About Melissa

Melissa is a social artist, dancing and dedicated to our collective renewal through the liberation of the creative spirit.


Melissa Michaels, Ed.D., is the Founder and Director of SomaSource Educational Programs and Golden Bridge, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving and empowering the lives of people through body-centered initiatory processes, mentoring, and community action.

For the past 30+ years, Melissa has been creating movement-based cross-cultural educational opportunities focusing on the potential that is available at major life thresholds. Mapping the journey from trauma to dynamic well-being, her work utilizes the expressive and social arts to establish body and heart as resources for authentic expression and diverse community connections. Rooted in rhythm and fueled by breath, this work inspires the sacred union between Spirit, flesh, psyche, and deed.

Melissa is the author of the book, Youth On Fire: Igniting a Generation of Embodied Global Leaders. It shares the story of her work with young people in principle and practice. These teachings will soon be available in an online course for people in all stages of life. Melissa has also directed and produced a number of films and performances, all of which share the stories of resilient people and communities, herself included. Please see below for links to some of these award-winning projects.

In addition to training the next generations of leaders in the SomaSource process, Melissa is currently focused on the Golden Girls Global initiative. Together with the mighty young women from around the world who have come of age through this work, Melissa is collaboratively growing a movement of embodied global girls claiming their creative intelligence and fertility in safety, dignity, and alliance. Golden Girls Global will formally launch in 2020.

Melissa is a first-generation teacher of the 5Rhythms® and a Registered Somatic Educator and Therapist (ISMETA). Her doctorate degree is in Education, Leadership & Change.

Married to her beloved soul friend, Mark Gerzon, Melissa mothers three daughters, one soul son, along with sharing in the love with Mark’s three sons and seven grandchildren. Daily, she actively mentors SomaSource emerging leaders across the globe as they navigate their way home to themselves and their unique life gifts.

Work with Melissa

Working on the emergent frontiers of somatics, creative expression, human development, leadership, liberation, and love, Melissa brings her seasoned understanding of how to mobilize individuals and diverse communities in the midst of healing and change. To learn more about her workshops, talks, trainings, or transformational offerings, please contact office@goldenbridge.org.

Melissa's CV

Melissa Michaels, Ed. D.
P.O. Box 7478, Boulder, CO 80306
www.goldenbridge.org303-415-0272

 

  • Education
    • The Fielding Graduate University, Ed.D., Education Leadership and Change, 2006.
    • University of Colorado, B.S., Environmental Design, Graduated with Honors, 1983.
  • Certifications
    • Registered Somatic Movement Educator (RSME) and Registered Somatic Movement Therapist (RSMT), ISMETA, 2009.
    • Spiritual Ministry Ordination with Rev. Ron Roth, Full Life Fellowship, 2002.
    • Certified Coming of Age Educator, Menstrual Health Foundation and Institute for Renewal of Modern Culture, 1997.
    • Certified Pre & Perinatal Fitness Educator, Women’s Health Fitness, DPT™, 1995.
    • Certified Movement Educator / First Generation Teacher of 5Rhythms®, 1992.

    Expertise and Areas of Interest

    • Somatic and Soul-centric Education
    • Rites of Passage
    • Peace Leadership from the Soma, to the Soul, to Service
    • Youth and Human Development
    • Global Woman’s Life Cycles and Transitions
    • Universal Languages of Dance, Music, Writing, and Theater

     

    Professional Experience

    Founder and Director of Golden Bridge, 501c-3, 2006–Present and Melissa Michaels Movement, LLC. 1990–Present.

    • Launching Golden Girls Global
    • Produced TWISTED GIFT (Twisted Gift) award winning film short about Melissa’s resilience through late stage ovarian cancer into health.
    • Developed and taught STOP, Somatic Transforming Oppression Process with diverse leaders from around the world.
    • Created annual theater productions, Creative Liberation, with leaders from around the world.
    • Developed and taught Body Centered Life Cycle Trainings for educators, therapists, youth workers, parents, and spiritual leaders.
    • Certified first generation of SomaSource Life Cycle Practitioners, 2017.
    • Produced Surfing The Creative Film Short (Golden Bridge Presents: Surfing The Creative Film Short).
    • Co-Produced Youth, Truth & Talent Film Short (Golden Bridge Presents: Youth, Truth & Talent Film Short).
    • Co-Produced Pictures of the Possible Film Shorts (Pictures of the Possible Videos).
    • Developed and taught SomaSource body-centered transformational programs to thousands of people in numerous life cycles, including pregnant and post-partum families, children K–12, youth leaders in their 20’s, and adults into old age.
    • Developed and taught Shakti Sisterhood programs empowering hundreds of diverse women around the world throughout the life cycle.
    • Developed and taught Positive Choices programs for middle and high schools.
    • Produced Music CD and Experiential Video/DVD for families in the birthing cycle of life: Dance of Birth.
    • Designed and led student exchange programs taking students to New Zealand, South India, Brazil, Argentina, China, Australia, and South Africa.
    • Designed and implemented Surfing The Creative International Rites of Passage Program – Conducted over 25 times, 1 year, 5 week, and 2 week intensives.
    • Mentored and collaborated with 200+ faculty, including somatic educators and therapists, peace leaders, youth leaders, and related professionals.
    • Directed youth performances focused on the arts, community and healing.
    • Conducted Movement Masses in four countries for thousands of people.

