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The Full Story

Photos courtesy National Gallery of Canada (rehearsal of Remote Control II by Jana Sterbak, 1990)

Michèle Steinwald has an impressive assortment of curatorial, institutional, artistic and educational bona fides. (If you’d like, you can skip to the end of all this and find them listed handily below.)  But the fact is, she’d much rather talk to you about Deborah Hay, about Rosas' Bartok or maybe Tedd Robinson. Maybe you’d like to hear about the punk and dance convergences that shaped her young career, or her thoughts on dance as practice rather than product? She could also tell you a story about this one time, when she was 19, a controversial shot of her in Jana Sterbak's meat dress got front page play on all Arts' sections of Canadian newspapers, the same day that they were covering Martha Graham's death.

A 1993 graduate of Les Ateliers de danse moderne de Montréal (now l'École de danse contemporaine de Montréal), Steinwald has had an eclectic career as a performer that includes tap dancing as a teenager on stage in front of Ottawa’s Parliament Hill for the nationally televised  New Year’s Eve celebration in the late 80s, and in 1990 being suspended inside of Jana Sterbak’s Remote Control at the National Gallery of Canada and in 1991 modeling the meat dress in Vanitas: Flesh Dress for An Albino Anorectic for her solo exhibition, Jana Sterbak: States of Being. Steinwald was the inspiration for the central character in the Dutch comic strip WOK (1997-98) about a modern dancer and a dog. While living in Tokyo in 1998 and studying with choreographer Saburo Teshigawara, she was cast in and performed for Malice Mizer’s Illuminati music video. In 1999 at the Vancouver East Cultural Centre, she performed a solo dance on the same bill as Tegan and Sara, and Veda Hille at Grrrlapalooza. Additionally, Steinwald had the great privilege to perform as part of two dance companies, Maureen Whiting Company in Seattle from 1998–2003, and Cie Ernesto (later named Déjà Donné) in Brussels from 1994–1995.


Since retiring as a dancer and choreographer, Steinwald has managed performing arts projects and professional development programs for On the Boards (Seattle), New England Foundation for the Arts/National Dance Project (Boston), DanceUSA (DC), and the Deborah Hay Dance Company (Austin). She joined the Walker Art Center (Minneapolis) in October of 2006 as Assistant Curator for the Performing Arts and remained in that role until summer of 2013. She was on the boards of the National Performance Network (New Orleans) and Movement Research (NYC) from 2012-2018. She has served on grant and fellowship panels for the NEA, MANCC, Creative Capital, National Performance Network, McKnight Foundation, USA Fellows, Pew Foundation, Herb Alpert Award, MAP Fund and been an artist mentor for Creative Capital's retreat and Arts Midwest's ArtsLab. She holds an MA from the Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance at Wesleyan University and was published in Curating Live Arts (Berghahn Books – New York/Oxford). Committed to social justice in the arts, she has researched and facilitated movement-building sessions at conferences and professional gatherings such as Association of Performing Arts Professionals (2018 & 2019) in partnership with American Realness, Interrarium at Banff Centre (2018), National Performance Network (2017 & 2018), Arts Midwest (2011 & 2014), and DanceUSA (2012 & 2013 + 2014 host and showcase committees). Although Canadian, Steinwald is currently working in the US as an independent curator, community organizer, and occasional writer.

2012-2013 & 2017-2018

M.A., Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance

Wesleyan University (Middletown, CT)



Bachelor of Fine Arts - Dance, Summa Cum Laude

Cornish College of the Arts (Seattle, WA)



Les Ateliers de danse moderne de Montréal (Montréal, Canada)


Guest Student

European Dance Development Center (Arnhem, Netherlands)



École Secondaire De La Salle

(Ottawa, Canada)


Diversity & Inclusion Certificate

Cornell University


Death Doula Workshop

Home Hospice Association


Indigenous Canada Certificate

Faculty of Native Studies,

University of Alberta


Cultural Community Builder Toolkit Training

Arts in a Changing America

2020, 2021

Intimacy Coordinator Workshops

w/ Francesca Betancourt from

The Intimacy Collective


Antiracism Training

People’s Institute for 

Survival and Beyond


Interspecies Communication Workshops

 Animal Spirit (Anna Breytenbach)

2019, 2020

Antiracism Training

New City Church

(curriculum by Resmaa Menakem

and Rachel Martin)

Continuing Education

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