Associate Artistic Director

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Melissa M. Young

Associate Artistic Director

Melissa is a Honduran-American from Santa Ana, California. She attended Orange Coast College with a focus in Business Administration. She is a graduate of The Ailey School in New York City. She trained in three of their programs: Summer Intensive, Certificate Program and Fellowship. During her Fellowship studies, she was selected to train as an exchange student at Amsterdam School of the Arts (de Theaterschool) in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Overall, her professional training includes: Ballet, Modern (Horton and Graham), and Jazz techniques, as well as West African dance.


This marks Melissa’s twenty first season with Dallas Black Dance Theatre. She danced with the main company (1994-2005), was the Academy Director for Dallas Black Dance Academy (2012-2014) and serves as the Associate Artistic Director and Rehearsal Director (2005-present). Her most notable performances include: The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors in New York City, and for the U.S. Ambassadors to Ireland and Zimbabwe.  She has restaged and rehearsed the diverse repertoire of DBDT, which spans over 70 ballets. She was an Assistant to the Choreographers, Hope Clarke for the Dallas Opera’s “Porgy and Bess” (2009) and Christopher L. Huggins for Dallas Theater Center’s production of “The Wiz” (2011).


Teaching master classes both nationally and internationally, Melissa specializes in the Dance Technique of Lester Horton. She has been the Company Horton Technique Instructor for Dallas Black Dance Theatre since 1998. As an Adjunct Instructor, she taught the Horton Technique at Dallas’ Southern Methodist University in 2004 and Texas Woman’s University in Denton from 2005-2008. She was on faculty (Horton Technique) at Ballet Center of Fort Worth in 2013-2014. In 2014, Melissa was the Visiting Dance Artist for Abilene Christian University’s Department of Theatre. She taught ballet, modern and lyrical jazz techniques. This season she will be on faculty for Dallas Youth Repertory Project. Melissa is licensed to teach Zumba® and teaches weekly classes at MoveStudio. Through teaching and directing, Melissa’s mission is to educate and navigate individuals toward building creative and healthful habits which will allow for enjoying a confident and fulfilling lifestyle.


Melissa has served as an advisory panelist for City of Dallas/Office of Cultural Affairs, Young Audiences of Dallas, Texas Commission on the Arts and Arkansas Arts Council, as well as serving as a board member for the Dance Council of North Texas from 2010-2013. In 2000, she was presented with The Dancer’s Award for her artistic excellence and dedication to Dallas Black Dance Theatre. She was chosen as one of “The Talented Tenth” by The Dallas Weekly in 2010, for being a Young and Emerging Leader. In November 2014, she received an Award of Recognition from the South Dallas Dance Festival for her service to dance.

Photo by: Brian Guilliaux