Tap dancer Michelle Dorrance has been earning acclaim and awards for years, but none bigger than the one recently announced. Dorrance, who grew up in Chapel Hill, is one of 24 new fellows of the MacArthur Foundation – a $625,000 grant over the next five years.
Now 36, Dorrance grew up dancing at the school run by her mother, ballet dancer M’Liss Dorrance (her father is Anson Dorrance, coach of the UNC-Chapel Hill women’s soccer team). By age 15, Dorrance was attracting press plaudits from The News & Observer, which included her in a 1995 “Star Watch” story about talented young locals.
Since leaving Chapel Hill for New York in the late 1990’s, Dorrance has danced all over the world, including a four-year stint in the percussion show “Stomp.” But she still finds time to come back to Chapel Hill to dance on a regular basis.
Michelle Dorrance, founder and artistic director of Dorrance Dance, is one of the most sought after tap dancers of her generation and “one of the most imaginative tap choreographers working today” (The New Yorker). A 2015 MacArthur Fellow, 2014 Alpert Award Winner, and 2013 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award Winner, Michelle performs, teaches and choreographs throughout the world.
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