School of Theatre & Dance

Michael Foley



Michael Foley has been involved in the world of professional dance for over 20 years and is considered a master teacher and choreographer in his field.

Michael received his Bachelor’s degree in English and a minor Spanish from Bates College in Maine, and his Masters of Fine Arts in Dance from the University of Washington in 2002 where he performed in the works of several of the 20th century's major choreographers, including Mark Morris, Alwin Nikolais, Hanya Holm, Stephen Petronio, Michio Ito, Dore Hoyer and Bill Evans. During Michael’s 10 years based in New York, he performed throughout the United States, Europe and Asia in the companies of over two dozen choreographers including Doug Elkins, Kevin Wynn, Sean Curran, Roberta Garrison, Joy Kellman, Donna Uchizono, Ruby Shang, Ben Munisteri and Eun Me Ahn.

Michael has taught workshops and master classes at universities, academic institutions and private studios throughout the United States, Italy, France, The Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Mexico, Panama and Cuba. He has served on the faculties of New World School of the Arts in Miami, The Amsterdam Dance Center, The Association of Professional Dancers in Ireland, Balettakademien in Stockholm and Bates College in Maine. He has served on the summer faculties of The Florida Dance Festival and The New York Dance Intensive on numerous occasions. Michael also served as the Artistic Director of the Dance In Education Fund, Inc. for several years, as well as a faculty member for 10 years at DanceSpace Center in New York City and as an instructor at Steps, Peridance and The Alvin Ailey American Dance Center.

He has had a long relationship with the esteemed Bates Dance Festival where he was co-director of the Bates Dance Festival/Young Dancer's Workshop from 1996 - 2007, as well as serving on the faculty of the professional program on numerous occasions. Mr. Foley has been instrumental in contributing to The Bates Dance Festival's reputation as a cooperative, non-competitive training ground for professional dancers.

Michael has also taught master classes at the prestigious National Ballet School of Cuba, Ballet National de Marseille and assisted Shonach Mirk-Robles at the Paris Opera Ballet School for the remounting of Maurice Béjart’s Variations Don Giovanni, which premiered at The Paris Opera in April 2006.

Michael has received choreographic commissions and conducted major residencies at academic institutions such as Harvard University, Texas Woman's University, Cornish College of the Arts, University of Texas, New World School of the Arts, University of Mississippi and University of Florida. He has received choreographic commissions from nationally touring repertory companies d9 Dance Collective in Seattle, Modern American Dance Company in St. Louis, Moving Current in Tampa, Eisenhower Dance Ensemble in Detroit, and Shade/Lacy Duets in Texas. His notable international commissions have been with Jus de la Vie Dance Company in Sweden, DoubleTrouble in Paris, Delfos Danza in Mexico, Momentum Danza in Panama and DanzAbierta in Havana, Cuba, among many others.

His work has been performed at many well-respected venues for dance around the world, including Lincoln Center's Out-of-Doors Festival and Dance Theater Workshop in New York City, The Bumbershoot Festival in Seattle, The Dance Place in Washington, DC, The Grand Performances Watercourt in Los Angeles, Teatro Mella in Havana, La Sala Miguel Covarrubias in Mexico City, Theatre Balettakedemien in Stockholm and The Beckett Centre at Trinity College in Dublin.

Michael also continues to teach dance technique and has set choreography for the Cirque du Soleil organization, including work on their productions La Nouba and Ovo, respectively.

In 1994 he formed his own company, “Michael Foley Dance,” touring the United States and Europe. Called “exuberant” and “hypnotic” by The New York Times, the Company was based in Ireland from 2000 – 2002 as part of a multi-year residency with Fluxusdance funded by the Irish Arts Council.

In 2009, Michael was a Fulbright scholar in Mexico under the COMEXUS/Garcia-Robles Fulbright award for research and teaching. While in Mexico, he continued his long association making new repertory for Mexico's most lauded, internationally touring modern dance troupe, Delfos Danza, as well as teaching at La Escuela Profesional de la Danza de Mazatlan where he also worked on streamlining the Mexican dance conservatory curriculum.

Michael is the recipient of an award for Outstanding Direction of a Play from the Kennedy Center/American Theatre Festival for his co-direction of Metamorphoses, as well as multiple Gala Concert appearances of his choreography at the American College Dance Festival. He received the USF's Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award in 2010 and is also director/creator of the University of South Florida Dance Program’s study abroad program in Paris.

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