Distinguished Legacy Award
Michelle Boulé is a choreographer, performer, teacher, and certified BodyTalk practitioner based in New York. Among her many accolades, she was honored with a 2010 New York Dance and Performance (“Bessie”) Award for her performance as James Dean and collaboration in the creation of Last Meadow.
As Boulé explains, her work as a dance artist begins with the body—the information it holds and conveys and how this relates to our cultural landscape. She researches Eastern and Western views on somatics, healing, and the physical expression of consciousness and aims to transmit this profound and at times esoteric knowledge of the body into the space and time of performance. Ultimately, her work aspires to create space for the potential of what and who we are.
Her experience at the University of Illinois was vital to her career as a dancer. She dropped her dreams of becoming a dancer at age 16 because of injuries and originally came to the university to complete a higher education degree in business. She later changed her focus to liberal arts and sciences, considering majoring in everything from Spanish, architecture, and sociology to urban planning, English, and journalism. Having no knowledge that the university dance program existed, she literally happened upon the Nevada Street dance building one afternoon while walking home. The following semester, she enrolled in a dance course, and by the second semester of her sophomore year she was granted a scholarship as a dance major. She credits her teachers, especially Linda Lehovec during a midsemester review, for helping her realize that she actually “could dance.”
The program introduced her to contemporary dance and educated her in a more holistic approach to working with the body, which continues to inspire her to this day. Every teacher in the dance program left a significant and unique imprint through their passions for dance, somatic studies, music, history, and fostering the creative artist. After graduating from the University of Illinois as a Bronze Tablet and Campus Honors Program Scholar in May 1999, her parents drove her to New York City one week later to pursue a career in dance. She has been based in New York City and working internationally ever since. Her education at the University of Illinois served as a bedrock for her ongoing studies and pursuits in somatic studies, her impassioned work as a beloved teacher, and her international accolades received as a performer and choreographer.
She has a deep love for teaching and is currently part of the teaching faculty at Movement Research and the New School/Eugene Lang College in New York. She has also served as visiting faculty at Hollins University and the University of Illinois, as well as a guest teacher at dance institutions throughout North and South America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. As a certified BodyTalk practitioner, Michelle has maintained a 10-year private clinical practice in New York and an online practice at MBodyRadiance.com. She also initiated and ran a community wellness clinic at Brooklyn Studios for Dance for two years to offer low-cost holistic health care to the general population.