Renter Spotlight: Michelle Thompson Ulerich - Gibney
Week of August 5, 2020
Making space for

Renter Spotlight: Michelle Thompson Ulerich

White woman dancing with her arms to the side of her body.

On a normal day, Gibney’s 23 studios are a bustling artistic nexus. We love walking down the hallway and seeing different artists, different projects, and different communities making each space their own. We are missing that feeling, and want to find a way to share it with you.

We’ve asked a group of renters whose rehearsals, showings, workshops, and events have been postponed or suspended to give us a glimpse of what they’re working on, share the ways we can support them right now, and tell us what the first thing they’ll do is once they’re back in the studio.

The first thing we’ll do? Close our eyes, feel the floor supporting us, and take a deep breath of gratitude.


 RENTER SPOTLIGHT: Michelle Thompson Ulerich

“I especially enjoy the late night rehearsals, productivity in the studios, running into friends every time I am there, and interacting with the fantastic staff.”

Who are you?
I have been a freelance choreographer in NYC since 2015, and I have loved the Gibney Community. I am the newly appointed artistic director of Spark Movement Collective (10 year old company that has been renting with Gibney too), and I am embarking on my first full evening as their director. This video clip was from my last rehearsal at Gibney on Monday March 9, 2020. I was beginning to create material for Spark Movement Collective. We were scheduled to have performances on November 6th and 7th at The Mark O’ Donnell Theater at The Actors Fund Arts Center in Brooklyn, but it looks like that still holds uncertainty. The evening will be transformed into a film/virtual experience as of now. This particular section was going to have a film element to it, which was one of the reasons I was starting on it in March. The dancer is Caleb Patterson, who is a current member of Spark Movement Collective. Bailey Mutschler took my mess of clips from rehearsal and made some little promos for me. Horizontal video is by me and Vertical Video is by Grace Noh. Grace Noh was a guest at my rehearsal that same evening as we were going to embark on a collaboration together. She works at Fotografiska in NY, and wanted to view my process to see how I could be partnered with Fotografiska. That project is on hold too, but I am happy she was able to experience Gibney and my process. 

How can we support you right now?
My website: michellethompson.org
Instagram: @michelle_thompson_ulerich

Spark Movement Collective: www.sparkmovementcollective.org
Instagram @sparkmovementcollective

Donate to Spark: www.sparkmovementcollective.org/donate

What is your favorite memory of working in Gibney’s studios?
I have many favorite memories from Gibney, but mostly the ability to create in such a supportive community and in such beautiful studios. I especially enjoy the late night rehearsals, productivity in the studios, running into friends every time I am there, and interacting with the fantastic staff. Spark Movement Collective will start working on our material via Zoom, which is not the real thing, but at least we can feel community creativity and togetherness. I have been thinking about this piece since November of 2019 and in my mind there is lots of partnering. 

What are you most looking forward to about being back in the studio?
I am excited to get back into the studio and work on partnering, connecting the material we created while we were separate, and to make new discoveries. I know there is a chance that our timeline will be thrown like so many that have been cancelled or postponed in the last two months, but I will be excited to rehearse and take classes at Gibney whenever the time is right and safe. 

 

Top photo of Michelle Thompson Ulerich by Anne Marie Bloodgood.