Profile Type: Artist
NEFA Grant Recipient
Ruckus Dance/Michael Figueroa

Ruckus works to open up performance spaces that both provoke conversation and bewilder the viewer, driving them to ask questions about the logic of what is happening before them. Through layering improvisation and choreography, Ruckus dance leads its viewers to analyze what is being generated live. Priorities in performance include but are not limited to clarity, rigor, exhaustion, self-annihilation, self-love, focus, distraction, multi-tasking, and grit. Ruckus Dance is choreographed and directed by Michael Figueroa.

MICHAEL FIGUEROA is a Boston-based (by way of South Florida) performance maker, teacher, dancer, and director of Ruckus Dance.  His dances deal with rulebreaking, rote memory, personal anecdotes, occasional audience participation, and improvised situations. In the year 2018, he presented three evening-length shows: Baby’s First Show at The Dance Complex (Cambridge, MA), Ruckus Dance: KnockOut at the Performance Garage (Philadelphia, PA), and all by myself at Arts at the Armory (Somerville, MA). The shows were a part of the Ruckus Dance: 2018 Tour & Performance Series, made possible with grant support from The Boston Foundation, Somerville Arts Council, and the New England Foundation of the Arts. Michael has premiered four solos in the Greater Boston area, and his work has been commissioned by SPACE Gallery (ME), Dance Now Boston, Outside the Box Festival, Mobius Artists Group (MA), and The Dance Complex. He attended The Boston Conservatory and graduated with a BFA in dance.

For the past three and a half years, Michael has taught weekly classes as a part of the Midday Movement Series, in addition to workshops at Boston Arts Academy, Moving Target Portland & Boston, College of the Holy Cross, and Cambridge Rindge & Latin School, and Access 8 at Gibney Studios,. His teaching practice navigates the intersections between choreography and improvisation, and encourages participants to investigate what they already know and determine how they learn best.

Figueroa has performed in projects by/with Alex Davis, Jimena Bermejo, smolnikova + williams, Yuri Yanowsky, Sarah Mae Gibbons, Nicole Pierce, Peter Dimuro, Joy Davis, Compagnie ADN Dialect, Prometheus Dance, Cathy Young, Dendy/Donovan Projects and Margot Gelber.


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I Have Worked With

  • December 2018

    Contracted event - all by myself: Ruckus Dance presents an evening of quiet dances

    Audience members were encouraged to bring headphones or earplugs, giving them the responsibility of curating their own experience over the course of the evening. Audio suggestions for each piece were be included in a slideshow before each work. This show aimed to provide a singular experience for the viewer, in which they had more control over how they engaged with what was in front of them. 

    The evening consisted of an eight-person reconstruction of choreography makes me mental: anybody, a meditation on space, familiarity, and acclimation for both viewer and performer; two duets about potentiality and changes over time in relationships, featuring couples Em Papineau & Sofia Engleman and Joy Davis & Eric Mullis; and i love you in real time by Michael Figueroa

  • November 2018

    Commission - Michael performed ways of rendering a man blind in the Moving Body in Space at Space Gallery in Portland, ME. 

  • September 2018

    Contracted event - Ruckus presented KnockOut in two back to back shows at the Performance Garage. Michael premiered i love you in real time, a meditation on deconstructing and reconstructing boundaries with the audience. Through conversing with the audience in the house, he solicited actions for people to accomplish. The dance tries to get the audience to make hypothetical suggestions reality. 

    KnockOut is a collectivist work that utilizes a calling structure (a huge nod to Trisha Brown’s Sololos). The work consists of 7-15 phrases that correspond with numbers, and choreographed sections that correspond with sound. Performers’ calls determine the layout and structure of the work. They also determine if they will abide by the structure in the first place.

    Special Guests from Subject:Matter performed Roger That! 


  • NEFA Grantee
  • Artist

Contact Information

First Name: 
Job Title/Position: 
Physical Address: 
Boston, MA 02115
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Profile Type: 
Primary Discipline: 
Dance - Modern / Contemporary
Additional Disciplines: 
Dance - General
Dance - Modern / Contemporary
Year Founded: 
Populations Served: 
General Public
Immigrant Populations
LGBTQ Populations
Native American Tribes
Veteran/Active Duty Military Personnel
Institution/Business Type: 
Performing Groups
Activities and Services: 
Arts Instruction / Lessons
Creation of a Work of Art (Including Commissions)
Performance / Concert / Reading
Professional Development / Training
Events Per Year: 
Seasons Active: 
Geographic Reach: 
Multi-County Region

Affiliations and Accomplishments

Live Arts Boston Grantee 2018
New England Dance Fund Grantee/Alum Network
Next Steps for Boston Dance Grantee 2018
Somerville Arts Council Project Grant Recipient 2018
I am a NEFA Grant Recipient

I am a Touring Artist

I am NEST eligible
Technical Requirements: 
Minimum space requirement: 16 square feet
Basic Lighting plot, speakers
Fee Range Minimum: 
Fee Range Maximum: 
State of Residence: 
Minimum Number of Performers: 
Maximum Number of Performers: 

I am a Teaching Artist

Teaching Settings: 
Community Site / Center
Private Studio
School / University
Subject Areas: 
Ages Served: 
High School-age
Fee Range Minimum: 
Fee Range Maximum: