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Artist StatementPedagogy

Why do I Dance?

by Dr. Melanie Milow | Why do I Dance?

Artist Statement

happy-griotThe message that I deliver is from the standpoint of the Griot. Serving as the Keeper of the oral traditions. The Storyteller. The Commentator. The Solutionist. The Mirror. And like a force of nature I blaze trails, wash them clean, blow them dry, and lay fertile soil in which to plant for a bountiful and hopefully sweet harvest.

My choreography draws from my African and Hip Hop roots, blending them together with the European aesthic lines of Ballet, Modern, and Jazz. My work is peppered with a capella vocals and spoken word, loosely tied together with film and a musical score. This creates a conduit of freedom, fusion, and flow; as the story lines weave in and out of vague memories, present dreams, and future ground on which to stand. Because my purpose is not to make you “feel good”, but simply to make you feel.

And with this, I consider myself a Humanologist. Through movement, sight, and sound, I seek to create work that shatters illusions, strips away strongholds, and removes that fourth wall. Using my body, my voice, music, props, and film, I conjure up portals that provide a glimpse of the ties that bind us together as humans sharing a communal experience.


The notion of teaching dance technique as a simple series of codified movement and steps is not enough for me as a Dance Educator. It should be understood that the act teaching technique not only lays solid foundation; it also initiates the reconnection of the mind, body, and soul. Fusing traditional teaching methods with newer holistic philosophies of body awareness, and adding scholarly information creates an overall enriching dance experience.

backbendThis approach to Dance Education takes movement beyond the physical and extends it to every aspect of existence, from the performing and liberal arts, to athletics, and science. It taps into the spiritual and becomes a tool of healing on all levels. It reaches out and develops a sense of community, celebrating both samenss and diversity. This teaching method exposes the long and rich history of dance, from the founders of the now codified forms, to the ancestors who spun and crawled around fires in order to tell of the latest hunting mission. It strips away boundaries to a pure essence of movement, leading to a pure state of being allowing one to understand that dance is life and life is dance. Freedom, fusion, and flow. Being comfortable in the body. Being one with energy, space, and time.

This is my pedagogy. This is my teaching philosophy. This method of teaching leads me to understand my craft to a depth that allows me to reach and teach all.

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