Michele has choreographed and performed extensively throughout the Mid-Atlantic region, and is the Artistic Director of Dunleavy Dance Projects. She works in a variety of dance forms including tap, jazz, and modern, and her choreography has been presented by arts organizations in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, NYC, Maryland, and West Virginia. Michele has performed internationally with Kompitus Rhythm Collective(Helsinki), and regionally with Take It Away Productions, Pittsburgh OperaJunction Dance Theatre, Physical Theatre ProjectDANA Movement Ensemble, ETCH Dance Co., and B3W.

     Notable choreographies include5/4 Ever a tribute to the life and music of Dave Brubeck, produced for Rhythmically Speaking in Minneapolis, Steel Valley Rhythms a site-specific work inspired by visits to the historic Carrie Blast Furnace in Pittsburgh, and Bond, a commission for jorsTAP, an all- female tap ensemble based in Chicago. Michele’s work has been supported through grants from Penn State’s College of Arts and Architecture, the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council, and the Galaxy Arts Educations program. She was recently named an Embedded Researcher at Penn State’s Arts and Design Research Incubator to continue her work on Steel Valley Rhythms.

     In 2004, Michele joined the musical theatre faculty at Penn State and is currently an Associate Professor of Dance. She has choreographed numerous musicals at Penn State including, A New BrainBat Boy: The MusicalParadeBabes in ArmsTheWizRentThe 25thAnnual Putnam CountySpelling BeeGood Kids, and American Idiot. Michele has also been an invited guest artist at Shenandoah University where she choreographed Cabaret and The Wild Party. Michele has been a faculty member at Point Park University, George Mason University, and the Catholic University of America. She is a member of SDC, the International Tap Association, and served two terms as the Northeast Regional Director of the American College Dance Association.  

Associate Professor PSU

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STEEL VALLEY RHYTHMS (SVR) is an ongoing project that uses sound and movement to explore Western Pennsylvania's deep connections to the iron and steel industries. Inspired by visits to the Carrie Blast Furnaces in Pittsburgh, SVR combines percussive dance, music, projected images, video, and recorded oral histories to create a "kinesthetic gallery" that connects the audience to the environment and to the region's history. The juxtaposition of archival materials (photographs, newsreel footage, and music) alongside present day imagery and contemporary movement invites the audience to draw connections between past and present, while challenging perceived boundaries between labor and art.

Steel Vally Rhythms

    Operating within the College of Arts and Architecture Research Office, ADRI provides seed funding, technical support, and workspace to high-impact arts and design research projects that, although often in their initial stages, have a strong probability of attracting future external funding. In keeping with goals outlined in the College’s strategic plan, ADRI projects are typically collaborative and interdisciplinary in nature, push methodological boundaries, link research and teaching, make innovative use of technology, engage with university-wide research initiatives and priorities, and have the potential to garner national and international recognition. ADRI also coordinates and hosts a range of programming designed to foster and support innovative arts research and its broad dissemination.

Arts & Design Research Incubator

Dunleavy Dance Projects

Michele Dunleavy

Penn State Associate Professor of Dance

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