Melissa Wynn is a teacher, choreographer, performer and Co-Artistic Director of Dangerous Lorraines DanceTheater. Originally from San Jose, California, she received her BFA in Dance from The Juilliard School and her MFA in Theatre and Dance with an emphasis in Choreography from the University of California, Davis. She has received additional training at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center and Dance Theater of Harlem among a variety of other training workshops, conferences and master classes.
Wynn’s choreography has been presented in New York at the Danspace Project (at St. Mark’s Church), Dixon Place, and Long Island University; in Davis, California at the Veteran’s Memorial Theater, the University Club, and at the Robert and Magrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts; and in Texas at Sam Houston State University, Texas State University – San Marcos, DiverseWorks and the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts in Houston. Her interdisciplinary choreography has intrigued and inspired audiences. Her quartet Desire to Take Flight. performed by The Dangerous Lorraines, was selected to be presented both by the Fort Worth Contemporary Dance Festival and as part of the Dance Houston Does Houston showcase of up & coming choreographers.
Her most recent work for The Dangerous Lorraines, entitled Walk was the featured dance company in Huntsville’s 1st Utopia Arts Extravaganza as well as a guest company in the Rednerrus Feil Dance Company concert in Houston. Now Co-Directed with choreographer Lorelei Bayne, Dangerous Lorraines DanceTheater is a 2008-2009 Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission grant recipient.
As a performer Wynn has worked with a variety of artists and professional dance companies in both the Bay Area and in New York City where she resided for 17 years. Companies and choreographers she has chosen to work with have all experimented with breaking the boundaries and definitions of dance (or theatre) on some level, and include Bobbie Wynn and Company (San Jose, CA), Bonnie McNeely (Davis, CA), Ellen Webb (Oakland, CA), the Stanley Love Performance Group (New York), Works/Laura Glenn Dance (New York), Nina Winthrop and Dancers (New York), ShŠm Mosher’s Hybridium (New York), Reggie Wilson’s Fist and Heel Performance Group (New York), the theater group John Kelly and Company (New York), Cynthia Oliver’s SHEMAD (New York), the BESSIE award-winning Bebe Miller Company (New York), and most recently with choreographer Della Davidson in Sideshow Physical Theater (Davis, CA).
She was a founding member of Rent choreographer Marlies Yearby’s Movin’ Spirits Dance Theatre as well as of Sarah Skaggs Dance with whom she danced for five years; and has been nominated for a New York Dance and Performance (a.k.a. BESSIE) Award on more than one occasion.
Throughout her experiences with this extensive variety of performance groups, Wynn has spent the past decade in quest of a connection between the rhythmic and cultural influences of the African American modern dance traditions with the experimental traditions of contemporary European-American post-modern and dance/theater performance forms. Her quest has led her to work with a variety of African American choreographers who, like herself, were seeking to expand the definition of what it means to be an African American modern dancer in the 21st Century. In her classes as well as in her choreography, Wynn continues to recognize and challenge a wide range of stereotypes while committing to the continuous investigation of moving away from the necessarily expected movement style of any specific categorization.