Melissa Without has twenty year’s experience teaching dance to children and adults. She began her dance training at Arlington Center for Dance at the age of five and received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from George Mason University. During her time at GMU, Melissa was sent out as a dance ambassador to the community, performing a contemporary version of The Firebird with the Alexandria Symphony for public school children from all over the county in addition to a number of other outreach performances. She was also selected by GMU staff to teach a residency for a selective gifted students summer program on campus. Melissa studied Teaching Methodology under Risa Steinberg in New York City, and completed the Professional Studies Program with the José Limón Dance Company studying under the tutelage of Risa, Betty Jones, Alan Danielson, Carla Maxwell, Roxanne D’Orleans Juste, Carol Mezzacappa, Maxine Steinman, Sue Bernhard, Jim May, and Geraldine Cardiel, additionally interning with the company and performing Limón, Sokolow, and Weidman repertory. In tandem with extensive training with the Limón Company, she regularly studied contemporary modern under David Leventhal and other Mark Morris Dance Company members, Horton technique at the Ailey School and Steps on Broadway, and ballet under Kenny Larson, Ashley Tuttle, Graciela Kozak, and Yuka Kawazu. Melissa has taught master classes and residencies all over New York City, Virginia, Maryland, the Washington, D.C. metro area, and most recently in Asheville, NC.
Melissa danced with Crossroads Dance Project in Washington, D.C., and for Arron Wendel and Dancers, Laura Flowers, MasterMusings, and Buglisi Dance Theatre for the ‘Table of Silence’ project in NYC. Melissa’s choreography has been performed by the GMU Dance Company, Crossroads Dance Project, Horizons Dance Company, and Breath of Heaven Gospel Theatre, and has been presented in NYC at Soundance, the International Young Choreographer’s Showcase, the Puffin Room, the José Limón Institute, the Whitney Altria, Chelsea Piers, the Time Life Hispanic Heritage Celebration, Arts in Bushwick, Secret Project Robot, Chez Bushwick, and Grace Exhibition Space.
For the past thirteen years Melissa directed a non-profit arts program that provided free dance classes to over 1200 children annually in under-served neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens, New York. Having relocated to Asheville recently, Melissa is excited to be connecting to the dance community and loving this beautiful city.
Inspiration usually comes during work, rather than before it. - Madeleine L'Engle