On September 29, 2015, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announced the new class of MacArthur Fellows. Included on the list of 24 notables from across the creative arts is Gallatin’s own Michelle Dorrance (BA ’01), dancer, choreographer, and founder and artistic director of Dorrance Dance.
The awards are sometimes referred to as “genius grants,” and offer substantial financial support, with each artist receiving an unrestricted $625,000 in order to produce further creative work. According to the Foundation’s website, The MacArthur Foundation recognizes mid-career artists who “have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction.”
Dorrance’s award will support not only her own dance and choreographic work but also her passion for teaching dance, particularly tap. Her company, Dorrance Dance, seeks to honor tap dance’s uniquely beautiful history in a new and dynamically compelling context. Dorrance’s work has also been recognized with a 2012 Princess Grace Award—the first award for choreography in the organization’s thirty-year history—as well as with a 2014 Alpert Award, a 2013 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award, a 2012 Field Dance Fund Award, and a 2011 Bessie Award.