Faculty & Staff Profiles

Missy Beck

Lecturer of Dance

Missy Beck   is on a perpetual quest to develop anatomically sound ballet techniques and to encourage dancers to move with thoughtful efficiency for maximum output with minimum effort. She is invested in training the next generation of dance teachers and arming them with knowledge and permission to question harmful current modes of training  and seek out  pedagogical best practices to replace them. Teaching the whole student and not just the body is an integral part of that process as is teaching dancers to use self-reflective practice as agency in their training and their health, To this end, she and her research partner Nicola Conraths, Director of Artistic Studies at Walnut Hill School for the Arts, have created an embodied lecture series  and movement workshops  entitled: Teaching dance anatomy, injury prevention, and rehabilitation as a non-scientist in the ballet class. They have presented  research from this series at the International Association of Dance Medicine and Science (IADMS) and National Dance Educators’ Organization (NDEO) conferences,  several universities, high schools, dance studios and conferences and garnered an invite from Performing Arts Medicine Conference (PAMA).

As a Lecturer of Dance at the University of California Irvine, Beck taught pedagogy in the Dance MFA program. Beck’s extensive teaching career also includes the Paul Taylor Summer Intensive, Interlochen Arts Camp, Arts Unlimited: A Lincoln Center Institute, Wolftrap Ohio, the University of Toledo, and Hillsdale College where she pioneered dance courses in the curriculum and the student dance company Tower Dancers.  Beck has served as an adjudicator for multiple events and organizations including the Ohio Dance Festival presented by the Ohio Dance Council, Flint ACT-SO Dance Competition and the annual middle school monologue competition at Detroit Public Schools in partnership with Mosaic Arts. In 2019, she joined the team of adjudicators for the inaugural Cecchetti Council of America’s Classical Ballet Competition.

Beck is the 2006 recipient of the Maggie Allesee New Choreography Award (Michigan Dance Council).  The winning work was her haunting minimalist solo The Yellow Wallpaper.  Reviews of Beck’s choreography highlight her use of movement to evoke strong emotional states in the viewer.  In her Dance Magazine review, Kate O”Neill  said “the audience felt very much part of [the] collaboration. The bond seemed particularly strong in… Melissa Beck’s [solo].  Beck created a simple, almost stark movement vocabulary for this dance…but infused it with glowing romanticism.”  (October 2003)   Stephanie Rieke of the  Ann Arbor News said  “Guest choreographer Melissa Beck contributed a tour de force solo titled Tuberose…subtle and exquisite… this entrancing piece could easily have been have been sustained without music – the mark of bravura choreography.”

In addition to concert dance, Beck has choreographed for opera, theatre, and musical theatre productions. She has had the pleasure of working with renowned directors Robert Benedetti (The Cradle Will Rock) and Nicolette Molnar (Jackie O) and Joan Morris (cabaret productions)  has been commissioned to create works for the Bates Dance Festival: Youth Arts Program, several university and high school dance programs, Chamber Music Ann Arbor, as well as multiple productions for University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance,

Bio last updated November 2021


AA (English), College of the Canyons
BA (English), University of Michigan
MFA (dance and choreography), University of Michigan

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