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Episode 123 | From Dancer to Artistic Director: Melissa M. Young, Dallas Black Dance Theatre

Artistic Director of Dallas Black Dance Theatre (DBDT) Melissa M. Young joins Martheya to talk about her journey From Dancer to Artistic Director. They discuss career advice, building your artistic team, and how to share your choreography with repertory companies and book tours. (39:06)


[0:12] Martheya says welcome back


[0:28] Topic: Melissa’s Journey to Artistic Director

  • [0:28] Martheya asks: “Can you talk about how you became the Artistic Director of Dallas Black Dance Theatre?”

  • [2:49] Martheya asks: “What were some of the things you were curious about (when you were a dance for DBDT)?”

  • [6:16] Martheya asks: “Can you talk about the process of transitioning to artistic director?”

[8:22] Topic: Patience in the Process & Prevention

  • [8:22] Martheya asks: “What advice do you have for artists who want to take that jump and say yes but are afraid?”

  • [12:40] Martheya asks: “Could you talk about what your responsibilities look like (as the artistic director)?”

  • [18:35] Martheya asks: “Where should a dance artist who is starting their own company start?”

[20:12] Topic: Building Your Team & Sharing Your Choreography

  • [20:12] Martheya asks: “What are the traits and qualities you look for when looking for a team member or even auditioning dancers?”

  • [22:10] Martheya asks: “How do you assess that when auditioning new dancers?”

  • [25:06] Martheya asks: “Do you find the same to be true when selecting a choreographer or repertory for the company?”

  • [26:40] Martheya asks: “Do you interview choreographers?”

  • [28:03] Martheya asks: “For emerging choreographers who want to set work on repertory companies where do you suggest they start?”

  • [30:32] Martheya asks: “Do you find the same advice to be true when choreographers are wanting to tour their work?”

Questions from kNOwBOX dance Archive

  • [33:29] Martheya asks: “Do you think social media is influencing the dance world? If so, how does it influence your work?”

  • [34:13] Martheya asks: “How do you say NO to the BOX?”

[34:55] Martheya asks:

1- If you had to recommend a resource to our audience what would it be?

[35:11] Martheya asks:

2- What was the first dance you saw?

[35:27] Martheya asks:

3- Do you think social media has a positive influence on the dance world (yes or no)?

  • Yes

[35:34] Martheya asks:

4- What is your favorite social media platform?

  • YouTube

Recommended Resources:

Connect with Melissa M. Young & Dallas Black Dance Theatre

Melissa M. Young is a Honduran American from Santa Ana, California. She is in her twenty-ninth season with Dallas Black Dance Theatre. She trained at Canada’s National Ballet School, The Ailey School, and Amsterdam University of the Arts. Melissa was an adjunct instructor at Southern Methodist University, Texas Woman’s University, and Abilene Christian University. She is a Business Council for the Arts 2022 Leadership Arts Institute Class graduate, a member of the International Association of Blacks in Dance, Inc., and holds Professional Certifications for Leadership and Management from Michigan State University. Melissa has been presented with various awards for her contributions to dance.

Headshot by Brian Guilliaux

Melissa M. Young Teaching

Photo by Sharen Bradford

Photo by Sharen Bradford

Photo by Sharen Bradford


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