Jodi Melnick is a NYC based choreographer, dancer, and teacher. She graduated from SUNY Purchase with a BFA in Dance. Melnick is part of the first group of Doris Duke Impact Award recipients, a 2012 Guggenheim Fellow, the recipient of the Jerome Robbins New Essential Works Grant (2010-2011) and the Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grant (2011), and has been honored with two Bessie Awards for sustained achievement in dance (2001 and 2008).
Melnick's work has been presented both nationally and internationally. Most recently her Moment Marigold (October 2014) premiered at BAM's Fisher theater as part of the Next Wave Festival. Her work has also been presented at City Center’s Fall for Dance, The Joyce Theater, New York Live Arts (NYLA), The Kitchen, La Mama, Jacob’s Pillow, American Dance Festival, Martha’s Vineyard, OtherShore Dance Company, Barnard College, Sarah Lawrence College, George Washington University, Taryn Griggs (2014 Mcknight awardee), DanceBox in Kansai, Japan, the Dublin Dance Festival, Belfast, Ireland, St. Petersburg and Moscow, Russia, and Tallinn, Estonia.
In 2012 Melnick collaborated with Trisha Brown, on the solo One of Sixty Five Thousand Gestures. Her work Fanfare, with set décor by Burt Barr, was chosen as one of TIMEOUT New York’s ‘Best in Dance’ 2009. In 2007 she collaborated with John Jasperse and Becky Hilton to create Becky, Jodi, and John, which was chosen by the New York Times as one of the top five dance gems of 2007, and as one of the 2008 highlights of the coming year. She has also collaborated with choreographer David Neumann on JULY and Jon Kinzel and Vicky Shick on The Apple Narrative.
Melnick has worked with choreographers and dance artists including, Twyla Tharp (1990-1994, 2009) and Mikhail Baryshnikov (2005-2008), Tere O’connor, Donna Uchizono, Yoshiko Chuma, Liz Roche, Irene Hultman, Dennis O’Connor, Lance Gries, Yves Musard, Patricia Hoffbauer, and Russell Dumas. She continues to perform and collaborate with Sara Rudner, Vicky Shick, Susan Rethorst, John Jasperse, Jon Kinzel and Kyle Bukhari. Melnick was assistant director to Trisha Brown creating and re-staging two operas; Schubert’s Winterreise and Scrainno’s De Gelo a Gelo. In 2004 she worked with choreographer Joachim Schloemer, composer Olga Neuwirth, and nobel-prize winning playwright and novelist Elfriede Jenilek, to create her role singing mezzo soprano in David Lynch’s opera based on his film Lost Highway. She has also performed in the video and film works of Burt Barr, Charles Atlas, Davis Michalek and most recently, Jillian Pena.
As a teacher, Melnick has taught master classes, technique, improvisation, and composition workshops throughout the US, Europe, Australia, and Asia. Currently, she is an adjunct professor of dance at Barnard College at Columbia University, New York University in the Experimental Theater Wing, and The Trevor Day School.
I am a choreographer, dancer, collaborator, and teacher. I design intricate movement to explore the exquisite nature and dynamic relationships between human beings. My dance language can be quietly nuanced and pedestrian, at times wild and reckless, flooded with imagery, accumulating into dramatic content unmistakably constructed through choreographic means. I use the profound expression of the dancing body and my lucid performing instincts to drive the creative process. The work is transformed through the phenomenon of dancing; it comes into being through the dancing of it. I create work that occupies a position somewhere between written and spoken language, a living text, a series of moving ciphers. I do this because my desires to express the possibilities and uniqueness of human interactions, for me, can only be realized through performing and dance making. This is how I give voice to the full range of my thoughts, feelings, and physical self. This is how I connect with people outside my environment, individually, and on a larger scale.