Michelle N. Gibson
Michelle N. Gibson is a consummate storyteller, employing body and mind to build a bridge between the arts and academia. On stage and in the classroom, Gibson’s dance, choreography, and associated scholarship evoke the social, political, economic and spiritual understandings central to building bonds within and across cultures.
Employing pedagogical practices deeply rooted in both her New Orleans upbringing and the Black church, Gibson provides cultural narratives and historical context for Diaspora and African American dance forms, music, and communal gatherings. Her embodiment of jazz music, traditional funeral processions, Congo Square gatherings, the Black church, and Second Line parades celebrating community, deeply informs her understanding and instruction of African American vernacular dance forms. In every aspect of her daily practice, Gibson shares her expertise, her passion, her healing practices and her culturally driven spirit with her students, her colleagues, her audiences...and, with you.
Choreographer, cultural ambassador, healer, professor, mother, and performing artist, Gibson, also affectionately known as Mz. G, received her B.F.A. in Dance from Tulane University and her M.F.A. from Hollins University/American Dance Festival at Duke University. Gibson’s teaching and choreographic practice comprises all genres of the African Diaspora, Contemporary Afro Modern, Afro Funk, Jazz, and her own New Orleans Second Line Aesthetic. Her current projects involve sharing her aesthetic and New Orleans culture through a series of workshops she’s coined The New Orleans Original BuckShop LLC. Gibson has created a number of original works, including Takin’ it To The Roots, a work supported by the National Performance Network/Visual Artists Network’s Creation Fund, Displaced Yet Rebirth performed by Dallas Black Dance Theatre, Origins of Life on Earth with the Ashé Cultural Arts Center, and Voices of Congo Square, a work focused on the rich culture and history of the Black New Orleans Mardi Gras Indians. This work premiered in 2018 at the Black Dance USA conference at the Sun Theatre in St. Louis, MO, and the Orpheum Theater in New Orleans, LA.
Gibson curated and shared her practice with Arts Walk West, hosted by the West Dallas Chamber of Commerce and AT&T in 2019. As a scholar-artist, 2020 was a year of continuous cultural exploration for Gibson and saw her sharing at symposiums and lectures with the Duke University Dance Department, University of Florida Dance and College of Arts, Sankofa Talks with Caribbean Cultural Center, Black Nature Conversation Series and a virtual interview with University of Southern California dance historian and ethnographer E. Moncell Durden, Intangible Roots, and the Black Artist Collective. In 2021 and 2022, Gibson curated Culture, Brass, and Jazz in the Park Festival as a partnership between The New Orleans Original BuckShop and ArtsBridge Powered by Toyota, a community arts program of the AT&T Performing Arts Center.
In the summer of 2022, she was invited to be Grand Marshal for the Ascona Jazz Festival in Switzerland where she led Second Line parades with the community and conducted teaching workshops. Gibson also was honored, as an alumnus, to be a part of the esteemed Jacob’s Pillow 90th Anniversary Season performing her one-woman show Taken’ It To The Roots. The performance was accompanied by NOJO 7 (the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra), Jawara Simon and Alexandro Perez and garnered her a feature article in The New York Times.
Michelle N. Gibson’s teaching career is as diverse as her dance practice. In addition to being a 14-year faculty member with the American Dance Festival, Gibson also served on the dance faculty at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas for four years. Her teaching extends beyond the formal classroom to include movement-therapy workshops with seniors in facilities throughout the Dallas Metroplex using a curriculum she created while serving as a resident artist at the Ashé Cultural Arts Center in her hometown of New Orleans.
Gibson is currently serving as a Professor of Practice in Dance at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX. In the spring of 2023, she presented as a guest lecturer and practitioner for Black Women Embodied Aesthetics Symposium at Duke University and a guest speaker for SMU Meadows School of the Arts Executive Board Meeting. Gibson will also present at Intangible Roots Professional Development Summer Intensive at Glorya Kaufman School of Dance at University of Southern California and is one of the featured artists in Moving Together, the official documentary selected for Dance on Camera at Lincoln Center, which premiered in February 2023.
During the summer of 2023, Gibson will be sharing her gifts and practice in Port of Spain, Trinidad with New Waves Institute. Expressed in her interview with The New York Times posted July 2022, Gibson clearly states her purpose, which is to heal the world through the culture, and she does so with grace fused with intention.