     

    Additional Public Presentations Conducted

    SomaSource Body/Spirit/Human Development Presentations and Workshops

    • Interfaith Conference: Coming Together through Contemplative Practices and Dialogue 2017: Colorado College.
    • United Nations Youth Assembly 2014: Keynote Youth, Truth & Action. (Video: Melissa Michaels Presenting at the United Nations )
    • Universities including: Colorado College, Fielding Graduate University, Naropa University, Pitzer, University of Beijing, and Prescott College.
    • Trainings with Diverse Women, Youth, & Educators: South Africa, Madagascar, Kenya, New Zealand, South India, and Uganda.
    • CIYOTA Conference with Hutu and Tutsi Refugees Building a Peace Movement Pan-Africa: Uganda.
    • Emerging Women: Changing the World through Feminine Leadership and Entrepreneurship: Movement Mass ~ Boulder, Colorado, 2013.
    • NROPI Youth and Community Building Conference: Creative Process and Rites of Passage ~ Baltimore, Maryland, 2013.
    • IgniteGood Huffington Post Initiative for Millennial Entrepreneurs: Movement Leadership ~ New York City, New York, 2013.
    • Body Mind Centering Annual Conference: Threshold Dancing ~ Boulder, Colorado, 2013.
    • Unites States Association for Body Psychology Annual Conference: Threshold Dancing ~ Boulder, Colorado, 2012.
    • Fielding Graduate University: Embodied Leadership Workshop ~ Alexandria, Virginia, 2012.
    • Courageous Women, Fearless Women Retreat for Women Touched by Cancer ~ Shambhala Mountain Center, Colorado, 2011 & 2012.
    • Life and Death Matters: The Dance of Life ~ Boulder, Colorado, 2011.
    • Naropa University: Pathways Towards Peace ~ Boulder, Colorado, 2012, 2011, 2006, 2005.
    • The Erotic: Exploring Critical Issues ~ Salzburg, Austria, 2009.
    • Co-Founded Global Passageways Rites of Passage Initiative ~ 2008 (Now Youth Passageways)
    • Tui Community ~ Aotearoa, New Zealand, 2009, 2005, and 2004.
    • Prescott College: Master’s Colloquium & Expressive Arts Therapy Institute ~ Prescott, Arizona, 2008, 2009.
    • Peace Jam: A Call to Action ~ Denver, CO, 2009.
    • Aotearoa and Australian Creative and Art Therapy Associations: Arts Therapy Symposium ~ Auckland, New Zealand, 2008
    • Institute of Noetic Sciences: AUM Conference ~ San Rafael, CA, 2007.
    • California School of Integral Studies ~ San Francisco, CA, 2007.
    • Auroville Community ~ Tamil Nadu, South India,
    • Whole Family, Whole Child Conference ~ Fair Oaks, CA (Keynote), 2004.
    • Passageways Institute ~ Boulder, CO, 2002.
    • Dance Therapy Association ~ Denver, CO, 2002.
    • Colorado School Mediation Project: Peace Leadership Conference ~ Denver, CO, 2002, 2001.
    • Women’s Theological Center ~ Boston, MA, 2001.
    • Safehouse: Art Triumphs Over Domestic Violence ~ Boulder, CO, 2001.
    • Girl Scouts of America ~ Boulder, CO, 2001.
    • Spirit and Action: International Youth Conference ~ Santa Cruz, CA, 1999.
    • Association of Pre and Perinatal Congress ~ San Francisco, CA, 1999, 1997.
    • Colorado Dance Festival ~ Boulder, CO, 1999.
    • Shining Mountain Waldorf School ~ Boulder, CO, 2000, 1998, 1997.

