Michael O'Connor (USA/AT) is a choreographer, dancer, improviser, somatic therapist and teacher living in Vienna since 2007. In 2005, he received his BFA in Modern Dance from the University of Utah. Michael was a long time company member with Cie. Willi Dorner from 2003-2010 performing in a variety of stage works and setting the renowned piece Bodies in Urban Spaces in over 30 cities. He was listed in the 2008 BalletTanz Magazine as the ‘dancer to watch’ in Vienna for his own choreographic solo debut a waiting dog dies. Since 2009 Michael is the Vienna branch facilitator for the Field organization which through TanzQuarteir Wien (TQW) teaches artists how to give feedback.

In 2010, Michael received a Turbo Residency scholarship at ImpulsTanz where he continued his research of his drag persona, Jai Jai Sincere. Jai Jai Sincere made her contemporary debut at ImpulsTanz 2011 where she performed an adaptation of Deborah Hay’s NEWS. In 2011 Michael also premiered his work You are the Subject of my Seeing at TQW and had a residency at The Place in London as a Carte Blanche participant of the ModulDance program.

Since 2013 Michael has taught creative practice and contemporary technique at SNDO in Amsterdam. Other teaching positions have been guest faculty twice at Arizona State University, SEAD, Den Danske Scenekunstkole, HfMDK in Frankfurt, and at Marameo, Henni Juriens, Tanzlabor 21, TQW, and also at festivals such as DanceUmbrella, Philly Live Arts and Tanz in August among others. In 2012, Michael taught with neuroscientist Corinne Jola the workshop Technologies of Love at ImPulsTanz. His choreographic works have been presented at TQW, ImpulsTanz, WUK, BRUT and Burgenland Tanztage. In 2014 his piece TERTIARY was nominated for the Prix d’Jardin in the 8:Tension series at the ImpulsTanz Festival.

Michael finished his Masters in Choreography from AMCh (2013-205) at Amsterdam School of the Arts with a focus on cognitive science. He has also worked with David Zambrano, Deborah Hay, Georg Blaschke, Alain Buffard, Theatercombinat, Paul Wenninger and Barbara Kraus.

He is a Pantarei Approach somatic therapist and a Fieldwork Feedback facilitator. He also received a THIRD fellowship at DAS Graduate School in Amsterdam from 2018=2022. Currently he is finishing his practice-based PhD at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam.

'His gift was to search in the outer world what nature had laid in his inner world.'- Goethe

Michael O'Connor's focus during his MA studies is looking at movement and interacting bodies through the field of cognitive science.  Love, empathy and metaphor are areas of interest as they are aspects we use to connect to the things around us.  We find meaning through comparison, shared experiences and embodied understandings of concepts.  While working with specific fields of thought that bridge neuroscience, philosophy, psychology and anthropology, Michael is examining how a dancer's movement has the potential to be qualitatively precise and to point towards new understandings of concepts such as 'love is an action.'

What are ways to enhance expression of meaning with the body in performance? How can we negotiate the internal/external, mind/body, top/down-bottom/up processes to be at a choreographic advantage? Detailing the physical and psychological methods used to create performance is necessary when finding alternate ways of choreographing. An aim for this period of research is also to develop a working language that can cross utilize terms between arts and academic fields.

C. Georg Scheu