The Choreographer

 

Picture this – you pull on your first leotard and tights at the age of 6 to attend your first dance class and that’s it – you know what you’re doing for the rest of your life.

Meet Melissa Lanham. Over the past forty years, Melissa has dedicated her life to dance in one form or another. This is dedication and passion, two things this force of nature has in abundance. When we meet to talk about her working life, I am struck by her obvious love, not only for the project she creates but also for every single person involved to make that project happen.

Choreography is where her great love lies. When I asked her where she gets her ideas, she replied that for her, it begins with the creation of dialogue – looking at different avenues until there is a common thread so there are strong connections within the story.

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“Performance art needs to affect you, you need to be able to immerse yourself in and feel the emotions of the people on the stage. Good live theatre does that. It moves you – good or bad.” In 2017 that performance art was a school project. FURY involved 7 schools, 90 dancers – many of who were not trained – and am incredibly dedicated team to bring together an hour-long performance piece in the round. 
As for working with all those kids? 
“ Working with kids is fantastic. They’re sponges.” Working with kids may well be fantastic, but the highlight of her career so far, would have to be VINCENT. Vincent is a dance theatre work based on the life
of the artistic genius that was Vincent Van Gogh and his relationship with his brother Theo.

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