University of South Florida

School of Theatre & Dance

College of the Arts

Michael Foley

Professor of Dance
Modern, History, Choreography and Dance in Paris Program
Phone: (813) 974-3867

Michael Foley received his B.A. in English and a minor Spanish from Bates College, and his MFA in Dance from the University of Washington where he performed in the works of several of the 20th century's major choreographers, including Mark Morris, Alwin Nikolais, Stephen Petronio, Hanya Holm, Michio Ito, Dore Hoyer and Bill Evans. As a dancer, he has performed throughout the United States, Europe and Asia in the companies of over two dozen choreographers including Doug Elkins, Kevin Wynn, Seán Curran, Donna Uchizono, Eun Me Ahn, Joy Kellman, Ruby Shang, Ben Munisteri, and Roberta Garrison. 

Michael has taught workshops and master classes at over 100 universities, academic institutions and private studios throughout the United States, France, Italy, The Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Mexico, Panama, the Dominican Republic and Cuba. He has served on the faculties of New World School of the Arts in Miami, The Amsterdam Dance Center, The Association of Professional Dancers in Ireland, Balettakademien in Stockholm, and Bates College, in addition to the summer faculties of The Florida Dance Festival, the Chicago Association of Dance Masters, and The New York Dance Intensive. Michael was the Artistic Director of the Dance in Education Fund, Inc. in New York for several years, as well as a faculty member for 10 years at DanceSpace, Inc./Dance New Amsterdam in New York City, and an instructor at Steps, Peridance and The Alvin Ailey American Dance Center. 

Michael has also taught master classes at the prestigious National Ballet School of Cuba, Ballet National de Marseille, and assisted Shonach Mirk-Robles at the Paris Opera Ballet School for the remounting of Maurice Béjart’s Variations Don Giovanni, which premiered at The Paris Opera Garnier in April 2006.

He has had a three-decade long relationship with the Bates Dance Festival where he was co-director of the Bates Dance Festival/Young Dancer's Workshop from 1996 - 2007, as well as serving on the faculty of the professional training program on numerous occasions. 

Michael has received choreographic commissions from several nationally touring repertory companies including: Modern American Dance Company (MADCO) in St. Louis, Eisenhower Dance Ensemble in Detroit, Sarasota Contemporary Dance, d9 Dance Collective in Seattle, and Shade/Lacy Duets in Texas. His notable international commissions have been with Delfos Danza in Mexico, Jus de la Vie Dance Company in Sweden, La Compañía Nacional de Danza Contemporànea in the Dominican Republic, DanzAbierta in Cuba, Momentum Danza in Panama, , Fluxusdance in Ireland, and DoubleTrouble in Paris.  He has received choreographic commissions and conducted major residencies at academic institutions such as Harvard University, Cornish College of the Arts, Florida State University, Texas Woman's University, University of Mississippi, University of Texas/Austin, New World School of the Arts, Jacksonville University, Boston University, and University of Florida. 

His work has been performed at many well-respected venues for dance around the world, including Lincoln Center's Out-of-Doors Festival and Dance Theater Workshop in New York City, The Bumbershoot Festival in Seattle, The Dance Place in Washington, DC, The Grand Performances Watercourt in Los Angeles, Teatro Mella in Havana, Teatro de Bellas Artes in Mexico City, Theatre Balettakedemien in Stockholm, the KUANAS Dance Festival in Lithuania, the PRISMA Festival de Danza in Panama, and The Beckett Centre at Trinity College in Dublin.  Michael has also taught dance technique and set choreography for the Cirque du Soleil organization, including work with their productions La Nouba and Ovo, respectively.  As the artistic director of his own company, “Michael Foley Dance,” they have toured the United States and Europe since 1994. Called “exuberant” and “hypnotic” by The New York Times, the Company was based in County Kildare, Ireland as part of a multi-year residency with Fluxusdance funded by the Irish Arts Council. 

Michael was a William J. Fulbright scholar in Mexico under the COMEXUS/Garcia-Robles Fulbright award for research and teaching. While in Mexico, he continued his long association making new repertory work for Mexico's most lauded, internationally touring modern dance company, Delfos Danza Contemporánea, as well as teaching at La Escuela Profesional de la Danza de Mazatlán where he helped to streamline the Mexican dance conservatory curriculum. 

Michael is the recipient of an award for Outstanding Direction of a Play from the Kennedy Center/American Theatre Festival for his co-direction of Mary Zimmerman’s Metamorphoses, and’s “Best Choreographer Award” for his work on freeFall Theatre’s Equity production of Into the Woods, as well as multiple Gala Concert appearances of his choreography at the American College Dance Association’s regional festivals.  He received the Ruth Page Visiting Artist Award from Harvard University in 2005. In 2019, Michael received the Chicago National Association of Dance Masters’ Artistic Achievement Award. 

Michael is currently a Professor of Dance at the University of South Florida, where he received USF's Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award in 2010, and USF’s Global Achievement Award for Student Success in 2016.  He is also the director/creator of the University of South Florida Dance Program’s semester and summer study abroad programs in Paris, which has brought hundreds of students from over 25 different colleges and universities to Paris since 2007.