Another 100 Colorado Creatives: Michelle Ellsworth

A scene from Michelle Ellsworth's Clytigation.
A scene from Michelle Ellsworth's Clytigation.
Satchel Spencer

#6: Michelle Ellsworth

Michelle Ellsworth ushers performance beyond the 21st century with a multimedia flourish that’s distinctly her own. Movement, installation, video, text and web design are among the tools she wields in producing fascinating, funny, sharp-witted works that dissect modern problems. A professor in dance and interdisciplinary arts at the University of Colorado-Boulder, the oft-awarded pioneer has a national rep and an indefatigable work ethic. We asked Ellsworth, a beacon for the next level in performance, to answer the 100CC questionnaire — here’s what she has to say.

Another 100 Colorado Creatives: Michelle Ellsworth
Satchel Spencer

Westword: If you could collaborate with anyone in history, who would it be and why?

Michelle Ellsworth: I guess Joseph Smith, founder of Mormonism, and Judith Butler, philosopher and gender theorist. I’d ask them some questions and hear their objections to the portals I’ve built from my work into theirs. Maybe we could make a meal – maybe something biblical. I would like to listen in while they talk to each other.

Who in the world is interesting to you right now, and why?

Experimental musician Sean Meehan – his use of zimbelsterns. Experimental filmmaker Robert Schaller – his use of his homemade 16mm pinhole camera. Filmmaker Maura Axelrod – her use of art to make art.

Another 100 Colorado Creatives: Michelle Ellsworth
Satchel Spencer

What's one art trend you want to see die this year?

I’m not so aware of trends….so maybe…the use of the Internet. 

What's your day job?

I teach at the University of Colorado Boulder in the Department of Theatre and Dance.

Another 100 Colorado Creatives: Michelle EllsworthEXPAND
Satchel Spencer

A mystery patron offers you unlimited funds for life. What will you do with it?

1) Get a couple of cases of Clif Shot Bloks Energy Chews.
2) Get some excellent black boots.
3) Get a studio that has multiple, free-standing fully equipped chambers — so that I can move between all my projects without unplugging cables or looking for scissors.
4) Find a way to get more consecutive hours to work in artland.
5) Get some kind of bookbinding system going so I could make flipbooks – often.

What's the one thing Denver (or Colorado) could do to help the arts?

Less fear.

Who is your favorite Colorado Creative?

Robert Schaller. 

What's on your agenda in the coming year?

I’m touring my new work Clytigation (demonstrations of my over-the-counter counter-terrorism protocols for avoiding surveillance and interpersonal drama) and starting to create two new pieces: 1) The Rehearsal Artist (part social science experiment and part installation) and 2) Post Verbal Social Network (employs pre-industrial technology to amplify community). I also want to work on my homemade black licorice recipe and learn a new song on the guitar.

Who do you think will get noticed in the local arts community in the coming year?

Gesel Mason – she has already been noticed all over the U.S. for her own work and her work dancing for Ralph Lemon and Liz Lerman. She has a show at MCA’s Feminism & Co next spring – that should not be missed.

Michelle Ellsworth presents Clytigation November 11 through 14 at the Chocolate Factory Theater in Long Island City, New York. Learn more about the artist online. 


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