Melissa West is an independent mover/choreographer/poet and activist based in Staten Island, NY. Originally a student of the Staten Island Ballet, Melissa holds dual degrees in Dance and English from Hunter College. She also holds a Masters in Performance Studies from New York University. Melissa West has studied contemporary dance at Movement Research, The Limón Institute, and The Yard. In 2012, she was a recipient of the Premier Grant in Choreography and the Excellence in the Arts Award, both funded by the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs through Staten Island Arts. Since 2008, her work has been presented throughout NYC at venues including the Atlantic Salt Factory, Snug Harbor Cultural Center/Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art, The Living Theater, Triskelion Arts, Queens Museum, The Brick Theater, The Greenbelt Nature Center, and the Bowery Poetry Club. West was a resident artist at the Curiosity Project Pop-Up Space commissioned by Staten Island Arts (2013), and Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden (2014) where she received the Edward and Sally Van Lier Fellowship. She is a 2016 CUNY Dance Initiative artist in residence at the College of Staten Island.
Melissa West was the organizing director for Second Saturday Staten Island Art Walk from 2013-2015. She presently manages the Marketing & Communications for Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden. As a curator, West has facilitated dance-based installations at the Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art, Art Lab, Inc., Hunter College, the Bowery Poetry Club, and other venues.
Publication credits include The Gorilla Press, Martha’s Vineyard Arts and Ideas, Examined Media Online and NYSAI’s Flushed.
Artist Statement: i am interested in work that investigates the body’s relationship to spatial and sonic environments. this includes work for stage and work for film; this also includes work in alternative landscapes, particularly underutilized spaces. my intent is to create work that is both visceral and rigorous, connecting the mind-body to the contexts of nature, history, and art that frame it.