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Photo Credit: Blaine Truitt Covert


A lifelong choreographer, Michelle Manzanales has had the great pleasure and honor of making dances for artists of all ages, schools, studios, universities, and companies across the U.S. throughout her more than 30-year career in the field.

CriticalDance writes that Manzanales’ choreography “…isn’t just about one girl’s experience; it applies to everyone, of any gender, and of any culture.”

Manzanales’ recent commissions include Soñadorxs (Dreamers) for Ballet de Jalisco, Sor Juana for Ballet Hispánico, Hope is the Thing with Feathers for the Paul Taylor Dance Company, and Mirror, Mirror for Oregon Ballet Theatre among others.

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Ballet de Jalisco
Soñadorxs (Dreamers)

Soñadorxs (Dreamers) is Michelle Manzanales', first work for Ballet de Jalisco, and it premiered July 21, 2023 in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico at Teatro Degollado. A fusion of dance styles including contemporary and classical ballet, the work reveals a world where people still believe in daring to dream. Through an eclectic soundscape which includes the music of Debussy, Pink Martini, Silvana Estrada, Madreus and other, the dancers create a space for hope in this time of evermore darkness.

Photo Credit: James Kelly

Ballet Hispánico
Sor Juana

Sor Juana premiered at New York City Center on June 1, 2023. In this work, Manzanales explores the life and legacy of the iconic 17th century Mexican feminist, poet, scholar, and nun, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. Centuries after her death, Sor Juana’s story and integral voice in the feminist movement continue to inspire the world. This work not only provides a glimpse into Sor Juana’s life but also connects and reminds us of the ongoing need for advocacy of women’s rights and the rights of all who fight to live freely and safely as their authentic selves.

Paul Taylor Dance Company
Hope is the Thing with Feathers

Hope is the Thing with Feathers premiered at The Joyce Theater on June 14, 2022 and has since been performed at the American Dance Festival at Page Auditorium at Duke University, July 1 & 2, 2022.


Oregon Ballet Theater
Mirror, Mirror

Michelle Manzanales' new commission for OBT,

Mirror, Mirror premiered as part of The Americans Series June 3 - 11, 2022 at the Newmark Theatre alongside Darrell Grand Moultrie’s whimsical Fluidity of Steel celebrating maleness without conformity;

and Ashley Roland and Jamey Hampton’s Big Shoes

Photo Credit: Blaine Truitt Covert


Ballet Hispánico
Con Brazos Abiertos

Michelle Manzanales explores with humility, nostalgia, and humor the iconic Mexican symbols that she was once reluctant to embrace as a Mexican American child growing up in Texas. Intertwining the essence of folkloric dance with her distinctly contemporary movement voice, set to music that ranges from Julio Iglesias to Radiohead, Con Brazos Abiertos is a fun and frank look at a life suspended between two cultures.

Ballet Hispánico

A dance film of an intimate duet between two people tangled in captivation; willing to surrender to a moment, to be caught in a breath, to be brave enough to fall.

Luna Negra Dance Theater
Paloma Querida

In this homage to the life and art of Frida Kahlo, Michelle Manzanales brings a new perspective on Kahlo’s work she calls “landscapes of the heart” and reflects on her own Mexican roots through the life of this powerful cultural icon.

Photo Credit: Cheryl Mann

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