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Melanie George

Director, Dance Program Department of Performing Arts

Melanie George is a dance educator, choreographer, and scholar. 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 has an extensive teaching history including positions with The Roeper School for the Gifted and Talented, the Washington School of Ballet, and as Assistant Professor of Dance and Dance Education Program Coordinator at Kent State University. Since 2008, she has been the Dance Program Director at American University, where she specializes in jazz and modern dance, dance composition, movement analysis, and musical theatre dance styles. Melanie has presented her research on jazz dance improvisation/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) and Publications include “Imbed/In Bed: Two Perspectives on Dance and Collaboration” with Joan Meggitt for Working Together in Qualitative Research (Sense Publishers). Her choreography spans concert dance, theatre, and vocal staging. Choreography commissions include works for the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, Kent State University, the Community College of Baltimore County, and the Gaylord National Christmas on the Potomac Launch Event. She is the co-founder and Artistic Director of Jazz Is… Dance Project. Melanie has served on the board of the National Dance Education Organization, and committees for VelocityDC Dance Festival, the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, and Ohio Board of Regents. Currently, she is the resident scholar at American Dance Institute, a board member of Dance Metro DC, and co-chair of the planning committee for the 2016 National Dance Education Organization annual conference.


MA, Performing Arts: Dance, American University
BA, Dance, Western Michigan University

CAS - Performing Arts
Katzen Arts Center - 226
Contact Info
(202) 885-3433 (Office)

Send email to Melanie George

For the Media
To request an interview for a news story, call AU Communications at 202-885-5950 or submit a request.
See Also
Performing Arts Department
Dance Program
American Magazine Feature
Watch Melanie George's Professor Profile Video

Partnerships & Affiliations

Scholarly, Creative & Professional Activities

Research Interests

My research is centered on jazz dance pedagogy, history, choreography, and performance.


2015 - Guest Artist, Hope College

2013 - Guest Artist, Community College of Baltimore County

2010 - Guest Artist, School of Theatre and Dance, Kent State University; Read guest artist profile 

2008 - Guest Artist, Department of Dance, University of North Carolina - Charlotte

2005-2007 - Artist in Residence, Northeast Ohio Dance Company, Wadsworth, Ohio

1996-1997 - Choreographic in Residence, Henry Ford Community College, Dearborn, MI


  • Jazz Is... (redux), [ten dancers, jazz], 2015
  • The Nudes, [quartet, modern], 2014
  • Jazz Is... The Manifesto, [octet, jazz], comissioned work, 2013
  • Exquisite Corpses, [quartet, modern], 2013
  • Ashplay, [quartet, jazz], comissioned work, 2011
  • 3 Short Tales of Love [quintet, jazz], 2010   
  • MingusAmongUs (Shape Change), [sextext, jazz], 2008   
  • Four On The Floor, [quartet, jazz], 2007   
  • The Principle of Moments, [15 dancers, modern], 2006   
  • Swingin’ With Someone, [12 dancers, jazz], commissioned work, 2006
  • Motor City Serenade, [Septet, jazz], commissioned work, 2006   
  • Shiny Exteriors (and Visible Strings), [9 dancers, modern], 2005  
  • -Vs-, co-choreographed and performed with Kimberly Karpanty, [duet, jazz], 2004   
  • Floribunda, [septet, modern], 2004
  • Providence, [solo, modern], commissioned work, 2003


  • 2012- Present, Artistic Director, Jazz Is Dance Project, Washington, DC
  • 2003-2004, Company Member, Boris Willis Moves, Washington, DC
  • 2002, Kennedy Center Honors: Chita Rivera Tribute
  • 1995-1998, Company Member, Dance Nonce, Eastpointe, Michigan
  • Performed the dance works of:  Alana Barter, Trudy Cobb, Laurie Eisenhower, Paula Kramer, Louines Lounis, Pearl Primus, Barbara Sellinger, Sarah Skaggs, Denise Szykula

