Michael Wang was born and raised in New Jersey, where he began his dance training at the age of 16. He graduated magna cum laude from Marymount Manhattan College, where he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance, with a concentration in ballet. Michael has also furthered his training with intensives at Nederlands Dans Theater, Jacob's Pillow Contemporary Program, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and Movement Invention Project. He recently joined the cast of Punchdrunk’s Sleep No More NYC.
We recently reached out to Michael to see what he has been up to since the start of the COVID-19 crisis.
"I know all too well how hard dancers can be on themselves, but the pressure we place on ourselves often does not serve us."
I recently joined the cast of Punchdrunk's Sleep No More prior to the COVID-19 crisis. It had been a dream of mine to perform in this monumental immersive physical theater production. Due to the circumstances, the show is on hiatus until further notice. I also was to perform in an evening-length show with Megan Williams Dance Projects at Danspace Project's St. Marks Church in late March, and our shows were postponed as well.
What were your plans before all of this, and how have they been affected by this pause?
I was fortunate enough to learn four roles throughout the rehearsal process at Sleep No More and had just begun performing in the show full time before this hiatus. I had been working with Megan Williams Dance Projects on this production since August, and we were looking forward to sharing this culminating performance we had worked on for so long. We hope to premiere the work in the future, but due to much uncertainty, the date is to be determined. In addition to performing, I was also working to become a Pilates instructor! I had just completed the mat course, and was working to complete the hours for my certification. Thankfully, I am still able to make progress on these hours with self-practice at home, and working with my fellow program participants over video calls.
What are you doing to keep yourself inspired?
The dance community has truly inspired me with all of the classes, resources, and creativity spreading virtually. I've tried so many new classes, teachers, and styles in my own home! It's been refreshing to immerse myself in something different for my movement practice. We may be far apart physically - but I feel closer to this community more than ever. I am also trying to stay creative in other ways, like singing, playing the piano and ukulele, and painting! It's been really lovely to have time to explore a different side of my artistic self.
"The human experience is more than just being happy all the time, and there is value in feeling it all."
Please provide some advice for our NJDTE Dancers.
Allow yourself to feel your feelings. The whole world is affected by what is currently going on, and I've been really trying to allow myself to feel the spectrum of emotions that this brings up. Although I try to have a positive outlook on life, the human experience is more than just being happy all the time, and there is value in feeling it all. And show yourself compassion. I know all too well how hard dancers can be on themselves, but the pressure we place on ourselves often does not serve us. So be kind to yourself, show yourself some love, especially during this time.