Melissa Melpignano is a dance scholar and practitioner who researches the stakes of dancing and choreographing in contested regions and border areas. She received her Ph.D. in Culture and Performance from UCLA, with a dissertation entitled “Choreographing Livability: Dance Epistemes in the Kibbutz and in the Israel Defense Forces,” which constitutes the basis of her next book project on how dancing bodies and choreographic outputs in different sites of performance have informed specific conceptualizations of livability in Israel/Palestine. Dr. Melpignano has a forthcoming book on gender, performativity, coloniality, and textuality in eighteenth and nineteenth century ballet literature with the prestigious European publisher Olschki. She has a forthcoming essay in the Oxford Handbook of Jewishness and Dance in Contemporary Perspective (OUP), in The Encyclopedia of Jewish Women, and in the new edition of 50 Contemporary Choreographers (Routledge). Her scholarly writings also appear or are forthcoming in Dance Research Journal, Dance Chronicle, and liminalities. She has an MA in Italian Studies with a focus on dance literature from the University of Lugano (Switzerland), a BA (Summa cum Laude) in Performance Studies from the University of Venice, Ca’ Foscari (Italy), and a BA(Hons) in Contemporary Dance from the London Contemporary Dance School/University of Kent (UK). In 2014, she was awarded the Selma Jeanne Cohen Award from the Society of Dance History Scholars, and she currently serves as a Board member of the Dance Studies Association. As a performer, dramaturg, dance maker, facilitator, and educator, Dr. Melpignano has worked extensively in Los Angeles, in Europe, in the Middle East, and in Mexico. At UTEP, she teaches classes in dance theory and history, dance appreciation, and all levels of ballet, and also serves as the Director of the Capstone Program.