Melanie George is a dance educator, choreographer, dramaturg and scholar. She is the founder and director of Jazz Is… Dance Project and a prolific dramaturg for dance and dance theatre.
As a dramaturg, she works closely with internationally recognized contemporary performing artists in the incubation of new works for the stage. She has contributed to projects by Susan Marshall & Company, Raja Feather Kelly, Urban Bush Women, ZviDance, Kimberly Bartosik/daela, Alice Sheppard/Kinetic Light, Maria Bauman-Morales, David Neumann & Marcella Murray (on the Obie Award winning Distances Smaller Than This Are Not Confirmed), among others. Current projects include new works by Helen Simoneau Danse, Caleb Teicher & Company, Raphael Xavier, and Ephrat Asherie Dance. She is honored to be among the dramaturgs affiliated with Urban Bush Women’s Choreographic Center. From 2016 until the Covid-19 pandemic, she was the Dramaturg and Audience Educator at Lumberyard, making her the only institutional dramaturg for dance in the USA.
In 2012, Melanie founded Jazz Is… Dance Project (Jazz Is...). She is a highly sought after teacher and choreographer, staging neo-jazz works on dancers throughout the United States. Her choreography spans concert dance, theatre, and vocal staging. Choreography commissions include works for Arizona State University, Western Michigan University, University at Buffalo, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and Salve Regina University, and Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company (2016 Helen Hayes Award Nominee for Outstanding Choreography).
Under the umbrella of Jazz Is…, she launched Jazz Dance Direct, a directory website devoted exclusively to the promotion and visibility of jazz dance companies, publications, events, organizations, and college programs. She has presented her research on jazz dance improvisation and pedagogy throughout the U.S., Canada and Scotland. Publications include “Jazz Dance, Pop Culture, and the Music Video Era” for Jazz Dance: A History of the Roots and Branches (University Press of Florida). Melanie is a featured contributor and consultant for the documentary on jazz dance, Uprooted: The Journey of Jazz.
Melanie has an extensive teaching history, bringing 25 years of experience to students and audiences. Past teaching positions include the Washington School of Ballet, The Roeper School for the Gifted and Talented, and Assistant Professor of Dance and Dance Education Program Coordinator at Kent State University. From 2008-2016, she directed the dance program at American University (AU). During her time at AU, she founded the American University Dance Company, created the Dr. Naima Prevots Guest Artist Fund, and facilitated partnerships with DC-based embassies and arts organizations, leading to multiple artist residencies and master classes with nationally and internationally recognized artists. Melanie is invited regularly to teach and lecture in university dance programs throughout the USA. Recent engagements include Harvard University, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and The Juilliard School.
She has worked as a consultant in the arts for over a decade, applying her expertise in scholarship and education to assist artists and arts organizations in articulating language and facilitating the development and presentation of creative work. In addition to her work with independent choreographers and dance educators, Melanie has provided professional services for Jacob’s Pillow,The Joyce Theatre, The Guggenheim Museum, and BAM, among others.
She has served on the boards of the National Dance Education Organization and Dance Metro DC, and committees for the National Endowment for the Arts, MAP Fund, the Society of Dance History Scholars, VelocityDC Dance Festival, the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, and the Ohio Board of Regents.
She holds a BA in dance from Western Michigan University, an MA in dance and Graduate Certificate in Secondary Teaching from American University, and movement analysis certification from the Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies in New York. Melanie is the 2017 recipient of the Western Michigan University Department of Dance Distinguished Alumni Award.
Bio taken from https://melaniegeorge.org/about.