Skip to main content

Michelle Camaya

Temporary Lecturer in Dance - Asian Dance: Filipino Folk


Dance has been a fundamental part of Michelle’s life for over 40 years. Technically, academically, professionally and competitively she has studied in ballet, jazz, modern, hip-hop, musical theater, Latin and standard ballroom, Polynesian, and Philippine folk dance. 30+ years have been dedicated as a student, teacher, company dancer, former board member and Vice-President of the non-profit organization, Samahan Filipino American Performing Arts and Education Center, which celebrates their 50 year anniversary in 2024. She is a founding member (dancer and musician) of the Pakaraguian Kulintang Ensemble, which focuses on traditional music and dance from the Southern Philippines. Michelle continues to develop her knowledge of folk arts and culture through field research, dialoguing with colleagues, collaborating with kindred folk dance companies and participation in workshops with master artists and educators. Michelle has had the privilege to share the rich cultural diversity of the Philippine islands with the students at UCSD. She believes that cultural arts is a living and breathing art form and directly corresponds to positive community enhancement.

Michelle is well-rounded as a dancer, choreographer, director, hot pilates and yoga instructor. She graduated from the San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts and went on to receive her BA in Dance from UC Irvine. While at UC Irvine, she was a member of the late Donald McKayle’s student dance company, Etude Ensemble and hip hop crew Kaba Modern. Being a member of Actor’s Equity Association (AEA) for 26 years, a highlight of her performing arts career has been performing in The Lion King musical over 2,500+ times on Broadway, with the 1st and 2nd National tours & Las Vegas production. Other select professional credits include: Fame (1st National tour), Swing (Broadway National Tour & Japan), Twyla Tharp’s Come Fly Away (BNT & Japan), Evita (SD Rep), Sinatra, Dance With Me (Las Vegas); movies: Enchanted and Memoirs of a Geisha. She was also a dance finalist on Bravo TV's Step It Up & Dance.

As an avid practitioner of Bikram Yoga, which helped ease the physical, mental & emotional demands of performing 8 shows a week, Michelle became certified in Bikram Yoga in 2001 and Modo Yoga in 2010. Since 2011, she has been recognized with an E-RYT 500 through Yoga Alliance. In 2016, she co-founded the KAMOCHIMETHOD alongside Tony nominated passion partner Karine Plantadit, wherein they host yoga retreats throughout the world and lead dance intensives to pre-professional dancers with a mission to help sustain their health and longevity.

Michelle continues to substitute teach for 4 school districts, choreograph and direct for community theater throughout San Diego. She consciously intertwines her knowledge and extensive experience in performing to educate students to value and honor their innate creativity while respecting diversity through the arts. She is deeply grateful to all her formative teachers and with her life’s work being to inspire through joy and collaboration, she hopes to be a long-lasting guide and positive influence for her students just the same.


TDMV 144
Asian Dance: Filipino Folk
Dance Lecturer: Michelle Camaya
T/Th 10:00-11:50am



Wagner Dance Bldg.