School of Theatre & Dance

Michael Foley



Michael Foley has been involved in the world of professional dance for over 25 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 where he performed in the works of several of the 20th century's major choreographers, including Mark Morris, Alwin Nikolais, Stephen Petronio, Hanya Holm, Michio Ito, Dore Hoyer and Bill Evans. As a dancer, he has performed throughout the United States, Europe and Asia in the companies of over two dozen choreographers including Doug Elkins, Kevin Wynn, Seán Curran, Donna Uchizono, Eun Me Ahn, Joy Kellman, Ruby Shang, Ben Munisteri, and Roberta Garrison.

Michael has taught workshops and master classes at universities, academic institutions and private studios throughout the United States, France, Italy, The Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Mexico, Panama, the Dominican Republic 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 addition to the summer faculties of The Florida Dance Festival, the Chicago Association of Dance Masters, and The New York Dance Intensive on numerous occasions. Michael was also the Artistic Director of the Dance in Education Fund, Inc. in New York for several years, as well as a faculty member for 10 years at DanceSpace Center/Dance New Amsterdam 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 training program on numerous occasions. Michael has been instrumental in contributing to The Bates Dance Festival's reputation as a cooperative, non-competitive training ground for professional and pre-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 Garnier in April 2006.

Michael has received choreographic commissions from several nationally touring repertory companies including: Modern American Dance Company (MADCo) in St. Louis, Eisenhower Dance Ensemble in Detroit, Sarasota Contemporary Dance, d9 Dance Collective in Seattle, Moving Current in Tampa, and Shade/Lacy Duets in Texas. His notable international commissions have been with Delfos Danza in Mexico, Jus de la Vie Dance Company in Sweden, Momentum Danza in Panama, La Companía Nacional de Danza Contemporànea in the Dominican Republic, DoubleTrouble in Paris, Fluxusdance in Ireland, and DanzAbierta in Havana, Cuba.  He 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, Florida State University, University of Mississippi, Jacksonville University, Boston University, and University of Florida.

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, Teatro de Bellas Artes in Mexico City, Theatre Balettakedemien in Stockholm, the KUANAS Dance Festival in Lithuania, the PRISMA Festival de Danza in Panama, 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 with 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 County Kildare, 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 company, Delfos Danza Conteporánea, as well as teaching at La Escuela Profesional de la Danza de Mazatlán 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, and BroadwayWorld.com’s “Best Choreographer Award” for his work on freeFall Theatre’s Equity production of Into the Woods, as well as multiple Gala Concert appearances of his choreography at the American College Dance Association’s regional festivals.  He received the Ruth Page Visiting Artist Award from Harvard University in 2005.
 
Michael is currently a tenured Associate Professor of Dance at the University of South Florida, where he received USF's Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award in 2010, and USF’s Global Achievement Award for Student Success in 2016.  He is also the director/creator of the University of South Florida Dance Program’s semester and summer study abroad programs in Paris, which has brought nearly 200 students to Paris since 2007.

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