Melissa Melpignano

Fox Fine Arts Center
El Paso Texas, 79968
Phone Logo(915) 747-5146
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Melissa Melpignano
Lecturer, Theatre and Dance - Chicano Studies

Melissa Melpignano, Ph.D., is a dance scholar and practitioner who researches the stakes of dancing and choreographing in contested regions and border areas, with a particular focus on Israel/Palestine (the topic of her second book project) and contexts under temporary or long-term states of emergency. Her research examines how dance and choreography contribute to theorizations of conflict from a political, social, and economic standpoint. More specifically, her work assesses how dancing, dance-making, and dance labor shape ideas of shared responsibility and livability.Dr. Melpignano's interdisciplinary work at large investigates how dance theorizations intersect with discourses on ethics, biopolitics, nationalisms, critical theory, and moral philosophy. She has a forthcoming book on textuality, gender, and coloniality in 18th and 19th c. ballet literature. She obtained a Ph.D. in Culture and Performance from UCLA, an MA in Italian and European Studies from the University of Lugano (CH), a BA (Summa cum Laude) from the University of Venice (IT), and a BA(Hons) in Contemporary Dance from the University of Kent. Dr. Melissa Melpignano is also a performer, dramaturg, curator, and educator with professional experience in Europe, Mexico, the Middle East, and in the U.S. She serves on the Board of the Dance Studies Association, and at UTEP she is the Interim Director of Dance and a full-time lecturer. Dr. Melpignano is passionate about novels that get to the essence of human feelings/feeling human, her once-glorious soccer team, house music and culture, and social justice.


  1. Dance
  2. Performance
  3. Ethics
  4. Border
  5. Conflict
  6. COVID-19