Interview with Michelle O'Bryan Hamel conducted by Glenn Giffin. Michelle O'Bryan Hamel had her first dance ballet class at 5 years old, and continued to study with Lillian Cushing through high school. In 1959, Michelle auditioned for the Metropolitan Denver Civic Ballet. There she started as a solist and understudy, being able to perform as prima ballerina in the first production of "Coppelia." She became the company's prima ballerina until the company folded in 1979. During her time there, she earned her bachelors from the University of Denver and taught at the Denver Civic Ballet Academy. Michelle has taught ballet throughout Denver including time at her own studio and then head of the academy of David Taylor Dance Theatre. She now teaches at Cleo Parker Robinson Dance.