An Olivier Award-winner, Michael trained in dance and theatre at Dartington College and was awarded a bursary by the Arts Council to attend dance lighting workshops with Jennifer Tipton in New York and Paris. Over the last 20 years he has worked exclusively in dance, particularly with choreographer Russell Maliphant. Their collaborations have won international critical acclaim and many awards: Sheer won a Time Out Award for Outstanding Collaboration, Choice won a South Bank Show Dance Award, PUSH, with Sylvie Guillem, won four major awards including the Olivier for Best New Dance Production and Afterlight won two Critics Circle awards. Michael and Russell also collaborated on Broken Fall, commissioned by Ballet Boyz, which also featured Sylvie Guillem and won an Olivier Award for Best New Dance Production. In 2007 Michael’s and Russell’s work was the subject of Ballet Boyz’s Channel 4 documentary Light and Dance and The Daily Telegraph hailed their collaboration as ‘possibly the most important creative partnership in modern British dance.’
Michael has also worked with Ballet Boyz on their productions of Russell’s Critical Mass, Torsion and most recently on the highly acclaimed Fallen. He also lit the Ballet Boyz’s productions of Christopher Wheeldon’s Mesmerics and Liam Scarlett’s Serpent. Eonnagata, Michael’s collaboration with Sylvie Guillem, Robert Lepage and Russell Maliphant, for which Michael won the 2009 Knight of Illumination Award for Dance, opened at Sadler’s Wells and along with Afterlight led to Michael being nominated for the 2010 Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dance, and a second Knight of Illumination Award.
Michael has also worked over many years with Akram Khan on his pieces Fix, Rush, In-I his duet with Juliette Binoche, and most recently on his highly acclaimed full length solo DESH, winner of the 2012 Olivier Award for Best New Dance Production, and In the Shadow of Man. He is also working on Akram’s forthcoming work duet with Flamenco virtuoso Israel Galvan.
He has also worked with Javier De Frutos on the pieces Cattle Call, Paseillo, Los Picadores, Blue Roses, Elysian Fields and the controversial Eternal Damnation, and with Jonathan Burrows on The Stop Quartet, and on Walking/Music, commissioned by William Forsythe for Ballett Frankfort.
In 2009 Michael was delighted to become an Associate Artist of Sadler’s Wells Theatre and in 2010 his contribution to dance was recognised with his entry into the Oxford Dictionary of Dance. Michael was recently nominated for the 2012 Theatre Managers Association award for Achievement in Dance for his ‘brilliant contribution to lighting for dance; in particular for DESH, Torsion and The Rodin Project.’ In 2014, Michael was awarded the Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dance.
Michael is currently working with Russell on commissions for English National Ballet, Lyon Opera Ballet and Ballet Munchen as well as a new programme of work for the Russell Maliphant Company and Akram’s forthcoming duet with Flamenco virtuoso Israel Galvan.