Published: April 6, 2016
Michelle Ellsworth headshot

Michelle Ellsworth, an associate professor of dance at the University of Colorado Boulder, has been awarded a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship to help fund a project examining movement in interpersonal interactions.

Guggenheim Fellowships are grants that have been awarded annually since 1925 by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation to those "who have demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts.”

"It is so fantastic to know that others now recognize what we have known all along: that Michelle Ellsworth is a trailblazer, innovator, and all-round wonderfully generous colleague," says Bud Coleman, chair of CU-Boulder's Department of Theatre & Dance.

Michelle Ellsworth uses her expansive definition of dance as well as video, text, performance sculptures, and the World Wide Web to explore topics ranging from pharmaceutical art to experimental surveillance. Consistently commingling with technology and objects, her recent works were highlighted in The New York Times article, "Best Dance of 2015" under the heading “Dances With Gadgets". 

Currently Ellsworth is developing "The Rehearsal Artist" (part performance and part social science experiment) to observe how a body’s meaning and function shift as it collides with other bodies in the context of a reoccurring rehearsal/experiment. Next up is the "Post-Verbal Social Network," which employs pre-industrial technology to augment the physical labor of choreography and community. For both of these projects, Ellsworth will collaborate with video and sound artist Max Bernstein, lighting designer and reactive artist Ryan Seelig, web programmer and designer Satchel Spencer, and alpinist and carpenter Bruce Miller. 

Among her honors are a Doris Duke Impact Award (2015), a NEFA National Dance Project Grant (2014), a Creative Capital Fellowship (2013), and a USA Artists Knight Fellowship in Dance (2012). She has received three National Performance Network Creation Fund Commissions (2004, 2007, and 2016). 

Highlights in her performing career include presenting at On The Boards in Seattle (2004, 2005, 2012, 2015), The Chocolate Factory (2015), The Fusebox Festival in Austin (2013 and 2015), Abandon Normal Devices Festival in Liverpool (2013), Danspace in New York City (2012), Diverseworks in Houston (1996, 1997, 2001, 2005, 2009), Dance Theatre Workshop in New York City (1992, 1993, 1996, 2007), and Brown University (2011, 2015).