Michael Mansfield

Undergraduate Academic Advisor, Lecturer

Michael’s professional theater and dance background includes 44 years of studying, performing, teaching, writing, choreographing, and directing. He is interested in the intersection point where theater, ritual, and education meet, and, has an unapologetic kinesthetic-learning bias.

Michael’s dance background includes tap, jazz, ballet, modern (Cunningham, Horton, and Dunham), ballroom and Latin dance, historical dance, cultural/ethnic dances, ritual dance, liturgical dance, musical theater, contact improvisation, improvisation, ice dancing, and creative movement. He has training and performance experiences in London, New York, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Kenya, Tanzania, Bali, Mexico, Netherlands, and throughout the Bay Area. He has studied and taught Dunham Technique, also known as Primitive Rhythms or African-Haitian Dance, since 1979. He was lucky enough to study with his mentor, Katherine Dunham, at Stanford University, in San Francisco, and in her Dance School in East St. Louis.

Michael’s theater training and performance work includes films, commercials, and theater productions in New York, St. Louis, Milwaukee, London, Honduras, and Bay Area, as well as, vocal study with Judy Davis for three years in Oakland. He has trained and worked with Word for Word Theater Company, Cornerstone Theater Company, Theater of the Oppressed, and Urban Bush Women. Since 1988 he has used Augusto Boal’s Theater of the Oppressed pedagogy in teaching, directing, and performance work.

Michael has taught in graduate schools in the areas of ritual drama, ritual dance, sexuality, and social justice at Pacific School of Religion, Holy Names University, New College of California, Naropa University Oakland, University of Creation Spirituality, UC Davis, and Wisdom University. He has been advisor, chair, or reader for over 60 Doctoral Dissertations and Master Theses. Undergraduate experience includes teaching dance, theater, and theater history at St. Louis University, Chabot College, USF, and UCB, as well as, performing, choreographing, or directing shows or productions at these institutions. Here on campus, he has taught in the College of L&S, Department of Women and Gender Studies, Department of Public Health, The UCB/UCSF Joint Medical Program, Department of South and Southeast Asian Studies, and Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies. He began by teaching English, Dance, and Theater in high schools in St. Louis, where he also directed and choreographed. For years he facilitated junior high and high school youth groups and coordinated interfaith religious education/spirituality programs for over 20 years using the arts. He musically directed, choreographed, and travelled with youth choirs, adult choral groups, and drama troupes in San Francisco, St. Louis, Berkeley, Detroit, Honduras, England, Greece, Russia, and Hungary.

During the 80s and 90s, he co-created and ran a transformational change theater company, Getting to the Heart, for conferences and workshops, helping national groups and organizations negotiate systemic change and corporate transition by facilitation through the arts. He has written and created arts curricula for children, youth, and adults for three publishing companies and was a regular columnist for two publications. He specialized in creative education techniques and pedagogical learning design, presenting trainings for both youth and adults, nationally and internationally.

He has taught dance for 26 years dance in Bay Area grade schools as an Artist-in-Residence with LEAP (Learning through Education and the Arts Program), dancing with 800+ young people each year. In the afternoon, he works with 400+ students, faculty, staff, prospective students and their families, and alums in TDPS at UCB. He has worked in 12 other departments at UCB part-time to assist with campus short-term needs. He has taught Interactive Theater: Acting for Social Change in the department since 2008 and served as Artistic Director for Berkeley Interactive Theater Company for 13 years. The company has delivered countless programs and trainings to departments, colleges, faculties, and staffs, as well as UC system-wide trainings and national conferences, addressing the complex arenas of race, class, sexuality, ability, gender, status, and religion (USCF, UCSC, UCD, Stanford, Claremont Colleges, Santa Monica College, Haas School of Business, College of Environmental Design, Graduate Division, Department of Nutrition and Toxicology, Joint Medical Program UCSF/UCB, Samuel Merritt University, Cabrillo College, College of Engineering, and other institutions). He serves as House Manager and as Theater Educator at Aurora Theatre Company, creating engaged learning experiences for audiences. He does freelance work with filmmakers, theater companies, choral groups, dance-theater companies, and churches contributing as choreographer, director, preacher, writer, or performer, as well as, lead trainings and write in the areas of arts, education, and activism, locally and nationally.

Education: B.A. in Philosophy & Letters, English, and Theater; M.Div. in Ritual and the Arts; M.F.A. in Acting; D.Min. in Social Justice and the Arts