Max van der Sterre, a San Francisco native, trained with Damara Bennett and Henry Berg, then the School of American Ballet before joining New York City Ballet in 2005. While dancing with NYCB, he performed works by Jerome Robbins, Christopher Wheeldon, and George Balanchine. At the New York Choreographic Institute, he collaborated with Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Edwaard Liang, Albert Evans, Jerry Opdenaker, Douglas Lee, and Timothy Harbour. He joined Alabama Ballet in 2012, performing works by Jiří Kylián, Twyla Tharp, Agnes de Mille, Frederick Ashton, and George Balanchine. Van der Sterre joined Smuin in 2018.