A 2012 Field Dance Fund recipient and 2011 Bessie Award winner, Michelle Dorrance is one of the most sought after tap dancers of her generation and "one of the most imaginative tap choreographers working today." (The New Yorker) Mentored by Gene Medler, Michelle grew up performing with the internationally acclaimed North Carolina Youth Tap Ensemble while studying dance at The Ballet School of Chapel Hill (founded by her mother, former professional ballet dancer, M’Liss Gary Dorrance). Featured on the covers of both Dance Magazine and Dance Teacher Magazine, Michelle is critically acclaimed as a soloist and as a member of some incredible companies and productions including: the New York cast and North American touring company of STOMP, Savion Glover's Ti Dii, Manhattan Tap, Jazz Tap Ensemble, Barbara Duffy & Co, Rumba Tap, Derick Grant’s Imagine Tap and Emmy Award winner, Jason Samuels Smith’s Charlie’s Angels: A Tribute to Charlie Parker (Chasing the Bird).
Michelle has performed on television shows “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon”, Britain’s “Royal Variety Performance”, “A Hot Night in Harlem: The Apollo at 70” and “The Jerry Lewis Telethon”. She appeared in a national commercial for Cingular Wireless, performed in/choreographed segments of commercials for MTV and Toyota Taiwan, and collaborated as a dancer/choreographer on a high-fashion promotional film with award-winning shoe designer, Tabitha Simmons and fashion photographer, Craig McDean. Her choreography has been featured throughout the world from jazz clubs in Tokyo to Radio City Music Hall in New York City. A former spotlight dancer with swing-revival icons, the Squirrel Nut Zippers, Michelle stays committed to the great tradition of tap dance as musical performance most recently through performances with Toshi Reagon and Alison Miller, Celebrating the Great Women of Jazz and Blues.
Michelle founded Dorrance Dance / New York in early 2011. Her choreography in the company’s debut performances at Danspace, NYC earned her a 2011 Bessie Award for "Outstanding Production of a work that stretches the boundaries of a traditional or culturally specific form” for "blasting open our notion of tap" (in the critically acclaimed works “Remembering Jimmy” and “Three to One”). Hailed by The Chicago Tribune as “edgy, seductive and smart”, Dorrance Dance has also performed at The Yard, Gotham Arts Exchange’s Stam-pede at Symphony Space, Jacob's Pillow’s Ruth St. Denis Studio, The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (a part of CHRP), The Barcelona Tap Festival, The DC Tap Festival and Beantown Tap Festival's "On Tap!" to rave reviews. The company’s mission aims to help audiences view tap dance, a beautiful old jazz form, in a new and dynamically compelling context. Dorrance Dance does not seek to do this by stripping the form of its tradition, but by pushing it: rhythmically, aesthetically and conceptually.
A highly sought-after instructor at festivals, universities, conventions and studios throughout the world, Michelle embodies a true passion for teaching and strives to share this passion wherever she goes. Michelle holds a Bachelor of Arts from New York University; she plays bass for indie-pop star, Darwin Deez and is on faculty at Broadway Dance Center.