DANA MICHEL is a choreographer and live artist. Her works interact with the expanded fields of improvisation, sculpture, hip-hop, comedy, cinematography, dub, and social commentary to create centrifuge of experience.
Before graduating from the BFA program in Contemporary Dance at Concordia University in her late twenties, Michel was a marketing executive, competitive runner and football player. In 2014, she was awarded the newly created ImPulsTanz Award (Vienna) in recognition for outstanding artistic accomplishments, and was highlighted among notable female choreographers of the year by the New York Times. In 2017, Michel was awarded the Silver Lion for Innovation in Dance at the Venice Biennale. In 2018, she became the first ever dance artist in residence at the National Arts Centre, Canada. Recently, she has been shortlisted for the ANTI Festival International Prize for Live Art.
Michel is currently touring three solo performance works, Yellow Towel, Mercurial George and CUTLASS SPRING created in 2019. Based in Montreal, Michel is an associate artist with Par B.L.eux.
An amalgam of intuitive improvisation, choreography, and performance art, my artistic practice is rooted in exploring the multiplicity of identity. I work with notions of performative alchemy and lucid dreaming – using personal history, current preoccupations, and future desires to create an empathetic centrifuge of live moments between myself and witnesses.
Today, my work can perhaps be described by some of its influences and inhabitations : sculpture, cinematography, comedy, hip-hop, psychology, dub, and social commentary.
In research, I alternate between the work that takes place in and out of the studio. After pouring over a subject via writing, reading, video, and discussion – I relax my focus and let the body take over. I feed myself with sound, silence, and dissonance – at times over-stuffing my body and psyche with stimulation to encounter its response. Then, minute details pop into my kinetic vision. They manifest movements, resonations, colours, textures, and certain experiences of light. These details clarify the trajectory of the work.
Using difficulty as a navigational methodology comes naturally and coerces my performances into places of emergency and vulnerability. This is where I am able to listen at closest range, and to share with the least hesitation. Thinking about beings as mathematical proofs or portals, made up of billions of possibilities, deepens this listening.
My offering is a repository that remains open to interpretation, a vast space for encountering and broadening one’s own logic of seeing and experiencing.