We interviewed another empowering woman this week! We are so happy to have the lovely Michelle Dawley as this week’s #FEMMEFEATUREFRIDAY. Michelle is a passionate dancer and teacher who aspires to motivate and inspire her students to not only be well-versed dancers, but also to be well-rounded individuals. We love how much this amazing lady genuinely cares for the people she mentors. She recognizes that her responsibility as a teacher extends far beyond the four walls of the studio and she is determined to be an impactful role model for her students. Michelle teaches others that our purpose is connected to what we can do to elevate one another, rather than what we can do to elevate ourselves.

When Michelle isn’t teaching or choreographing you can find her dancing and hitting the stage with some of the music industry’s most renowned artists. Michelle has had the opportunity to dance for Selena Gomez, Christina Aguilera, Ariana Grande, Cody Simpson, Jessie J, Empire of the Sun, Florence and the Machine, Janelle Monae, Pitbull, and Kesha. She has also performed on Dancing With The Stars, Glee, Nike, Disney’s Descendants, The Oscars, Billboard Awards, American Music Awards, Teen Choice Awards, and Jimmy Fallon, just to name a few.

Michelle is the ultimate YGTGirl because she lives her truth every day! She strives to be a positive example for others by embracing who she is and by acknowledging the fact that we all face challenges. The feeling of not being good enough is something that most, if not all of us, can relate to as women. It’s incredible that Michelle has made it her mission to help others believe in themselves and be confident in the pursuit of their own dreams. This special girl reminds us that we all have something unique to share and we should accept our strengths and weaknesses whole-heartedly. Thank you Michelle for encouraging everyone around you and for being such a bright spirit in this world. You rock!

Written by Alessia Rotino

Artwork by Chloe Bruderer (@chloeheartsart)

Artwork by Chloe Bruderer (@chloeheartsart)

We love how much you’ve connected with a passion for teaching! Tell us about that. Why do you feel called to nurture the next generation of artists?

It’s been very exciting the last few years, as I have been balancing my professional dancing career along with building my path as a teacher and choreographer.  As a teacher and a mentor to young people, I have come to realize just how much of an impact my words and encouragement can have not only on their journey as dancers, but also their self esteem level and the way they present themselves to the world. As I start to connect deeper to this purpose as a teacher, I find it equally as fulfilling and rewarding as any big tour or film I have ever been a part of. I want to be the type of role model to young dancers that I needed when I was younger. Someone who can make every person in the room feel like they are enough and in turn, push themselves because of it.  I strive to be an excellent high-level teacher with unique choreography, but there is just as much of an emphasis in my class that is placed on helping my students build the kind of confidence that can take them anywhere they want to go in life. I am interested in cultivating strong minds and hearts through dance. Recently, I have been incredibly fortunate to be touring North America with a program called Changing Lives, developed by Kim McSwain. I have such a valuable experience to learn from her and continue to develop my teaching methods that are based around such an important initiative.

What do you think is your biggest strength? What is your biggest weakness?

My biggest strength is the power of my heart. It makes people feel like they are enough and I believe that there is such a need for that type of interaction in this world today. I started to realize this strength when a lot of things in my life changed for the better. As for my weakness, I would say that I can be very hard on myself. I constantly need the reminder to be as kind to myself as I am to others. I need to practice what I preach when I am teaching and empowering my students!

How do you stay inspired from day to day?

The best way for me to stay inspired is variety! As a professional dancer, I thrive on having a career where I am open to any type of dance job. Because of that, I was able to do such a vast array of projects as a dancer. Now that I teach and choreograph as well, I find that I go back and forth from dance jobs to training, teaching, traveling and even choreography jobs. I feel like the juggle of these different things keeps me creatively full and stepping away from one, can allow me to come back to another with a new, fresh perspective and excitement for it.

What’s your favorite thing about being a woman?

My favorite thing about being a woman is our complexity. We are soft, graceful, fierce strong and powerful all rolled into one beautiful being and that is pretty amazing if you ask me!

What’s your definition of a YGTGirl?

My definition of a YGTG is a brave, confident woman who lives her truth. She treats everyone with respect and is strong enough go after what she wants…even if it’s risky!