Honors, Awards, and Fellowships

  • 2004, Outstanding Artist/Master Teacher Distinction, Ohio Citizens for the Arts
  • 2003, Multicultural Affairs Leadership Award, Office of Multicultural Affairs and International Student Services, American University
  • 1995, Full Circle Choreography Award, Henry Ford Community College, Outstanding Choreographic Contribution
  • 1995, Dance Book Award, Henry Ford Community College, Outstanding Service to the Dance Program

Selected Publications

  • Book Chapter: "Jazz Dance, Pop Culture, and the Music Vide Era". Jazz Dance: A History of the Roots and Branches, Ed. Lindsay Guarino and Wendy Oliver. Florida: University Press of Florida, 2014.
  • Book Chapter: "Imbed/In Bed: Two Perspectives on Dance and Collaboration," (co-authored with Joan Meggitt). The Collaborative Turn: Working Together in Qualitative Research, Ed. Walter Gershon. Boston: Sense Publishers, 2009.

Professional Certifications

  • 2008, Certified Movement Analyst, Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies
  • 2003, Graduate Certificate in Secondary Teaching, American University

Professional Presentations

  • 2014, Panel Member, Many Authors, Multiple Perspectives: Collaborating on a Jazz History Textbook National Dance Education Organization 14th Annual Conference, Chiago, IL
  • 2014, Panel Member, Jazz Dance in Higher Education and The Professions: Where Do We Go From Here? National Dance Education Organization 14th Annual Conference, Chiago, IL
  • 2014, Panel Member, It’s An Art: The Choreography of Collaboration in Musical Theatre. National Dance Education Organization 14th Annual Conference, Chicago, IL
  • 2011, Presentation/Panel, Research – Examples in Our Field. Presentation Title: "Choreography in Academia as Research". National Dance Education Organization 13th Annual Conference, Minneapolis, MN
  • 2010,  Paper Presentation/Panel Member, Progress and Complacency: A Post-Racial Dance Education?  Paper Title: Reconstruction:  Reconciling the Role of the 21st Century Educator within a 20th Century Paradigm".  National Dance Education Organization 12th Annual Conference, Phoenix Arizona
  • 2009, Working Together in Qualitative Research: The Troubles and Possibilities of Collaboration (Panel), Conference on Curriculum Theory and Classroom Practice, Dayton, OH
  • 2009, Panel Chair, Living the Dream – How to Have a Career in a Major Dance City, National Dance Education Organization 11th Annual Conference, New York, NY
  • 2009, Presenting as a Leader—the Psychology of Message and Media, Laban Movement Analysis presentation with Karen Bradley and Karen Studd, Rawlings Program at the University of Maryland Academy of Leadership
  • 2008, Panel Chair, Running the Race: Navigating the Tenure Track in Dance in Higher Education, National Dance Education Organization 10th Annual Conference, Baltimore, MD
  • 2007, Better Git It Into Your Soul: Jazz Dance and the Pedagogy of Authenticity(Workshop), Crossing Boundaries Conference, University of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
  • 2006, Point of Departure: Jazz Dance, Jazz Music and Improvisation (Technique Class), National Dance Education Organization 8th Annual Conference, Long Beach, CA
  • 2006, Navigating the Culture of Higher Education (Panel), National Dance Education Organization 8th Annual Conference, Long Beach, CA
  • 2006, Point of Departure: Jazz Dance, Jazz Music and Improvisation (Workshop), International Conference on the Arts in Society, Edinburgh, Scotland
  • 2005, Active Citizenry: Improvisation, Jazz Dance, and the Creative Process (Workshop), National Dance Education Organization 7th Annual Conference, Buffalo, NY
  • 2005, Active Citizenry: Improvisation, Jazz Dance, and the Creative Process (Lecture), Performing The World 3, Tarrytown, NY

Professional Services

  • 2008-2010, Education Consultant/Curriculum Specialist, The Dance Institute of Washington Washington, DC
  • 2007, External Manuscript Reviewer,Human Kinetics Inc, Champaign IL
  • 2005, Adjudicator, Portage Country Gifted Assessment, Kent, Ohio
  • 2008-Present, Board of Directors, National Dance Education Organization
  • 2005-2008, Transfer Assurance Guide Sub-committee, Ohio Board of Regents

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