Nathan Birch ~ Founding Artistic Director
Nathan Birch began his professional skating career in 1983 when he was invited to skate in the John Curry Skating Company, an artistic dance company on ice founded by 1976 Olympic Champion, John Curry. Prior to that he’d enjoyed a long competitive sports career that ranked him among the top figure skaters in the country and offered him a promising future. While in The Curry Company, Mr Birch had the unique privilege of working with numerous celebrated choreographers from the world of dance, providing him with an education in composition and structure rarely found in the skating world.
In 1988 Mr Birch, along with former and fellow Curry member Tim Murphy, founded The Next Ice Age in Baltimore, Maryland. Shortly after, Birch was awarded City, State and Federal Arts funding, including three consecutive Fellowship Grants from the National Endowment for the Arts in the field of Dance: Choreography.
Throughout his career he has appeared in, choreographed, and co-directed a number of television specials for the BBC, PBS, and NBC, and has worked extensively with Dorothy Hamill since 1983.
In 1997 Mr Birch was invited to bring The Next Ice Age to The Kennedy Center Opera House and perform with the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra. In 1998 he was among the first recipients of the Doris Duke Awards for the Creation of New Work. The result premiered at the highly respected American Dance Festival at Duke University on the Reynolds Stage. That same year the Company was presented by Dance St Louis with a gift from then director Sally Bliss. In 2000 he carried NIA to the Columbia Festival of the Arts and in 2001 was invited back to the Kennedy Center, this time at the Eisenhower Theater for the America Dancing Series.
After thirteen years of triumph, Mr Birch made the bold decision to take a hiatus, resulting in a nine-year break from creating new ensemble works of skating choreography. The near decade served as a healthy incubation period for him as an artist, and he is back producing new work for NIA’s newly-formed student company after securing an In Residence presence at the Gardens Ice House in Laurel, Maryland. Reenergized and with a new vision and mission accompanying a rich and fertile past, co-artistic directors Nathan Birch and Tim Murphy, with the help of an experienced and talented staff, are dedicated to leading The Next Ice Age to even greater heights.