Michelle Bernier. Dance Artist.
Thanks for visiting my site! I am a forward-thinking, twenty-first century mover, and in terms of the many hats I wear, I'm a dancer, choreographer, teacher, filmmaker, and scholar. Also, the occasional fedora. My career has thankfully found me engulfed in ballet, tap, jazz, modern, postmodern, contemporary, and countless social styles; I no longer prefer to self-identify as a specific type of dancer. I tend to work in companies which endorse a collaborative environment, dismissing the hegemonic, top-down organizational style with other mistakes of the last century. My research and choreographic interests include somatic-inclusive pedagogical methods, dance phenomenology, site-specific experimentation, and the malleability of space-time.
After countless hours agonizing over the biggest questions in life, I finally attained a BA in Philosophy summa cum laude from the University of Southern Maine in 2009. Since that wasn't traumatic enough, and since my inner hopeless romantic motivates me relentlessly, I am currently pursuing an M.F.A. in Dance Choreography and Performance, with secondary emphases in Somatics and Dance Film, at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Although the latest neuroscience is actually starting to prove our brains are incapable of true multi-tasking, I'm attempting to defy the science, by holding the following positions while in graduate school:
~Tour Ensemble Director at Airborne Dance
~Life/Art Dance Ensemble Dancer and Choreographer
~Life/Art Dance Ensemble Board Member
I have created my own path, in life and in dance, in a slow and careful process in consideration of best practices for safety and respecting the individuals, and the exercising of noble truths. My finished works can often be complex compilations of sound, color, light, film, and movement, with every layer deliberately placed. I use parody and satire frequently and prefer to view those who dance in my pieces as humans first, and dancers coincidentally.
" 'Slow Motion,' by Michelle Bernier ... featured artfully repeated motifs and thoughtful composition with creative use of silence. " ~Jennifer Brewer, Portland Press Herald, March 2010
"Michelle embraces the quirks of each dancer she works with and develops these quirks into amazing and captivting works. She has the rare talent of knowing subtlety." ~Meghan Larson, Independent Dance Artist
"Instinctually, Michelle delves into each individual in the rehearsal process to draw out her strength as a dancer and platform her creativities in the most interesting light. As a dancer, I have found it a joy to work in such a calm, creative and productive environment under the direction of an authority on dance who holds vision for the future adaptations and progressions of the art." ~Rose Metcalf, BA Hons. Theatre-Dance
ATHE Conference in Montreal-- Presenting research on Fred Astaire
My research paper entitled "Fred Astaire's Site-Specific Choreography: High Art for the Low Art Consumer" will be the subject of my first ever conference presentation. The Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) has a focus group in Musical Theatre and Dance at this summer's conference, entitled the Bruce Kirle Memorial Debut Panel in Musical Theatre/Dance. I will present my paper, respond to questions from a moderator, and eventually see my work published in their journal.
July 31, 2015
Life/Art Dance Ensemble presents "HOME"
Life/Art Dance Ensemble's Sixth Annual Contemporary Showcase will feature 9 amazing dancers and the choreography of our endlessly talented director, Jessica Riggs.
August 22 & 23, 2015
Round and Round and Up and Down: a 31st Century Child's Guide to Spirals OR The Time Traveler's Bathroom Reader
Never heard of a dance show in a planetarium? Me neither! So I'm making one!This summer I'll be embarking on a new adventure: creating a one-of-a-kind performance for my MFA thesis concert. I'm working with 18 dancers, as well as film, sound, and technical collaborators, to create a kid-friendly and adult-friendlier production that spirals its way through a whimsical, peculiar, possibly intoxicating and probably impractical romp around the imagination by way of science, mathematics, storytelling and dance.
October 10 &1 1, 2015