I am a choreographer. My creative research is rooted in an ongoing exploration of
ballet’s limits, a process of artistic engagement that produces a personalized, artistdriven
product from the studio, and a profound commitment to use my unique artistic
voice to further our art form and establish its place in the modern age.
My movement style is rooted in the classical vernacular but stretches the boundaries
of what ballet is and what it can become. I value and appreciate when dancers move
in humanistic ways. I thrive on the seamless fusion between technical movement,
executed by highly-trained dancers, and more natural movement. In order to
encourage the dancers to interact in truer ways, I rely on a sense of community in my
work that is created by drawing the dancers into choreographic relationships
onstage. My movement is a study in intentional contrasts that allows me to explore
the limits of movement through the illumination of opposites. I use the grounded to
highlight the weightless, the fluid to accentuate the sharp, and the sweeping gesture
to nuance the intricate.
In my recent works, I have sought to tap more deeply into my feminine perspective as
a conduit to explore my unique choreographic voice, therein creating not only new,
but socially-relative collaborative works that have a unique impact on the modern
ballet audience. In these works, the goal of reaching an audience on the individual
level in order to speak to their most basic human emotions was of paramount
importance to me. I used a fusion of the classical ballet vernacular and more
contemporary styles of dance to achieve this and created a unique, yet instinctively
relatable, dance medium. The modern audience needs different, deeper, more
arresting stimuli. Patrons need to be engaged in a different way. They need
contemporary works to meet them where they are today.
It is my opinion that, in order to captivate today’s audiences, ballet choreographers
need to dig deeper and offer more of themselves to their work. To achieve this most
effectively, they must be able to selflessly examine their own personal journey while
having a clear method to share the tools necessary for their dancers to identify and
analyze their own personal experiences.
- In December of 2022, I volunteered to collaborate again with the Opera Program for their productions of Amahl and the Night Visitors and A Christmas Carol presented at the Grand Theatre in SLC. I created an original piece of choreography for two ballet majors in Amahl and a group of music majors in A Christmas Carol. Choreography, completed 12/01/2022.
- I was commissioned by Pace University in New York City to create a new work on select BFA students. I traveled to New York in February of 2019 to conduct a week-long choreographic residency. The piece was to premiere in May 2020 at the Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts in lower Manhattan but was cancelled due to Covid-19. Fortunately, last spring, the piece was restaged. I conducted several rehearsals via Zoom, and it was performed April 28 - 30 in NYC. Choreography, completed 04/30/2022.
- During the Spring of 2022, I was commissioned by the School of Music to choreograph for the U Opera production of Sweeney Todd at Kingsbury Hall. I created choreography throughout the show for a cast of music and ballet majors in this collaboration between the Opera and Ballet Programs.
- In January of 2022, my work UNCOVERED (2019) was chosen through peer-review for the Breaking Ground Dance Festival. With generous funding from the Dean’s Funds for Excellence and support from the School of Dance, I traveled with students to Tempe, AZ to present the work at the Tempe Center for the Arts. Performance, refereed, completed 01/29/2022.
- Precipice – uses classical ballet vernacular to explore the emotional nuance felt when it is time to set aside something familiar. Through dynamic interplay and the relationships established between the trio of dancers, a picture is painted of the active choice of stepping away, releasing, or shedding that which is known.
- Detroit Dance City Festival Choreographer’s Showcase Maybe Tomorrow and UNCOVERED – two works were chosen by the international festival to be featured in the Choreographer’s Showcase. The works were filmed and then aired on Sept. 11, 2021. Choreography, refereed, completed 08/28/2021.
- Am I on Mute? – a new contemporary ballet piece created for the California based professional company. The piece was presented twice, in May and August of 2021 for live audience and nationally via live stream presentation.
- Press Against the Glass – was created for and in collaboration with the Senior Ballet Majors of the University of Utah School of Dance. This work is a response to the visceral feelings that we each have in important transitional moments in our lives. The work was disseminated nationally via live stream.
- MAYBE TOMORROW - Melissa and her dancers have collaborated in the creation of a new piece that brings voice to the vast array of emotions one experiences in the uncertain times of quarantine, isolation, and extended virtual living. By looking to tomorrow, we are offered a glimpse into possibility and the opportunity to act. Together, we have the power to look beyond today and choose the path of the future. Today is an unprecedented challenge, but maybe tomorrow...
