michelle Buckley

Freelance Artist


Michelle Buckley Headshot - Image by Franklin & Bailey

An American dancer in London, Michelle has performed internationally as a freelance artist in a variety of genres including ballet, contemporary dance, musical theatre and opera; Michelle has also worked behind-the-scenes as a choreographer, assistant director and costumier. She is a PhD Candidate at Coventry University, in a doctoral partnership with the ISTD.

Michelle regularly works with Gleich Dances, having performed much of Julia Gleich’s repertoire in both New York and London; works include Speak Easy Secrets, The Brodmann Areas and Martha: The Searchers. Michelle has on many occasions been fortunate enough to work collaboratively with Gleich and has originated roles in many of her ballets.

Martha: The Searchers by Gleich Dances

Gleich Dances, Martha: The Searchers

Martha: The Searchers by Gleich Dances

Gleich Dances, Martha: The Searchers

With an affinity for travel and attack, she has performed delicate lyrical ballet to aggressive physical theatrical works on pointe which require strength and daring… Michelle is an intellectual colleague and collaborator, with whom I continue to collaborate despite the distance and the restrictions of our current world.
-Julia Gleich

In 2024, Michelle returned to New York to join Gleich Dances in two residencies at Kaatsbaan. During this time, she worked closely with choreographer and artistic director Julia Gleich and visual artist Ellie Murphy in a new ballet, Cradle, which premiered at Counter Pointe 11 at the Mark O’Donnell Theater in Brooklyn, New YorK


Gleich Dances, ‘Cradle’ in collaboration with Ellie Murphy

From 2022 to 2023, Michelle toured the UK & Ireland in Craig Revel Horwood’s new production of Strictly Ballroom the Musical as an On-Stage Swing. In this production, she also covered and played the principal roles of Shirley Hastings (1st cover) and Abuela (1st cover), as well as the featured ensemble roles of Charm (2nd cover), and Pam Short (3rd cover).

Strickly Ballroom

Strickly Ballroom, Craig Revel Horwood. Image by Ellie Kurttz

Buckley completely embodied the character and kept the show going. This is yet another example of how vital swings are to the theatre industry.
- Neill Kovacic-Clarke, Pink Prince Theatre
A special mention to understudy Michelle Buckley who seamlessly took over the role of Shirley mid-production due to illness.
- Laura Curtain, What’s Good To Do
The Understudies and Swings that are very much a part of theatre are often overlooked. Perhaps, that is because they fit in too well. Michelle Buckley, Agnes Pure and Liv Alexander take a bow. Well done
- Stephen Oliver, North East Theatre Guide

‘There were a few changes to the cast last night and they were absolutely brilliant – and turned out to be some of the stand-out actors on the night! Including… the role of Abuela played by Michelle Buckley…’
- Lex Ward, Yeah Lifestyle
I must say I haven’t ever been to a performance where a character was replaced by the understudy so swiftly. The role of Scott’s Mum ‘Shirley Hastings’ was played by Nikki Belsher for the opening of the show and approximately the first 15 minutes but was then replaced by Michelle Buckley who did a lovely job. I noticed the switch but Daisy didn’t, that’s how effortless it was. An announcement was made in the interval. These scenarios just go to show the importance of understudies but it was completely seamless in the swap over and a huge credit to Michelle and the cast.
- Catherine Moore, The PRSD.

In 2021, Michelle returned to her academic studies and earned a Masters in Dance History and Philosophy, with Distinction, from the University of Roehampton. During this time, Michelle also joined Fabula Collective as an Associate Artist which allowed her studio time and support, as well as mentorship from choreographer Will Tuckett, for her artistic research and development. Inspired by her academic and choreographic endeavours, Michelle is seeking to further develop her project D.A.R.T., which brings together dance, technology and history.


Michelle was the first cast member of the Sisters Grimm production Voices of the Amazon, choreographed by Helen Pickett with narration by Jeremy Irons, and toured to Moscow, Singapore and London’s Sadler's Wells Theatre. She was also an original cast member in Tongues Duel the Corn Whores: An Opera, which premiered at the Zabludowicz Collection as part of their Hot with Excess season. Michelle was also involved in the workshopping of the new musical, A Face In A Million, written by Tony and Maureen Bryan and directed by Dame Arlene Phillips, originating the role of the NY fashion agent, Louella Linton.

Michelle Buckley performing on stage; 'Voices of the Amazon'- image by Johan Persson

Sisters Grimm, Voices of the Amazon - Image by Johan Persson

Tongues Duel the Corn Whores' Image by Mike Massaro

Trulee Hall, Tongues Duel the Corn Whores - Image by Mike Massaro

AFIAM Cast Announcement

AFIAM Cast Announcement

Full Biography