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Dancer and choreographer Michelle Gibson to guest teach, lead community event at Lawrence University

Dancer Michelle Gibson (Photo supplied.)

Michelle N. Gibson, a dancer, choreographer, and cultural ambassador who works with New Orleans “second line” dance traditions, will spend five days at Lawrence University later this week highlighted by a Sunday, April 14 event at Memorial Chapel.

Lawrence University is a liberal arts college and conservatory of music located in Appleton, Wis. The community event on Sunday, set for 3 p.m., is free and open to the public. Gibson will be joined by a combo featuring Lawrence music students. 

“It is not a sit back and passively-be-entertained kind of performance, but a community event,” said Margaret Paek, visiting assistant professor of dance at Lawrence, in a press release. “Michelle uses the second line aesthetic originating from traditional New Orleans jazz parades to educate and uplift as she gets everyone moving with her.”

Raised in New Orleans, Gibson is well acquainted with gospel, jazz, traditional funeral processions, Congo Square gatherings, the Black church, and Second Line parades celebrating community, according to her biography. Together, her dance and music experiences inform her instruction of African American vernacular dance forms. She has performed all over the world.

In the days leading up to the performance, Gibson will be meeting with students and guest teaching several classes, including Musicians in Movement, Articulating the Solo Body, and Dance Collective Ensemble. Lawrence introduced a new dance minor in 2023.