     

    Additional Employment

    • Co-Founder, Global Passageways: Coming of Age in the 21st Century ~ 2008.
    • Director, After School Program, Friends School ~ Boulder, CO, 1991–1992.
    • Director, Small World Summer Camps ~ Boulder, CO, 1989, 1988.
    • Research Assistant, Dr. Elise Boulding, University of Colorado ~ Boulder, CO, 1985–1986.

     

    Awards

    • Multiple film awards for TWISTED GIFT.
    • eTown eChievement Award, 2016.
    • Fielding Graduate University Fellowship in Social Innovation, 2013/2014.
    • Colorado Dance Alliance: Service to the Field Award, 2006.
    • Colorado School Mediation Project: Peacebuilder of the Year Nominee, 2001.
    • University of Colorado: Dana Giffen Soper Memorial Scholarship Award, 1982.

     

    Associations, Memberships, and Affiliations

    • Auroville International, USA
    • American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD)
    • Celebrating Life Ministries
    • Dance and The Child International (daCi)
    • International Expressive Arts Therapy Association (IEATA)
    • International Somatic Movement and Therapy Association (ISMETA)
    • National Dance Education Organization (NDEO)
    • National Rites of Passage Institute (NROPI): Strategic Partner
    • StarHouse ~ All Seasons Chalice (ASC)
    • United States Association for Body Psychotherapy (USABP)
    • Youth Passageways

     

    Educational Publications and Creative Products

    • Book, “Youth On Fire: Birthing a Generation of Embodied Global Leaders,” Golden Bridge Press, Boulder, CO. 2017. Youth On Fire
    • CD, “IGNITE, A Moving Rites of Passage Journey,” Co-created by Melissa Michaels & the Golden Bridge Rhythm Keepers, 2016.
    • Article in Black Child Journal. Arts and the Black Child. Spring 2014.
    • Article, “Birthing Embodied Global Leaders,” in Conscious Dancer Magazine. Winter 2013.
    • Forward, “Motherhood: A great big give away ceremony,” Fearless Nest. 2010.
    • Paper, “Youth: Self, Sex, and Spirit,” in The Erotic: Exploring Critical Issues, Inter–Disciplinary.Net, 2009.
    • Chapter, “Dancing For Our Lives,” in Finding the Flow: True Stories of Finding Strength and Healing Through Adversity, New Page, Ltd., New Zealand, 2006.
    • Interview in Diamonds, Pearl & Stones: Jewels of Wisdom for Young Women from Extraordinary Women of the World, Health Communications, Inc., 2004.
    • Article, “Navigating The Edge From Center: International Youth Work,” in Evolve, Auroville International, Winter 2003/2004.
    • Article, “Surfing The Creative Edge with Youth,” in Wild Heart Journal: Art, Creativity & Spiritual Life. Volume 6, Issue 2, 2003.
    • Video, “The Dance of Birth, An Invitation to Move with Melissa Michaels & Friends,” Wild Life Productions, LLC., 1999.
    • CD, “Birth, A Moving Journey From the Longing of the Spirit to the Ecstasy of the Ordinary,” Wild Life Productions, LLC., 1997.

     

    Selected Youth Initiatives Mentored

    • African Lions: Youth arts program with and for youth living in the townships, Durban, South Africa.
    • Mohanam Project: Cultural Center for children in the villages focused on the interface between traditional and modern, Kottakarai, South India.
    • Women’s Fertility Educational Programs: Providing youth and adults information about their creative cycles, healthy sexual practices, and self-care in general, Boulder, Colorado.
    • Voice Of Youth: International Music and Arts Tour bringing the sounds and practices of positive creative expression to youth across the globe, India and New Zealand.
    • Positive Hip Hop: Positive Youth Development: Self-discovery and empowerment groups and classes serving young women from diverse cultures, Boulder, Colorado.
    • The Hermanito Project: A project to raise funds for and awareness about the needs of at-risk Latino young men, Santa Fe, New Mexico.

     

    Personal

    • I adore parenting my 3 daughters ~ one in a doctoral program in Clinical Psychology, one a bilingual Social Worker serving women and girls around the world, and one an embodied astrologer and somatic educator and artist ~ as well as my 3 bonus-children, my 7 grandchildren, and all of their contemporaries.
    • I am committed to bringing people together for body-centered transformational experiences and dialogues from diverse cultures, ages, classes, races, tribes, abilities, religions, and countries.
    • I am a dancer, trained in the 5Rhythms®, Pilates, Mime, Eurythmy, Yoga, Tai Chi, African Dance, Sacred Dance, and Ritual Theatre.

     

    References

    • Professional and Personal References are available upon request.

     

Once I knew a Phoenix, schooled in resurrection. She taught us how to gather the beautiful nest of the body...

