Doris Duke Artist Awards

Michelle Dorrance

Choreographer and Dancer

Brooklyn, New York

Michelle Dorrance is an internationally renowned tap dancer and choreographer, known for simultaneously revering the form’s roots while exploding it into new territory. In early 2011, she founded Dorrance Dance to help audiences view the old jazz form of tap dance in a modern, dynamically compelling context. Her choreography has been presented internationally at countless festivals, in venues ranging from Radio City Music Hall to Birdland, and in commercials for MTV and Toyota Taiwan. Since the late 1990s, Dorrance has performed with the world’s most notable tap companies and spent four years performing in the New York and North American tour casts of the off-Broadway sensation “STOMP.”

Dorrance is an accomplished solo artist, performing and teaching master classes throughout the world. She was on the faculty at Broadway Dance Center for 10 years and has taught at Steps on Broadway, Peridance Center, Duke University, New York University, East Carolina University, The Ohio State University, Barnard College, Elon College, numerous privately owned studios and national conventions.

Dorrance began tap dancing at the age of four and performing at the age of eight under her mentor, youth tap trailblazer Gene Medler. She was formally trained at The Ballet School of Chapel Hill, founded by her mother and former professional ballet dancer M’Liss Gary Dorrance, and toured internationally and nationally with Medler’s groundbreaking North Carolina Youth Tap Ensemble (NCYTE) for a decade.

In addition to other accolades, Dorrance has received a 2018 Capezio Dance Award, 2017 Ford Foundation Art of Change Fellowship, 2016-17 New York Center Choreography Fellowship, 2016 United States Artist Fellowship, 2015 MacArthur Fellowship, 2015 Joyce Theatre Foundation Artist Residency, 2014 Herb Alpert Award in Dance and 2013 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award. In 2012, she became the first tap dancer to receive a Princess Grace Award for choreography in the organization’s 30-year history.


See the other 2018 Doris Duke Artists