Doris Duke Artist Awards

Michelle Ellsworth

Dancer and Choreographer

Boulder, Colorado

Michelle Ellsworth, a 2019 Doris Duke Artist in the contemporary dance category, is a prolific and boundary-pushing dancer and choreographer who intermingles technology, carpentry, science and history into complex dance works that simultaneously delight and stimulate contemplation.  She is a proponent of the theory that dance heals, and her projects offer the audience unnamed perspectives and possibilities for recoveries from situational trauma ranging from the personal to the geopolitical.  Ellsworth’s works convey a distinct and compelling artistic voice that is at turns humorous, surprising, dynamic and cerebral.  Performances such as “Tifprabap.org,” offering web-based help for creating a new religion; “Preparation for the Obsolescence of the Y Chromosome,” exploring a world without men; and “Post-Verbal Social Network,” imagining new methodologies for communication, are unconventional presentations that seamlessly combine art and science, producing work that at once intrigues and engages.

Ellsworth is a professor in the Department of Theatre and Dance and the interim director of the Center for Media Arts and Performance at the University of Colorado Boulder. Highlights in her performing career include presenting at American Realness, Bard’s Fisher Center, Noorderzon Festival in the Netherlands, Made in the U.S.A Festival in Greece, On The Boards, The Chocolate Factory, The Fusebox Festival, Brown University, Abandon Normal Devices Festival in Liverpool, England, Danspace in New York, Diverseworks in Houston and Dance Theatre Workshop in New York.   

She has also received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Doris Duke Impact Award, NEFA National Dance Project grants, a Creative Capital Fellowship and a United States Artists Fellowship, along with three National Performance Network Creation Fund commissions.


See the other 2019 Doris Duke Artists