- Untitled – a new contemporary ballet choreographed for the dance majors at Pace University. The choreographic residency was completed in February, and the work was set to premiere in May at the Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts in lower Manhattan. The performance was postponed due to Covid-19 restrictions. Choreography, completed 02/14/2020.
- In the work UNCOVERED, Melissa Bobick has created movement that is accented by beautiful, full skirts that have been designed by Chris Larson. These skirts, which represent the ‘costumes’ we feel we must wear to be ready to face the world, were an integral part of the choreography’s creation and informed the movement quality extensively. The performers in the piece have used Melissa’s collaborative process to explore the range of emotions they feel within themselves in response to their masks. At times, the masks are quite burdensome and difficult to carry. At other times, they offer us comfort and security. Yet, in either instance, they are always with us. As we are wrestling with our masks, however, being truly seen is all it takes to help us let them go. In that place of vulnerability, we discover who we really are and no longer feel UNCOVERED.
- Began choreographing UNCOVERED - In the work UNCOVERED, Melissa Bobick has created movement that is accented by full skirts. These skirts, which represent the ‘masks’ we feel we must wear to be ready to face the world, were an integral part of the choreography’s creation and informed the movement quality extensively. The performers in the piece have explored the range of emotions they feel in response to their masks. At times, the masks are quite burdensome and difficult to carry. At other times, they offer us comfort and security. Yet, in either instance, they are always with us. As we are wrestling with our masks, however, being truly seen is all it takes to help us let them go. In that place of vulnerability, we discover who we really are and no longer feel UNCOVERED. (Premiered 2/6/2020) Choreography, completed 12/13/2019.
- Northbound – a new contemporary ballet work created for the Erie Contemporary Ballet Theatre's 2019/2020 season. The work will be adjudicated for Regional Dance America Festival/Northeast. Commission, in progress 06/07/2019.
- La Fille Mal Gardée - I was the Director for the first full-length ballet produced by the School of Dance, La Fille Mal Gardée. It was choreographed by Bruce Marks and restaged by Tauna Hunter and Michael Gleason. The ballet made its Utah premiere on Feb. 7th 2019. Curatorial/Production, completed 02/07/2019.
- My piece 135 was chosen as a finalist for the McCallum Theatre Choreography Festival in Palm Desert, CA. I received funding from the College of Fine Arts Funds for Excellence and from the School of Dance to travel there with 11 dancers from the Ballet Program. There we presented my piece in this nationally known choreography competition. Competition, refereed, completed 11/11/2018.
- Fractured – a new contemporary ballet drawing on a unique movement language that
highlights intentional dissimilarities as it lays bare the interplay between the individual
and the group as they navigate the balance between their autonomy and their
- I was chosen as one of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts Choreographic Institute Awardees. I had the opportunity to travel there for five weeks to participate in the Choreographic Development Residency. Through this program I created my piece titled, A Beautiful Disquiet. Competition, completed 07/21/2018.
- Bucknell University Department of Dance Choreographic residency during the 2011-2012 academic year Choreography, completed 02/05/2012.
- The College of Social Work extended an invitation to participate in their event Grand Challenges for Social Work: “Understanding Isolation During a Pandemic And Beyond: Connecting Art and Research.” On March 2, 2022, I presented my work, Maybe Tomorrow (2020) and joined in discussions about creating art while in isolation.
- As a semi-finalist in the Core Choreography Competition, I gave an Artist Talk in which I will have the opportunity to share about my choreographic research, hosted by Jessica Chen, Artistic Director of J CHEN PROJECT in New York City.
- Chosen through a blind peer reviewed search to present my original research “Beyond Ballet: empowering dancers through artistic collaboration” at the Corps de Ballet International, Inc. conference in New York, NY. This conference was held virtually.
Conference Paper, Refereed,
- I was chosen to present my research at the National Dance Education Organization annual conference in San Diego, CA. My presentation was titled, Beyond Ballet: empowering dancers through artistic collaboration. Conference Paper, Refereed, Presented, 10/06/2018.