History and Future

After a long career as a dancer and choreographer, John and his wife Mieko Bishop came to the Pacific Northwest with a dream to build a professional-level ballet academy and company which became Northwest Ballet Theater and Academy. In June of 2020, due the Covid-19 pandemic, the couple decided to close their studios in Bellingham and Lynden. Fortunately, students today are able to still take classes with John at the Firehouse Arts and Events Center in Fairhaven, WA. Here a new chapter unfolds in the rich history of dance education and classical and contemporary ballet performances that John and Mieko have brought to this community. 

John's B i o g r a p h y

Dancer, choreographer and director, John Paul Bishop has long been associated with prominent dance companies and schools in the US and abroad and has worked with some of the most notable artists in the world of dance. He began studying classical ballet and piano at the age of 8 and began his professional career at 16 with the Milwaukee Ballet Company.  He has since performed with over twenty professional companies from New York to Japan. He has worked with such dance luminaries as George Balanchine, Mikhail Barishnikov, Andre Eglevsky and many others. As a principal dancer he has performed an array of roles in both classical and contemporary repertoire including Albrecht in Giselle, Prince Ziegfried in Swan Lake, Basil in Don Quixote, Franz in Coppelia, Prince Florimund in Sleeping Beauty, Jean Brienne in 'Raymonda', Oberon in A Midsummer Nights Dream and Bryaxis in Daphnis et Chloe.

  After a long professional career as a dancer, Mr. Bishop has transitioned into a well-respected choreographer creating over fifty original ballets. In his 20 year tenure at Northwest Ballet Theater, he has staged full-length ballets including Coppelia, La Fille Mal Gardee, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Cinderella, Don Quixote,  Giselle, Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, Dracula and The Nutcracker. Some of his classical one-act ballets include Paquita, Graduation Ball, The Firebird, Petrushka, Spectre de la Rose, Beethoven's 7th Symphony, Four Seasons and Daphnis et Chloe.  In 2004, he and six of his dancers competed in the St. Petersburg International Ballet Competition in Russia where he received the Award for Best Choreography and his dancers placed highly in the competition.  Former students of Mr. Bishop's now dance with prestigious dance programs and companies in The United States and overseas. He has also trained several professional figure skaters, including Shizuka Arakawa, gold medalist at the 2006 Olympics in Turin. Mr. Bishop's ballet productions for NBT have also attracted students and professional dancers from Washington to Russia. 

John receiving the Mayor's Arts Award in 2011
Performing 'Into the Night' at the 
Firehouse in 2015

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