Throughout her career Melanie Stewart has actively linked her professional work as a performer, choreographer, director and producer to her academic career as a Professor of Theatre and Dance and now Associate Dean of Performing Arts at Rowan University. From 1983-2015 she was the Artistic Director of Melanie Stewart Dance Theatre producing over 50 original works of dance and movement driven theatre for the concert stage, in dance/film/video, and in education, both nationally and abroad. She holds two degrees in dance; a B.A. in dance at Webster College and an M.F.A. in Choreography/Performance from Temple University.
As a critically acclaimed choreographer and director, her awards include numerous fellowships from The National Endowment for the Arts, Dance Advance/Pew Charitable Trusts, and The Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. She is a Leigh Gerdine Distinguished Alumna Award winner from Webster University, a recent nominee for USA Artist’s Fellowship and a 2016 New Jersey State Arts Council Interdisciplinary Arts Fellow. Stewart has conducted numerous teaching residencies nationally and abroad including, Sacramento State University, Dennison University, Bryn Mawr College, University of the Arts, The University of Ulster in Northern Ireland and Rowan’s Study Abroad Program in London.
Presently, she is developing and teaching Theatre Improvisation for medical students at The School of Osteopathic Medicine, Dance and Medicine at Cooper Medical School and Performance Technique at Rowan University. Last October she presented her research “The Role of Theatre Improvisation in Osteopathic Medical Education” at The National Conference on Osteopathic Medicine in Orlando Florida with Dr. Aubrey Olson.
Finally, Stewart is a recognized producer on the Edinburgh, New York and Philadelphia Fringe Arts Festivals. From 2003-2011 she devoted much of her producing efforts to the award winning nEW Festival, a dance driven, artist fueled choreographers residency program at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. She is now focusing her efforts on Creative Placemaking planning and projects in Glassboro, NJ.
I am an artist who creates darkly absurd movement driven theatre focusing on the nuanced, weird and vulnerable side of American culture. Through the integration of movement, text, and image I investigate the ability of the body to carry meaning in original narratives. My work strives to reveal the emotional under currents that drive the body to action, resulting in performance works that are often ironic and intensely human.