Profile Type: Artist
NEFA Grant Recipient
J Michael Winward

I am an independent dance artist based in Boston. With influences in American-style ballroom, ballet, contemporary and somatic dance practices, my work places a strong focus on building connection: connection to one’s body, one’s self, one’s audience, connection between dance partners, connection within and across communities.


I began dancing at Lowell High School, where dance class was offered in lieu of gym class. I received a Bachelor of Arts with a focus in Dance and Drama from Bennington College, spending one term abroad at the Salzburg Experimental Academy of Dance in Austria. I went on to spend seven years dancing with, and eventually managing, the Fred Astaire Dance Studio of Plymouth, Massachusetts. During my competitive career, I was awarded multiple national and North American titles, sanctioned by the North American Same-Sex Partner Dance Association. Throughout those years, I consistently advocated for the inclusion of same-sex partnership in mainstream Ballroom and Latin dance competition.


Since retiring from competitive ballroom dancing, I have developed a solo performance practice, creating work that is a mixture of movement and memoir. Part personal essay, part contemporary dance, these solos often weave back and forth between linear and nonlinear expression. By interpreting culturally significant texts (e.g. the prayers of the rosary, or the Star-Spangled Banner), I reframe iconic language in the context of my personal experience. It is through the lens of this experience that I process the world around me, acknowledging specific facets of my identity: gay, cisgender, caucasian, Irish-American, lapsed-Catholic. And in so processing, I aim to make performance that speaks to a broad audience about universal topics: coming of age, institutional injustice, the politics of being oneself.


In addition to producing, performing, and touring my solo dance repertory, I am involved with several exciting projects. Dancing with Peter DiMuro/Public Displays of Motion (PDM), I work to advance the PDM mission of cultivating dance/arts literacy, advocacy and engagement. Along with Maggie Cee, I co-produce Dancing Queerly: a month-long queer dance festival of workshops, mixers, panel discussions, and performances. Through my program Steps in Time, I bring social ballroom dancing to senior, elder, and memory care communities throughout Greater Boston.


Find Me On …

I Have Worked With

  • August 2016

    Artist Liaison and Creative Projects Lead

  • May 2016

    Boston Dance Alliance is the fiscal sponsor of my program, "Steps in Time," which brings ballroom dance sessions to councils on aging, independent and assisted living facilities throughout Greater Boston.

  • February 2016

    Company Dancer and Administrative Assistant

  • NEFA Grantee
  • Artist

Contact Information

First Name: 
J Michael
Job Title/Position: 
Dancer / Choreographer
Mailing Address: 
32 Seattle St
Boston, MA 02134
Physical Address: 
32 Seattle St #1
Boston, MA 02134
Last Name: 


Profile Type: 
Primary Discipline: 
Dance - Modern / Contemporary
Additional Disciplines: 
Dance - Ballroom
Dance - Folk
Dance - Modern / Contemporary
Literary Arts - Spoken Word
Theater - Solo / One-Person Show
Theater - Storytelling
Populations Served: 
General Public
Immigrant Populations
LGBTQ Populations
Institution/Business Type: 
Artist (Individual)
Activities and Services: 
Community Arts
Performance / Concert / Reading
Public Art Projects (In Free, Public Spaces)
Workshops / Demonstrations / Master Class
Events Per Year: 
Seasons Active: 
Geographic Reach: 
Town / City

Affiliations and Accomplishments

Professional Associations: 
Boston Dance Alliance
B.A. in Liberal Arts with a focus in Dance and Drama from Bennington College, Bennington, VT, USA (2007)
Studied Abroad at the Salzburg Experimental Academy of Dance, Salzburg, Austria (2006)
Certified to teach American Style Bronze and Silver level Ballroom Dancing, through the Fred Astaire Franchised Dance Studios
Organizational Grant from the Boston Cultural Council
Next Steps for Boston Dance grant from The Boston Foundation in partnership with the Aliad Fund
Live Arts Boston grant from The Boston Foundation, in partnership with the Barr Foundation
Opportunity Fund grant from the Boston Cultural Council
New England Dance Fund Grantee/Alum Network
I am a NEFA Grant Recipient

Accessibility of Services

My "Steps in Time" ballroom program serves seniors and elders in their communities, including people using wheelchairs, people experiencing limited mobility, or people with dementia.

I am a Touring Artist

Technical Requirements: 
Basic stage lighting
Fee Range Minimum: 
Fee Range Maximum: 
State of Residence: 
Minimum Number of Performers: 
Maximum Number of Performers: 

I am a Teaching Artist

Teaching Settings: 
Arts and Cultural Center / Venue
Community Site / Center
Healthcare Facility
School / University
Subject Areas: 
Ages Served: 
Certifications / Training: 
Certified to teach American Style Bronze and Silver level Ballroom Dancing, through the Fred Astaire Franchised Dance Studios
Fee Range Minimum: 
Fee Range Maximum: