Ethan was born in St. Louis, Missouri and moved to the mountains of Colorado after his father took his first trip west and fell in love with the mountains. Mark courageously decided to move the family to Colorado and become an artist. This move had a powerful effect on Ethan which he didn’t fully realize until much later in life. Not only was he living in a kid’s fantasy playground with the rivers to run and rocks to climb but he also learned a valuable lesson by the example his father had set… “You really can create the life you want”.
In 1999 he received a BS in Psychology and Anatomy/Neurobiology from Colorado State University, with the thought he would go to medical or graduate school to study cognitive neuroscience. During his sophomore year he took his first ballet class to improve his rock climbing, and because the rugby coach had suggested the team take ballet to improve agility. After that first class he began studying ballet in the evenings after his regular university classes. When he graduated and it was time to take the MCAT or GRE, he wasn’t finished dancing yet, so Ethan auditioned and was hired as an apprentice with Ballet Austin.
In Austin he danced with Ballet Austin II, designed curriculum for their outreach program, and developed a program for an emergency children’s shelter to teach appropriate non-violent physical interaction utilizing contact improvisation and ballet. After leaving Ballet Austin he danced for two years with Aspen Santa Fe Ballet. Ethan worked with some of the world’s most acclaimed contemporary choreographers, touring extensively, and developing a love for contemporary European choreography.
Next, he joined Oakland Ballet as a principal dancer gaining experience and performing a varied and diverse repertoire from Ninjinsky’s ‘Afternoon of a Faun’ and Ron Guidi’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ to works by Dwight Rhoden and Robert Moses. Ethan then joined Smuin Ballet under the direction of the late, great Michael Smuin, and performed the most accessible and entertaining work of his career. During this time he grew to recognize the value of creating work that is a genuine expression of the artist’s voice while still being entertaining and accessible to a more general audience.
While dancing for Smuin, Ethan founded a multi-disciplinary arts organization called “Urban Art Farm” based in San Francisco. The “Farm” acts as an umbrella under which other organizations and projects can flourish, providing space for the creation of dance, visual art, music, and hosting informal performances, fundraisers and community gatherings. Some of the projects already created under UAF include Black Rock City Ballet, Burning Man’s first professional ballet company, and Making Dance Matter, an outreach program educating children about the importance of dance and art.
Throughout his dance career he has always been sculpting and painting, knowing that one day he would transition from dancer to visual artist. His visual art is currently focused on transferring the study of form movement and expression onto metal whether it is a bronze sculpture or stainless steel and copper canvases which are engraved and then painted with translucent patinas.
Ethan’s patined engraved painting surfaces as well as his purely engraved pieces still focus on the figure both in dance and fashion, as reflected in his newest work. From time to time a seascape or landscape joins the imagery of his work inspired by his mentor and father Mark White. They often are in conversations about their work and have even collaborated on pieces both for shows that they are in together and their solo shows as well.