About Michele

Michele Ainza is a Portland-based dance and somatic educator, director, and artist on faculty as an Adjunct Professor of Dance, Guest Artist, and Visiting Artistic Director of Dance at Willamette University. Throughout her career, she has collaborated with a myriad of collegiate departments on a wide range of productions, most recently working with the Willamette Master Chorus for the opera, Carmina Burana, the Theatre Department for the play, Bob Rauschenberg America, and Art History Department for the cross-disciplinary project based on Imogen Cunningham and Martha Graham, performed at The Hallie Ford Museum of Art, funded by the Mellon Foundation and Oregon Arts Commission via a Learning through Creating Grant. Currently she is collaborating on a new project with the Art Department on an installation performance set at The Hallie Ford Museum of Art.

Michele has been on faculty throughout the United States and Mexico, most notably as a Tenure- Track Professor and Artistic Director of Dance at Fresno City College, Visiting Guest Artist and Professor of Dance and Somatics at the University of Veracruz, Mexico, Director of Dance at Linfield College, and Visiting Guest Artist and Adjunct Professor of Dance at Lewis and Clark College. She earned her Master of Fine Arts in Dance and Choreography from California Institute of the Arts, Los Angeles, where she was on scholarship as a Graduate Teaching Fellow and concentrated on feminist studies and dance for video. While residing in California, her work was selected to debut at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Malibu Arts and Video Festival, and Rogue Festival. Moreover, as a scholarship student, she concluded a graduate degree and certification in Laban Movement Analysis and Bartenieff Fundamentals from the Integrated Movement Studies based out of the University of Utah, where she had the pleasure to study under world- renowned educators, Peggy Hackney, Janice Meaden, and Ann Hutchinson Guest.

Outside of the higher education arena, Michele continues to contribute as an artist and educator, most recently as an instructor of Somatic Dance at FLOCK and collaborative performer for SALT at Shaking The Tree Theater in Portland, OR. She is the Artistic Director of Michele Ainza Dance Experiment (MADE), which is an on-going independent project that focuses on the deconstruction and abstraction of social and political issues through innovative movement material and collaborative explorations. MADE productions have performed throughout the United States, Mexico, and Eastern Europe.

In addition to her role as a leader in the dance field, she is the Director and Lead Instructor of Embodied Practice RYS and School of SoYoDa, specializing in online classes and 200 HR Yoga Teacher Training Programs. She is a Certified 500 HR E- RYT and YACEP via Yoga Alliance. Michele enjoys creating strong relationships with her students and clients in order to form life-long and meaningful connections. As an instructor, she seamlessly infuses her knowledge of movement awareness, creativity, and yoga philosophy while creating an inclusive environment to help students achieve their wellness goals and develop a sense of harmony and gratitude.

Her past notable scholarly, artistic, and directorship achievements have included publications in Front Newspaper, former dance member of Oslund+Company, directed by Mary Oslund, where she performed at Lincoln Hall, PSU, Imago Theater, and Oregon College of Arts and Crafts, and improvisational performer for Holy Goats at Performance Works Northwest, directed by Linda Austin. Michele was an Assistant Director, Instructor, and Board Member of Conduit Dance Inc, as well as a contributor to Front Publishing, and member of Friends of the Arts, National Dance Education Organization, and Dance Camera West. Her extensive performance career has spanned over two decades throughout the United States as a company member of Turner Dance Industries, New York, NY., and has included working with notable dance artists such as Gladys Bailin, Bebe Miller, Tiffany Mills, Susan Van Pelt, and Holly Johnston. Lastly, her expertise and skill set range include Contemporary Dance Technique, Ballet Technique, Jazz Dance Technique, Urban Dance Forms, Latin/Chicano Dance Forms, Tap Dance, Ballroom Dance, Choreography, Improvisation, Screendance, Site-Specific Dance, Dance Theater, Laban Movement Analysis, Bartenieff Fundamentals, Pilates, and Yoga.


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