Melissa Melpignano is a dance scholar and performer, currently teaching in the Department of Theater and Dance at The University of Texas at El Paso. After an intense career as a ballet and contemporary dancer in Europe, she moved to the U.S. and received her Ph.D. in Culture and Performance from UCLA. Her forthcoming book explores the relationship between ballet, textuality, gender, and coloniality in the eighteenth and nineteenth century, while her second book project deals with the stakes of dancing and choreographing in the context of Israel/Palestine. At UTEP, Dr. Melpignano teaches dance theory and history classes, as well as all levels of ballet, bringing in a 21st-century approach that values different legacies in ballet history and training while undoing elitist and hegemonic paradigms. Her classes are empowering, energetic, and rigorous at once, so to get the most out of each student's potential and goals.