(Written by members of the first SomaSource cohort)

Melissa, Melissa

Once I knew a Phoenix,
schooled in resurrection,
She taught us how to gather the beautiful nest of the body.
Set it ablaze and emerge anew and wizened.

Melissa, Melissa, a gleaming Michaelic star
Awakening justice and soul force wherever you are
Soma magic champion extraordinaire
Creative expressive genius so fair
For a new era sounding a hopeful, truthful tone
And pioneering love’s way for a time beyond our own
Blessings upon you, bright morning star
Your depth and beauty ripple out wherever you are!
We love you!

Wise and wild,
Your intuition is super dialed
In honor and devotion
Thank you for keeping us all in motion.

Midwife of mysteries both simple and extraordinary…
Destiny calls.
We hear her beckoning and dance into the waters of recognition.
Love is here.

Melissa, Melissa, Divinity walking
Gifts of clear seeing, deep loving, heart talking
Your presence profound, weaving us free
Blessing us all with true community.

Melissa, Melissa
Alchemist, teacher, guide
SEE-ER of Bright Stars
She who had visions and messages delivered to at a young ripe age
and did not waste time to turn to the next page
You heeded your soul call
You did not get blocked by any such wall
You gathered the mothers, the children, the youth
and listened to the dance of their TRUTH
OUR TRUTHS
Courageously carving a pathway toward your vision
day after day
year after year
decade after decade
Transforming your heartbreak, grief and rage into community LOVE ART
We are here
We are part of the sea of countless beings
You are here
WE, WE, WE
Rise together and ripple.

Ancient Weaver, midwife of the soul
Lover of the holy
bridger of hearts and hands & evolution.

Fierce Protector and Guardian of Youth Dreams .

Melissa, Melissa ~
your pure love always with us…
we’re so blessed by your heart,
you’ve taught us to make art
out of suffering, the questions,
we’ve faced death, life and lessons,
cycles continue and work us, renew our life’s purpose,
together forever, we weave, grieve, get clever….how to hold it all, to answer the call, to mentor the youth, to speak the deeper truths of our hearts, fall apart, get back up, freshly start…again…and again …and again….
The precious community you’ve woven is my family, I am humbled by your generosity, your vast holding capacity, your devotion to doing your own work so you can offer your medicine to us all and to the world. It is felt, it is known, it is profound. You are deeply loved – we honor you, we are at your back, we will carry your work forward with care and integrity. forever grateful that our paths have crossed in this life….we are so blessed to serve humanity in the ways that have been able to for so many beautiful years…..THANK YOU!

Melissa, Melissa, she wasn’t here at the start… but she was there at the end and the new beginning.
Born from the womb of her heart… if life was a game, I’d be winning!

Fierce gentle starlight honoring life in the humblest magnifcence.

You have sounded the call and gathered us all,
a motley tribe from far and wide.
your healing vibe, your loving eyes,
we are united in our gratitude as we spread our wings and fly!

Melissa, Melissa
You are a teacher
full of grace
your impact is wide and leaves a massive trace
Thank you for your mighty ripple
We love you so.

Melissa, Melissa, I was once a wandering soul… a forgotten gift of god, a destiny to be found, a heart to be opened. Then one day found and fed from your dance with grace. Thank you for all that you’ve embraced. And so because of you, I’ve found my path, and I dance along the glistening rocks underneath the whispering stars, singing back thanks to you!

Melissa, Melissa, Thank you for planting seeds
with deeeep roots and ever expanding wings.

Your hands have been the canoe for so many hearts passing through the waters of grief. Thank you for giving us the gift of oars, to bring many across those waters.

Melissa, Melissa ~ Ma,
Threshold Dancer, Magician, Mother, Queen, Shaman, Teacher, master way-finder, Sister, Beloved friend.
How could any of us ever repay you?
We could not.
Could never.
But we can become the teachings.
With humility, honor and utter devotion,
The next Buddha is being birthed in the form of your golden star team.


With Love and Respect,
Meagan, Ramon, Jennie, Taliza, Jonathan, Gabriel, Sarita, Rafael, Johannah, Darren, Rachael, Livia, Abigail, Jenn C., Arisa, Dayna and Alyzabeth
June, 2017

Free Gift!

One wave from our double CD IGNITE: Music to accompany the journey through the SomaSource rite of passage process and your dances.

Embodying Life’s Rhythms is music to move get your body moving! This is a 13 minute full wave through all 5Rhythms® orchestrated by the Golden Bridge Rhythm Keepers. Sacred instruments woven into a layered tapestry of inspired sound. A daily warm up. A ceremonial doorway. A chance to simply dance!

Thank you for joining the dance!