"While denying the form of the epic, I try to make epics: sprawling and grand work that is as ruthlessly formal as it is personal. I create environments and structures that force a relationship with “reality,” with what is actually going on, and, so, highlight the history of the watcher with the room. I want to cultivate observation of excellence, virtuosity, struggle, fatigue, and boredom as elements in a work. The passionate arguments I constantly have with myself about the relevance of contemporary dance are the major contributor to the dances themselves. Driven by the desire for the problematic, the silent corners, the unseen, the quiet large thing, and for great beauty and ugliness on the stage, I am always working, always, and never arriving."

As much an installation artist as a choreographer, Sarah Michelson makes rigorous, passionate, site specific dances that turn audiences upside down. Rethinking theatrical space—an audience faces the back of a familiar theatre; a work is made for two sites; performers leave through an emergency exit only to be seen later through a window onto the street outside—her events have been called architectural dance experiences. The movement? Insistent. Quick. Obsessive. Seemingly repetitive, if you don’t look closely. A force field of calculated randomness performed by highly trained and untrained dancers who populate the exaggerated distances and up-close intimacy, those choreographic decisions may appear spontaneous yet they’re fully calculated to brook no improvisation. Michelson draws on movies and fashion and emotionally resonant small real life gestures. Blasting her viewers with unexpected lighting changes (and what one writer termed her “impudent intelligence”), Michelson relentlessly thinks and tests out and thinks again about just what constitutes “a dance.”

Born 1964, Manchester, United Kingdom
Lives in New York City

1990 M.F.A., Fiction Writing, Mills College, Oakland, California
1985 Laban Centre, IPC, London
1984 B.A., Literature, London University, Goldsmiths College, 1st class

2006 Swan Lake, Transitions Dance Company (Commissioner), Laban Centre, London
2005 Daylight (for Minneapolis), Walker Art Center, (Commissioner) Minneapolis, Minnesota
2005 Daylight, premiered at Performance Space 122 (Co-commissioner), New York; On the Boards, Seattle, Washington
2005 Love is Everything, Lyon Opera Ballet (Commissioner), Lyon, France
2003-04 Shadowmann, premiered at The Kitchen (Part 1) and P.S. 122 (Part 2), New York; Tanz im August, Berlin; Zurich Theatre Spektakel Festival; The Venice Biennale; SommerSzene, Salzburg; The Cutting Edge Festival, Frankfurt, Germany
2003 The Apartment, 857 5th Avenue, New York
2002 Grivdon at the Grivdon Lawn, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Becket, Massachusetts
2002 The Experts, White Oak Dance Project, New York
2002 Grivdon at the Grivdon Concrete, The Kitchen, New York
2001 Group Experience, P.S. 122, New York
2001 I'm in Fawn, The Kitchen, New York
2000 Aut Norm, P.S. 122, New York
2000 Blister Me, Dixon Place, New York
1999 Miami 3XLA, The Kitchen, New York

2006 Swan Lake (working title), The Brooklyn Academy of Music (Co-producer), New York, October 2006

2006 Creative Capital Foundation Award
2006 American Music Center Live Music for Dance Program
2005,06 The Jerome Foundation
2004 Rockefeller MAP Fund Grant
2004 New York Foundation for the Arts
2004 New England Foundation for the Arts, National
Dance Project
2004 National Performance Network Creation Fund
2002,04 The Fund for U.S. Artists at International Festivals and Exhibitions, Arts International
Altria Group, Inc.
2002,03 NY Dance and Performance Award (Bessie)
2002 Der Foerder Prize Zurich