OBT’s Multi-talented dancers

We know the dancers of OBT express themselves beautifully through the delicate lines of ballet, but did you know that many of them excel in other forms of artistic expression? Meet four eclectic OBT dancers who have made time to seriously pursue everything from painting to drumming in a punk rock band!

OBT Company Artist, Makino Hayashi


As an empty stage is an invitation to dance, a blank canvas is an invitation for Makino to paint.

Painting is something in Makino’s roots. “My parents are both artists. In addition to painting, my father creates art with copperplate printing and woodwork. My mother pursued pottery and the art of flower arrangements, in Japanese we call this specialty Ikebana.”

During the six months of quarantine when OBT dancers were not able to perform, rehearse, or even take technique class in the studio, Makino turned to painting. She found the time was a gift – giving her the time and focus she needed to focus on her art, “painting is like close to a meditation to me. I have so much I love to do and I actually loved and enjoyed this time. I’m more relaxed.” Makino sold her first canvas this summer!

Makino is also a rising choreographer whose work has been performed by Oregon Ballet Theatre. Makino is currently setting a piece on the OBT2 company as part of a new works project called Pieces of Eight.

OBT Soloist, Michael Linsmeier


Watching Michael Linsmeier perform is a mesmerizing experience. He is unpredictable, takes risks, and never holds back. It isn’t surprising then that his second passion is something so completely apart from ballet. When he isn’t dancing at the Keller Auditorium or the Newmark Theatre he can be found dancing behind a drum kit at clubs across the country in a punk band called Symptoms.

Michael first sat behind a drum kit when he was 21. “I put on some Al Green and fell in love!” He joined Symptoms about five years ago when the band needed a drummer to jump in for a month long tour. Since then he’s come to love experiencing the “unknown of tour life and (he) couldn’t ask for better friends to deal with the hard times and party in the good times!”

While ballet and punk rock may not seem like an obvious pairing, the combination makes perfect sense for Michael. “The only time I felt human was dancing. When I was introduced to punk music it helped me cope with existence and find the artistic expression in dance. Whether I’m listening to classical music, shaking my hips at a rock n roll show, I feel like I’m alive!”

Symptoms just released their latest album. You can hear a track HERE.

OBT Soloist, Kelsie Nobriga


Beyond technique, musicality is what distinguishes the finest dancers. Kelsie was immersed in music from a young age and began studying piano when she was 9. She continued studying throughout high school. “Piano was my second love after ballet!”

As with ballet, Kelsie’s classical music training was rigorous. She went on to participate in a music study program called Certificate of Merit which was sponsored by The Music Teacher’s Association of California. Students participate in an annual evaluation and receive a written musical performance assessment, as well as complete a written theory exam. Kelsie was selected to perform at the annual MTAC Convention Recital.

At the time Kelsie also played at informal recitals organized by her piano teacher, as well a few music festivals. A highlight was playing Clair de Lune by Claude Debussy, which continues to be one of her favorite pieces. “Having a musical background has really helped me in my dancing career to hear the music in a better way. Playing the piano now is very therapeutic to me, and I love to use the beautiful pianos at the studio whenever I get the chance!”

OBT Principal Dancer, Brian Simcoe


When Brian isn’t captivating us on stage with his soaring leaps, snappy pirouettes, and total grace, he enjoys being behind a camera photographing people. ”it really is a joy to be able to capture the special moments in someone’s life,” says Brian who loves portraiture. Brian’s portfolio includes headshots, family portraits, and weddings. The images are full of personality often witty and always original.

This season OBT has retained Brian to photograph the company dancers’ new headshots. We can’t wait to see what he sees!

Below are a few examples of Brian’s work, You can explore more of his photography HERE.

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