summer 2020 Guest Instructors
Michael & Olivia Viator