Jessica Fogel

Choreographer, Professor of Dance,

Artistic Director


Jessica Fogel's choreography has been produced in NYC, throughout the U.S., and internationally since 1974. She spent a decade in NYC as a performer, choreographer, and teacher, and was artistic director of Jessica Fogel and Dancers there from 1978-1982. During that time, she danced with several companies, including Dances/Janet Soares, Phoebe Neville Dance Company, Hannah Kahn, Dalienne Majors and Dancers, and Andrew DeGroat and Dancers.  Fogel joined the University of Michigan Dance Department in 1985, where she is a Professor of Dance and Artistic Director of Ann Arbor Dance Works, the resident professional dance company of the University of Michigan.  She also choreographs regularly for the University of Michigan Dance Company. A recipient of numerous commissions, she has performed, choreographed, and taught in Japan, Costa Rica, England, Greece, Ireland, Canada, and Mexico. As of July 1, 2015, she will be chair of Dance at the University of Michigan.

Her multi-layered dances feature unique collaborations, merging movement, text, music and digital projections. She has developed several site dance projects that address the ways the arts can provide stewardship for the environment, drawing inspiration from the stories embedded in rural and urban landscapes. Her most recent project, Into the Wind, was inspired by the potential for harnessing offshore wind in the Great Lakes and took place on the gronds of a former engine factory in Muskegon, Michigan.  Another recent project was performed along a four-block route in downtown Ann Arbor, celebrating the layered histories of buildings and sites and the hopes for a greenway connecting the downtown to outlying neighborhoods.  Recent commissions include site works in Kyoto, Japan and in the UM Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum.  Several of these works have been presented on public television.

Her works have been commissioned and produced by, among others, Dance Theater Workshop, the Riverside Dance Festival, the Lincoln Center Touring Program, The Yard, Harbinger Dance Company, Park Avenue Dance Company, the Ann Arbor Summer Festival, and the Toledo Museum of Art. She has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, ArtServe Michigan, the Cultural Council Foundation of New York, and numerous sources within the University of Michigan.

She has lectured frequently about her choreographic process, and has presented papers about her choreographic research at a CORD conference on Dance and Human Rights in Montreal, at Seika University in Kyoto, and at an international symposium at the University of Surrey.

She has been the recipient of several awards, including the Michigan Choreographers Festival Award, an award for a Lifetime of Achievement in the Arts from the Jewish Community Center of Metropolitan Detroit, and an Award of Excellence from the National Fine Arts Video Competition.

Born and raised in Ithaca, NY, where she received her early dance training with the Ithaca Ballet Guild and the Cornell University Dance Group, she received a BA in Dance from Barnard College and an MA in Dance Education from Teachers College, Columbia University.