In 21 years, every performance has included live music and the musicians as integral parts of the visual stage imagery. We believe that the artist's role in society is to communicate, to challenge, to open a dialogue that can both unite us and inspire meaningful change. We function like a jazz band, and along with sections of choreographed movements and written music, we use improvisation that comes out of the form, concept, and emotional life of the work.
"Healthy, attractive, dance-trained individuals in lovely costumes paying homage to a glory of forests and jungles in the midst of a metropolis under the encompassing sky. I was interested in the use of what seemed to be day-for-night in the second section, and the final gesture, a salute to the city, was poignant and welcome. There's a quality in the film that reminds me of the open-hearted modern dances made when New York jazz was taking off after WWII." - Mindy Aloff"
"Lovely dancers & intensely focused musicians." - Mindy Aloff
Village Voice Choice February 2017 - Elizabeth Zimmer
"A joy to watch" - Houston Press
"Beautiful instrumental monologues get a physical interpretation by the dancers and the result is, to say the least, a delight for both eye and ear, a thrilling experience.” - Piteå-Tidningen
"Sensuous & Poetic" - Arts Houston Magazine
The Michele Brangwen Dance & Music Ensemble is a contemporary dance company that specializes in commissioning new music for dance and incorporating musicians into the visual stage imagery. Sharing the stage and the focus, our dancers and musicians break the boundaries of traditional ensemble interaction. Performance works include original choreography and music as well as improvisation by all performers, creating a spontaneous performance environment where anything can happen.
In 2022 we returned to live performance with performances on the roof of Diego Salazar Artist Studios in New York City, co-presented by Ivesian Arts. For our 2020-2021 20th Anniversary Season during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, we switched to all digital programing for the safety of our audiences and performers. We premiered three new dance and music films via livestreams on Facebook and YouTube: Orchid People, To Your Constant Embrace, The Cloud Stream Sways and Asa Nisi Masa. The first two projects were rehearsed entirely via Zoom and all the dancers and musicians were filmed one at a time in an outdoor location. To Your Constant Embrace, The Cloud Stream Sways with music by Houston composer Danielle Reich was the All About Jazz website's Jazz Video Of The Day when it premiered. For Asa Nisi Masa we rehearsed and filmed together as a fully vaccinated ensemble. The premiere of Asa Nisi Masa was written about in Broadway World and it was also the Jazz Video Of The Day on the All About Jazz website in April 2022.
We have performed in New York City at the Mark Morris Dance Center, ShapeShifter Lab, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Village Zendo and Diego Salazar Artist Studios. Our 2017 performance at Mark Morris received a Village Voice Choice. We are also presented annually by The Jazz Loft in Stony Brook, NY. We were featured at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts in Houston as part of FOTOFEST International's 10th Anniversary Biennial dedicated to the themes of The Earth and Artists Responding to Violence. We perform in Houston annually at the MATCH. Highlights of our history include the entire ensemble traveling to Sweden to create a dance and music on camera project with the Norrbotten Big Band, an internationally acclaimed jazz ensemble based in Luleå. The Michele Brangwen Dance & Music Ensemble returned to Sweden the following year for live evening-length performances with the Norrbotten Big Band that toured cities in Sweden. The Michele Brangwen Dance & Music Ensemble was commissioned by MECA (Multicultural Education & Counseling Through The Arts) to create Confusion of Angels, an altar/installation performance work that included dance, music and film for their Dia de Los Muertos Festival. Confusion of Angels features a short film made at the Rothko Chapel’s Broken Obelisk & Reflecting Pool and can be found on the Rothko Chapel's website.
Now entering our 22nd season of performances, the Michele Brangwen Dance & Music Ensemble has commissioned twenty-eight new music works for dance. Composers include Tim Hagans, Seth Paynter, Thomas Helton, Brian Nelson, Carol Morgan, Reynaldo Ochoa, Arthur Gottschalk, Rufus Reid, Danielle Reich and Anders Mogensen.