Michael Richter, MA, is an artist, teacher, community builder, coach/mentor, performer and researcher who helps individuals and organizations learn and grow via dance improvisation. He founded and taught for MUV Dance & Yoga, and Encorporarte, which placed dance integration residencies and courses in Los Angeles, CA and La Paz, BCS. He has developed and currently teaches in multiple online dance and somatic certification courses, including a Language of Dance® Master Practitioner module in motif notation, the Dancing Reading Online Group, and the Selver/Sensory Awareness Leaders Training Institute. Michael also has developed Dancing Dialogic Research (DDR) with Celeste Miller, to engage individuals and groups to investigate personal, professional, and global themes. He is thrilled to be co-faculty for the Curriculum-in-Motion program after two decades of collaborating with Celeste and Jacob’s Pillow.

Early Dance History

I took my first dance class in Santa Monica, CA at 27 years old. It was late to start dancing, and I was lucky to stumble into choreography toward the end of my first year. Something clicked for me in those classes, while using space and body to communicate. I saw and felt how choreographic processes helped me understand myself in relation to the world around me. I was hooked. I also became passionate about how these processes could be helpful to everyone, especially people who did not usually have access to creative dance classes. My mission to bring these experiences to others (who may not see themselves as dancers) was born.”

JPCiM Influences

During my masters in dance, I took one course titled “Real World Seminar.” A guest speaker brought in Celeste’s book, Dancing from the Heart: Life Stories. A few months later, I started studying with her in the summer of 1998 at Jacob’s Pillow. I got from her what I had most wanted: an opportunity to grapple with guidelines for growing caring, ethical, respectful and inclusive dance and community partnerships. After continuing to grow with her in school residencies, I began working in my local schools.

“I taught in the Los Angeles schools and universities for ten years, developing partnerships with classroom teachers, mentoring dance teachers, writing curriculum, winning community dance grants from California state agencies, and founding two dance improvisation performance groups. I created a dance integration and yoga business that had a faculty of nine dance educators and placed residencies in 20-30 public schools each year.

“Also, over the past decade, Celeste and I have been developing Dancing Dialogic Research (DDR), a method that uses improvisation to learn.  We have received grant support and given conference presentations related to this work.”

Developing Online Dance Education

In 2010, I moved to La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico with my now husband. Though I created a number of community and creative dance classes, I was missing dancing with my colleagues in the US and Canada. In 2017, I created the Dancing Reading Online Group. For the last three years, we have been practicing creative dance integration via videoconferencing. In 2019, I began co-creating and co-teaching the Language of Dance Master Practitioner online certification course with LOD colleagues. Recently, I co-created and began teaching in the Selver/Sensory Awareness Leaders Training Institute. In all these live videoconferences, we get to move with each other on the screen to develop as individual choreographers and dance educators, and as a supportive, creative collective. I also have developed an online coaching/mentoring business to support individuals with counseling that can include somatic and creative dance processes.”