A lifelong choreographer, Michelle Manzanales has had the great pleasure and honor of making dances for artists of all ages, schools, studios, colleges, 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’ most recent commissions include Sor Juana for Ballet Hispánico which premiered June 1, 2023, Hope is the Thing with Feathers for the Paul Taylor Dance Company which premiered June 14, 2022 at the Joyce Theater and Mirror, Mirror for Oregon Ballet Theatre, which premiered at the Newmark Theater June 3, 2022. She will be premiering a new work, Soñadorxs, for Ballet de Jalisco in July 2023 at Teatro Degollado (Guadalajara, JAL, Mexico).
During the onset of the pandemic, Manzanales choreographed, edited, and directed CautivadX, a dance film for the virtual event, Noche Unidos: A Ballet Hispánico Night of Dance and Unity (June 2020). Pre-pandemic, Michelle was commissioned to create If by Chance... for the Jerome Robbins Dance Division at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts 75th Anniversary Gala in December 2019, which “unspooled dreamily atop and between the tables” of the library (-Courtney Escoyne, Dance Magazine).
Con Brazos Abiertos, described as a “savvy but deeply sincere meditation on her Mexican American background” (-Marina Harss, New York Times), premiered on the Ballet Hispánico professional company in 2017 and has since toured worldwide to critical acclaim including inclusion in New York City Center’s 2018 Fall for Dance Festival.
Hailed a "visual masterpiece" by the Chicago Tribune, Ms. Manzanales' homage to Frida Kahlo, Paloma Querida (2010), created for Luna Negra Dance Theater (Chicago, IL), was also described by the Chicago Sun-Times as a “gorgeously designed, richly hallucinatory, multi-faceted vision of the artist.”
Sugar in the Raw (Azucar Cruda), Manzanales' first commission for LNDT in 2007, was applauded by the Chicago Sun-Times as "a staggering, beautiful, accomplished new work."
Five of Michelle's works have been recognized by the American College Dance Festival, of which two choreographies were presented at the Kennedy Center (Washington, DC), for their National Galas; Pour Me Out in 2006 and The Letting Go in 2008.
Manzanales has also greatly enjoyed creating works for the Montclair State University, University of Houston, Rice University, San Jacinto College, Houston Metropolitan Dance Company (under the direction of Dorrell Martin), Cerqua Rivera Dance Company, Impetus Dance Company, Jenny's Dance Centre, and Episcopal High School, to name a few.