Michelle Thompson, originally from San Francisco, trained at San Francisco Ballet for nine years. Now in her 12th season with Ballet Austin, Thompson has loved dancing in works by Stephen Mills, Gina Patterson, Twyla Tharp, Ulysses Dove, KT Nelson, Nelly van Bommel, Amy Seiwert, James Greg, and Balanchine. Thompson received the Austin Critics Table 2012 Best Dancer award for her performance in the choreography of Gregory Dolbashian. Her lead role in The Rite of Spring landed her in the Austin Chronicle’s 2013 top ten list of dance classical music treasures. While dancing professionally, Thompson earned her Bachelor of Arts in Dance and the Humanities from St. Edward’s University.
For the last nine years, Thompson has been developing her choreography in Austin, San Antonio, San Angelo, Asheville, and San Francisco. Starting in 2006, Ballet Austin commissioned Thompson to create works for the company’s Trainees, Upper Division Students, and Young Artists. The San Antonio-based Ballet Conservatory of South Texas noticed her work in Austin and asked her to create Mi Corazon (2008), Departure (2009), Waking From Recklessness (2009), and Removed From Time (2010). The Arts Committee of San Antonio picked Mi Corazon to be performed at Luminaria: Arts Night in San Antonio.
In June 2009 Thompson created The Path You Came Here By to live, original music by Jordan Moser. The following June Thompson choreographed for an evening of dance, music, and visual art for Califa Arts Collaborative, an endeavor she co-produced. Her project Hiding Places incorporated visual projections by Caroline Wright and the live original music of Lex Land, Jordan Moser, Jarrett Killen, and Nic Walker. Afterwards, Austin Gay and Lesbian International Film Festival coordinator Skot Tulk invited Thompson to present Hiding Places for a film-opening event in July 2010. Her journey with Califa Arts Collaborative continued in 2011 on Another Veil where Thompson made movement to Bob Hoffnar’s original pedal steel compositions along with the art of Caroline Wright.
Thompson’s collaborative successes prompted Stephen Mills to nominate her to work with The Blanton Museum in 2011. There, she created a moving performance through the museum with live music directed by Steve Parker. In 2012 Parker commissioned her to create an opening dance piece for John Cage’s Musicircus. The San Angelo Civic Ballet asked Thompson to create Ladder for the company’s gala performance. During the summer of 2013 she and Bob Hoffnar completed a large dance film project entitled If There’s a Fork in the Road, Take It. Asheville’s MOTION Dance Theatre selected Thompson as one of its two summer 2014 choreographers resulting in her creation of A Path of Light and Dark which included live accompaniment featuring the music of Catherine Davis. In conjunction with Ballet Zaida, Thompson recently shot three short dance films in Austin and San Francisco.