Meghann Michalsky is a dance artist working in Alberta. She is the co-creator of Project InTandem and YYC Contemporary Technique Training, two programs that offer opportunities to emerging artists in Canada. She was awarded the 2019 RBC Emerging Artist Award at the Mayor’s Lunch for Arts Champions - she is the first Dancer/Choreographer to receive this award.
Since completing her BA in Contemporary Dance, with a concentration in Choreography and Performance, at the University of Calgary. She has rigorously pursued her dance technique training in Canada as well as in Israel, Portugal, Sweden, the U.K., the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium & Austria.
As a dancer, you’ve seen her dance for an array of individual artists and companies, including Karissa Barry, Laja Feild of LajaMartin, Davida Monk, Linnea Swan, Michele Moss, kloetzel&co, Cloudsway Dance Theatre, Dancing Monkey Laboratories, J-Sik Movements, & Dancers' Studio West - Lab Emerging Artist Program (2016) & Physic/Alchemy (2018), amongst others.
Her most recent choreographic works have been presented at Chutzpah Festival, Jeanne & Peter Lougheed Performing Arts Centre, Project InTandem, Fluid Festival, Stream of Dance Festival, Convergence & abroad in Finland.
She has received funding from Calgary Arts Development, Alberta Foundation for the Arts, Canada Council for the Arts and has been awarded Choreographic Residencies from the Vitlycke Arts Centre (Sweden), New Dance Horizons (Regina), University of Calgary, W & M Dance Projects, Theatre Junction, Dancers’ Studio West and DJD Dance Centre.
She is excited to share that this summer her work ReAWaken is going to Dance Made in Canada and her work Deep END and a co-creation with Katherine Semchuk Maybe We Land will be going to Regina and other locations.
Currently, my work focuses on a primal movement aesthetic, exploring the power of the female body through a state of nature which is neither tamed nor domesticated, in other words, I am intent on portraying a different way to be feminine. I have been developing this signature since 2018. I am interested in researching what it means to explore a primal body in an era that is farther away from internal self than we’ve ever been before. I am interested in creating an aesthetic where women move in what is perceived to be a more masculine way, showcased via grounded strength and mixing sequential movement flow with dynamic power and explosive range.
I create highly visceral works with intense musculature and athletic physicality. I play with a combination of virtuosic and state-based movements. My movement signature has been described as vigorous, vivid, animalistic and intricate. My knowledge of Hip-Hop and Krump movement principles has influenced me to highlight isolated, rhythmic, bound, and fast-twitch movement qualities in my contemporary choreographies. Currently, I am interested in combining rock music, focused on guitar and drums, with more risk and abandonment in the body through primal floorwork.
My research comes directly from my trust in the body and investigating how bodily experiences are deeply embedded. I am researching how my experience with anxiety, trauma and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder affects the movement states I am interested in, and how I compose female bodies on stage. I believe my work is in protest to the misogyny and gender polarity that I see in society, on stage, and in my lived experience. I see my work as Feminist Physicality, as I approach the work from a physical rather than a narrative or conceptual lens. I work with a lot of tension, glitching, and tremors in the body, because this is the rigidity I’ve experienced through trauma. Most times, all I know and all I have known is chaos – it’s actually where I feel the most comfortable. This fire comes out in my work, as all of the movement is devised from my body.
Choreographing is a psychic endeavour for me, not only because the themes of my work are extremely personal, but because of the on-stage magnetism and interconnectedness I look to craft between the dancers. I devise movement and choreographic structures that involve explicit rounds that the dancers need to endure. This encourages the dancers to experience the movement in real-time and embody the challenge, the risk, and the abandonment in the movement, then to surrender and “Ride the Wave”, which we practice so we can healthfully go to physical extremes in my work. As a result, the work is real and raw both for us and for the audience, grasping them and placing them in a visceral state with the dancers.
Drowning in chaos, pain, fear and surrounded by constraint we rally to let go of what we do not need in order to become the best version of ourselves.
Nothing worthwhile in life comes easily, so the structures that the dancers endure in this work shouldn't either. This demands the dancers to ride these waves or the piece becomes too physically demanding. Sensations will come and they will pass. How will we all ride the wave?
My research comes directly from my trust in the body and investigating how bodily experiences are deeply embedded on a cellular level. The movement's inspiration began with the ocean and a year of spiritual discovery and transformation. I am interested in researching what it means to explore and create a primal movement aesthetic on a female body in an era that is as further away from self than we’ve ever been before.
Project InTandem 2020, The Grand, Calgary, AB
Chutzpah! Festival 2021, Norman & Annette Rothstein Theatre, Vancouver, BC
Jeanne & Peter Lougheed Performing Arts Centre 2021, Camrose, AB
Stream of Dance Festival, University of Regina, June 8-10, 2023, Regina, SK
artsPlace, June 15 & 16, 2023, Canmore, AB