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#MeetTheArtistMonday | Meet Managing Director Melissa

Melissa Lineburg earned her BFA in Dance Performance with a Business Administration minor from Radford University in 2011 and, ever since, is dedicated to supporting the arts, specifically dance and its artists, through her work both on- and off-stage. Melissa works and performs with Ballet Embody, Misako Ballet Company, and Agora Dance. Off stage, she entered the arts administration world at Dance/USA and, currently, works for The Washington Ballet. Melissa holds a 200-hr Registered Yoga Teacher Certification and currently, due to the pandemic, teaching yoga in the virtual space, teaching a variety of clientele. Melissa is a Master's of Science: Nutrition student at the University of Bridgeport, and she is driven to working towards helping dance students and professionals manifest the healthiest food- and nutrition-related behaviors to perform at peak levels.



Favorite Food

Avocados + pineapple

Favorite Color

M&M green (commonly known as kelly green)

Favorite Book

Catcher in the Rye and mostly any nutrition/health and wellness book.

Favorite Movie

Disney's 1994 Beauty & the Beast

Inspiring Quote

"How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world." - Anne Frank

The 4-H motto is also something I live by: 'To make the best better.'

Favorite Music/Artist/Band/Genre

This very much depends on my mood, but some go-to favorites include The Killers, The Monkees, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Arcade Fire.

Favorite Place to Be

I aim to enjoy every present moment as much as I possibly can. I will never take for granted time spent in a studio, with my friends, or with my family.

If you were a dinosaur, what kind would you be?

That herbivore one with a really long neck. Something like Littlefoot.

Do you have any pets?

I don't, myself, have any pets. My parents have the bestest rescue Golden Doodle; her name is Lily. And I'm the proud aunt of my best friend's muttski, Mr. Clarence. In our apartment, I'm more of a plant mom. I have two spider plants, a succulent named Rosa, and a ZZ plant named ZZ Top - and I haven't killed any of them yet!

Tell us about your dance background and training:

I started dancing because I couldn't stop moving as a child and mom figured dance lessons was a great activity for me. Little did she know my career path would take me here! I started dancing at a little studio that was called the Charles Town Dance Studio in Charles Town, WV. And when I was 13, I decided I wanted more serious ballet training so I moved to the Frederick School of Classical Ballet. I also studied dance in college - after taking my first semester off and trying my hand as an art student. Training really never stops, though, and that's one of the things I love about ballet.

What genre of dance is your favorite? Why?

It's definitely a toss up between classical and contemporary ballet. I do love rolling around of the floor, exploring the limits, and pushing the boundaries of what my body is capable of. Especially as I've gotten older, learning more about and incorporating the science of physiology + anatomy has really helped to inform how my body moves best in space - helping both my contemporary movement and classical technique. And I'll never not love wearing tutus and tiaras.

What's your favorite full length ballet/performance/variation? Why?

I've actually never really watched full length classical ballets, and I find them quite boring anyway. I really like contemporary works I've seen performed by San Francisco Ballet, Complexions, The Black Iris Project, and mostly anything Balanchine. One of the cool things about living in DC (when we're not in a pandemic) is the vast amounts of dance that is presented at the Kennedy Center. Every other year they have a program called 'Ballet Across America' and I absolutely love going to watch these mixed rep bills that include companies of all sizes from across the US.

Why do you dance?

Dance is truly, in all ways, shapes, and forms my passion. That first semester of college I took away from dancing was definitely not a great time. I had also never not danced a day in my life, and I was caught by surprise how much I relied on movement for my physical and mental well-being. For me, ballet is something that you are always striving for and dancers of all levels are lifelong students. One of my peers in college offered advice to me that I've never forgotten, and it was something like: "Once you start dancing in the real world (after college) you approach it differently and your body moves differently - not in different-bad ways, just a manner you won't be used to." She couldn't fully explain it to me then, and I can't explain it fully now but I completely know what and how she was talking about.

If you wear pointe shoes, what kind do you wear?

I am super grateful to have had the opportunity to work with Freed of London to create my very own custom shoe. There's really no feeling like receiving a brand new pair that is customized to your needs AND has your name written on them, directly from your maker. I wear B maker, 8X Freed Classics with cut down sides and heels, extra paste on the box, I 2/3 the shank myself, and I absolutely love them.

What other jobs/activities/talents/passions do you pursue?

I'm definitely not someone who sits still for long periods of time (unless of course I'm balancing Ballet Embody's budget, scheduling social media posts, doing other admin work). I am pursuing a Masters degree in Nutrition and hope to open my own practice once all the exams, clinical hours, and certifications are obtained. So homework takes quite a bit of time. I also teach yoga and have transitioned that into the virtual space. I also enjoy cross training to keep my body strong, balanced, and healthy with Pilates, HIIT workouts, and weightlifting.

What are you looking forward to this season with Ballet Embody?

I am just so grateful to have the space and time for our company to be in-person creating work right now. We have a fun show being built, and I can't wait for our audiences to enjoy our dancing. Also, have I mentioned that our dancers are the absolute best! I love dancing, rehearsing, and just spending time with everyone.

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