Melissa moved to Sydney from Adelaide in 1997 on a scholarship from the Australian College of Entertainment where she discovered a deeper love for making work rather than performing. Teaching more than 20,000 dancers and making 80 works for young people was a 20 year love affair with pushing boundaries in the educational system for primary, secondary and tertiary students. Lifting the profile of theatre dance, developing a tertiary curriculum and being the first teacher to introduce Musical Theatre as a subject at NSW Education Department Ensemble in 2001.
She retired from choreographing and producing work for young artists in 2011; a forced retirement when her body completely broke down. Little did she know, her body was incubating cancer, pelvic floor dyssynergia (dancer’s disease) and Hashimoto’s disease.
During the acute phase of cancer treatment, her body couldn’t walk, but it could dance. The dance is different now. It is about un-choreographing. Undoing all of the unhealthy habits.
Melissa Stefano is a Creative Visionary. Alchemising the coexistence of artistic exploration and personal transformation for artists, while realising and readying works for amplification on a global stage.
Melissa is UNDOING the dance industry one dancer at a time, refining why dancers want to become dancers and why artists want to be artists. With the skills of a professional certified intuitive and performance coach and 10 years of study in human behaviour, Melissa is back to merge an unchoreographed approach to dance underpinned by positive psychology. Less interested in developing work that is choreographed and more interested in producing work where the dancers are asked questions about their life experiences and they respond with their - dance. An emotional unfolding on stage, where the dancers literally have a breakthrough as a result of their own exploration.
Melissa un-choreographs the dancer’s (artist’s) brain, showing them how to connect their brain to their own bodies or their craft in unique ways… not as the response to the dance, or the music but as the response to the language of mind.
UN-CHOREOGRAPHING is not improvisation.
It is NOT dancing to respond to music or emotion - it is COACHING THE BRAIN, to COACH THE BODY, towards a personal breakthrough.
It is not conscious or unconscious dance - it is simply allowing the body or the artist's heart to respond to deep questions.