State Street Ballet Honors Tradition and Embraces Innovation

State Street Ballet Honors Tradition and Embraces Innovation

State Street Ballet founder Rodney Gustafson has announced his January 2024 transition to Founding Director, and the appointments of Megan Philipp as Artistic Director, and Cecily MacDougall as Executive Director.

“As we approach our 30th year, I am focused on evolving our repertoire toward a new generation of artistic vision. I’m confident that Megan and Cecily are the team to lead that initiative,” explained Gustafson.

“When I started this company in 1994, we were a small group of talented dancers, including my colleagues from American Ballet Theatre, and choreographers who established our elegant-but-edgy style. Today we are an established, vibrant company who have just completed the 2022-23 season, that included 54 performances in 17 cities throughout the world, with sold-out houses in Tokyo and Osaka, Japan. It’s now time to expand our leadership team.”

Megan Philipp assumed the Artistic Directorship, currently held by Executive Artistic Director Gustafson and Co-Artistic Director William Soleau, earlier this month. Cecily MacDougall, the current Associate Executive Director, will be promoted to Executive Director January 1, 2024.

Megan Philipp joined State Street Ballet in 2013, creating, launching, and directing the company’s Professional Track Program, and proceeded to train a decade of prospective professional dancers. She became Rehearsal Director in 2018. She spent eight years in New York City as a performing artist, teacher, and choreographer, and worked in administration at ABT. Megan has choreographed sections of many of State Street Ballet’s productions, including The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Jungle Book. She was Faculty and Curriculum Coordinator at Joffrey Ballet Chicago, created their Academy curriculum, taught all levels of their programs, and ran their Los Angeles Summer Intensive. Philipp holds a BA in Dance Pedagogy from Butler University, and an MA in Dance Education from NYU/American Ballet Theatre.

Cecily MacDougall joined State Street Ballet in 2009, and in addition to dancing with the company for 10 years, also founded and directed Library Dances, part of State Street Ballet’s educational outreach program. She danced professionally with New York Theatre Ballet, Allegro Theatre Company, Richmond Ballet, and State Street Ballet. She has choreographed numerous pieces for State Street Ballet, as well as for The Bartered Bride, produced by Music Academy, and El amor brujo and La Traviata in collaboration with Opera Santa Barbara. She received the Indy Award for Anne’s Window in 2015, and in 2020 earned the Apogee Award for her successful arts outreach initiatives. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BA in Performing Arts from St. Mary’s College, is an ABT Certified Teacher, and earned her MBA from Antioch in 2022, with an emphasis in nonprofit administration.

Megan Philipp and Cecily MacDougall have worked as a productive and effective team for over 10 years, and look forward to continuing to ensure the highest quality artistic and educational programming for all State Street Ballet audiences, while maintaining the unique and vibrant character, healthy culture, and financial stability of the company. 

State Street Ballet’s 2023/2024 programming includes Giselle (Oct 21 & 22) performed with the Santa Barbara Symphony; The Nutcracker (Dec 16 & 17) with Opera San Luis Obispo Grand Orchestra and State Street Ballet Academy students; Cinderella (Mar 23 & 24); and Other Voices (May 10 & 11). For more information visit