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Mr Michael Whaites


Contact Information Telephone: +61 8 6304 6442, Mobile: 0401011151, Email:, Campus: Mount Lawley, Room: ML1.229
Staff Member Details
Telephone: +61 8 6304 6442
Mobile: 0401011151
Campus: Mount Lawley  
Room: ML1.229  



Michael was born in Kingston in the South East of South Australia. After extensive gymnastic training and graduating with a Certificate in Dance at the Centre for the Performing Arts in Adelaide 1984, he went on to work with Dance North and the Australian Dance Theatre, receiving Male Dancer of the Year Award in 1988 and 1989. In 1991 he moved to New York where he was invited to become a member of Twyla Tharp and Dancers, working with the company until 1993. He assisted Ms Tharp in the feature film I ll Do Anything and joined the 1992-93 Tharp/Baryshnikov Cutting Up tour. In 1993-94 he worked with Irene Hultman Dance while still in New York. In 1995 Michael joined Pina Bausch Tanztheater Wuppertal in Germany. After 5 years with Bausch he returned to Australia.

Michael s own choreographic works include The Mango (1985) and Image (1986) for Dance North; Rushdipslideloop (1988) and Synthetic Sox (1989) for ADT; three independent works including Driving Me in New York (1994); Homeland (1999) for the Centre for the Performing Arts, Adelaide; the first stage of development of a new work Ducking (2000); and Achtung Honey! (2000 - originally created in Frankfurt in 1999) and Oysterland (2001) for One Extra Dance Company.

In 2002 he re-worked his solo Driving Me for the Dance Project in Sydney and made a new work, Defence(less) for Leigh Warren and Dancers in Adelaide. In 2003, Michael made In the Middle of Nowhere for the students at the Adelaide Institute of TAFE; completed filming a short dance film Slipsink in association with NORPA, as co-director and performer; created with Michael O Donoghue Waiting For Michael for One Extra Dance; and in 2004, devised The Laminex Man (2004) for Restless Dance Company, as part of the Highbeam Festival in Adelaide. He was also awarded an Asialink Grant, which enabled him to teach technique and improvisation to the Beijing and Guangdong Modern Dance Companies in China for 3 months.

As a performer/collaborator Michael has worked on Company in Space’s The Light Room at the Melbourne International Arts Festival (2002); Wendy Houston s In the Dark (2005); and in Hill End on Julie-Anne Longs The Nun's Picnic (2004). He participated as choreographer in the Space for Ideas choreographic laboratory, with guest workshop leaders Jonathan Burrows, Meryl Tankard and Lloyd Newson (2002). As a teacher Michael has worked with a variety of national and international dance companies, schools, institutions and universities. In 2005 Michael was Associate Director for Kim Carpenter's Theatre of Image. Michael has most recently been appointed Artistic Director of Link Dance Company and lecturer in contemporary dance at WAAPA. In May 2006, Michael will perform in New York where he has been commissioned to create a duet for the annual In the Company of Men concert.


  • Certificate in Performance, Other WA higher ed institution, 1984.

Recent Publications (within the last five years)

Non-Traditional Research Outputs

  • Whaites, M., (2014), Life Cycle. Surge, West Australian Ballet Centre, WAAPA.
  • Whaites, M., (2015), Fear, Folk and Superstition in Istres. Promenade Dansee, Site Specific, France, Pulsion at Maison de la Danse.

Research Student Supervision

Associate Supervisor

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