Grant Recipients Grants to Artists Dance 2011

Jodi Melnick

A portrait of Jodi Melnick in front of a light grey background. She has medium length curly auburn hair which is blown out behind her and wears a black shirt.
Photo by Jana Chiellino.

Firstly, to have been recognized as both a choreographer and dancer is extremely meaningful and indeed an honor. For me, the roles are synonymous. I remain deeply dedicated to my performing and collaborative experiences with other choreographers as well as the continued development of my own choreographic vision… This last year, the money received with the FCA grant help foster my ability to transverse the two.

- Jodi Melnick, December 2011

Biography

Jodi Melnick is a choreographer, dancer, and teacher whose work has been presented both nationally and internationally. Her Moment Marigold (2014) premiered at Brooklyn Academy of Music's Fisher Theater as part of the Next Wave Festival. Her work has also been presented at New York City Center's Fall for Dance, The Joyce Theater, New York Live Arts, The Kitchen, La Mama E.T.C., Jacob's Pillow, American Dance Festival, OtherShore Dance Company, Barnard College, Sarah Lawrence College, and George Washington University.

Melnick has worked with choreographers and dance artists including Twyla Tharp, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Tere O'ConnorDavid Neumann, 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 ShickSusan RethorstJohn Jasperse, and Jon Kinzel. In 2007 Melnick collaborated with John Jasperse and Becky Hilton to create Becky, Jodi, and John, and in 2012, Melnick collaborated with Trisha Brown on the FCA-supported solo One of Sixty Five Thousand Gestures.

Melnick was assistant director to Trisha Brown creating and restaging two operas, Franz Schubert's Winterreise and Salvatore 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, and with Jillian Peña.

Following her 2011 Grants to Artists, Melnick received a received a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship (2012), and a Doris Duke Impact Award (2014). Following her FCA support, Melnick received two New York Dance and Performance "Bessie" Awards for sustained achievement in dance (2001, 2008), and a Jerome Robbins New Essential Works Grant (2010-2011).

As a teacher, Melnick has taught master classes, technique, improvisation, and composition workshops throughout the U.S., Europe, Australia, and Asia. Currently, she is an adjunct professor of dance at New York University in the Experimental Theater Wing, Barnard College, and The Trevor Day School. She graduated from SUNY Purchase with a BFA in Dance (1985).

Artist Statement

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.

- December 2014

Person with loose red hair wearing a reflective silver jacket and brown pants leaps with one leg bent backwards and one extended forwards, raising their arms in an L-shape and looking outwards.
Performance still from FCA-supported Solo, Deluxe Version, 2011. Photo by Alex Escalante.
Two persons standing in pitch black stage, their bodies slightly illuminated, strike poses by bending an arm towards their face and looking sideways.
Performance still from FCA-supported Solo, Deluxe Version, 2011. Photo by Alex Escalante.
Performer faces away and extends one leg forward in relevé on the left side of a black-lit stage with a silver drum set in the right corner.
Performance still from FCA-supported Solo, Deluxe Version, 2011. Photo by Alex Escalante.
Performer facing away, tilting back their head,bending one knee, and holding their arms above and to the side in right-angles on a black-lit stage.
Performance still from FCA-supported Solo, Deluxe Version, 2011. Photo by Alex Escalante.
Excerpt from FCA-supported Solo, Deluxe Version, 2011.
Performer on a dark stage wearing a flowy wine colored dress looks in the direction of their leg extended straight ahead and holds one bent arm parallel and the other resting at their side.
Performance still from FCA-supported One of Sixty Five Thousand Gestures, 2012. Photo by Alex Escalante.
Performer wearing a flowy wine colored dress sweeps one leg behind them and curves one arm upwards, creating a crescent shape with their body on a gray stage with an ink black backdrop.
Performance still from FCA-supported One of Sixty Five Thousand Gestures, 2012. Photo by Alex Escalante.
Performer wearing a flowy wine colored dress creates a triangle-shape by raising one pointed toe to their bent knee and looking down at the floor of a gray stage with a pitch black backdrop.
Performance still from FCA-supported One of Sixty Five Thousand Gestures, 2012. Photo by Alex Escalante.
Moment Marigold, 2014.