Melanie George

Educator, Choreographer, Dramaturg, Scholar

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JAZZ IS… DANCE PROJECT is dedicated to the dissemination of jazz dance education, choreography, performance, and scholarship. Founded in 2012, Jazz Is… Dance Project seeks to widen the palette and visibility of jazz dance beyond the most immediate and contemporary forms and venues. Inspired by the democratic nature of jazz music, a uniquely American art form, Jazz Is… Dance Project values improvisation, stylization, and humanity in jazz dance, honoring the roots and fruits of jazz in the classroom, in the studio, and on stage.

I see my embrace of neo-jazz, a historically informed jazz style, as a radical act in both the commercial and concert dance worlds. I mine the riff, embrace the shed, cultivate the groove, and seek the pocket.  My willingness to be rhythmic, weighted, and vernacular is purposely perpendicular to the predisposition of valuing modern and contemporary dance over other forms.

A glimpse into Jazz Is... Dance Project's The Woodshed. Video by Shannon Braine.

"Her work is distinctly different within the contemporary dance landscape but familiar because it resonates like a shared memory, Melanie’s aesthetic has the power to educate, transport, and inspire all at once.”   

– Lindsay Guarino, Co-Editor of

Jazz Dance: A History of the Roots and Branches

Jazz Is.. Dance Project performance highlight reel. Video by Gracie Corapi.

"Melanie utilizes socio-political-cultural context as a point of departure for concert choreography that embodies the spirit and aesthetics of jazz music and dance. She swings from the inside out!"    

Professor Karen Hubbard, University of North Carolina Charlotte            

A behind the scenes look at the Jazz Is... Dance Project aesthetic through the staging of "Jazz Is... (redux)" on the American University Dance Company. Video by Gracie Corapi.

“By bringing attention to existence and influence of historically informed jazz in the dance field, George honors the living continuum of jazz dance.”

Karen Schupp, Associate Editor of the Journal of Dance Education

For further information email