Christian Matijas-Mecca

Professor and Chair of Dance


A first-generation university student and the first Latino chair of the Department of Dance, Christian Matijas-Mecca, throughout his career, has strived to expand and diversify the educational experience for all students. With a focus on multi-level collaborations and an extensive career working inside/outside the traditional boxes of education and creativity, he developed the theory of the “Kinesthetic Fingerprint” which has enabled him to train several musicians now working with leading dance companies and company schools across the country.

A researcher and pianist in the area of dance and music studies, Christian Matijas-Mecca has served as musical repetiteur in the staging of dances by Balanchine, Humphrey, Graham, Weidman, Taylor, and Lubovitch, and has accompanied for directors and artists from the New York City Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, Cullberg Ballet, Mark Morris Dance Group, Martha Graham Dance Company, Paul Taylor Dance Company, Trisha Brown Dance Company, Miami City Ballet, and many others. Other stage projects include the Dance Legacy Project (co-directed with UM faculty colleague Jillian Hopper), a restaging of George Balanchine’s 1923 work, Marche Funebre (with Dr. Elizabeth Kattner and the dancers from Grand Rapids Ballet) and collaborating with director Robert Benedetti on two productions of Marc Blitzstein’s play, The Cradle Will Rock. Matijas-Mecca has composed works for dance that include a commissioned score for the Alvin Ailey Dance Company, Existence Without Form (2006), and has produced albums of his compositions: Standing Alone: Works for Solo Piano by Phillip Carout (1999), Suites for Dance: Works for Cello and Piano, by Phillip Carout (2001), Music for Modern Dance (2007), and Na Razie, Bez Ciebie (2008). In addition, he produced Etoile Solo Ballet Variations (2006).

Matijas-Mecca’s research interests have expanded to include popular music studies and he has authored The Words and Music of Brian Wilson (Praeger, 2016), and Listen to Psychedelic Rock! Understanding the Music from The Beatles to Frank Zappa (Greenwood, 2020). He now is researching soul music in Detroit between the years of 1968-78, focused on Invictus, Hot Wax, and Music Merchant Records, labels founded by Holland-Dozier-Holland following their departure from Motown. In addition, he is researching the music of influential English songwriter and performer, the late Kirsty MacColl.

Matijas-Mecca has presented papers at professional societies in England, Ireland, Finland, France, Taiwan, Canada, and the United States and has also been a speaker at London’s Royal Academy of Dance. In 2011, he was invited to present a lecture-recital at the Jane Austen House and Museum in Chawton, England, where he performed a selection of music drawn from Austen’s personal music library on the author’s 1810 Clementi piano.

A native of Los Angeles, Matijas-Mecca earned undergraduate and graduate degrees at the University of Southern California, where he studied piano under Bernardo Segall and harpsichord and early music performance under James Tyler and Malcolm Hamilton.

“Christian is an excellent musician. Am sure George would approve.” – Maria Tallchief

Selected Publications

Matijas-Mecca, Christian. “Listen to Psychedelic Rock!: Exploring a Musical Genre.” Book. Exploring Musical Genres. Santa Barbara, California: Greenwood, an imprint of ABC-CLIO LLC, 2020.

Matijas-Mecca, Christian. “The Words and Music of Brian Wilson.” Book. Praeger Singer-Songwriter Collection. Santa Barbara, California: Praeger, 2017.

Audio Recordings

Matjias, Christian, Na Razie, bez Ciebie. Omelette Pan Productions, 2008. Compact Disc and Streaming Audio.

Matjias, Christian, Music for Modern Dance. With Glenn Bering. Behind Barres, 2007. Compact Disc.

Matjias, Christian, Etoile Solo Ballet Variations. Logokinesis, 2006. Compact Disc and Streaming.

Matjias, Christian, Suites for Dance: Works for Cello and Piano. With Crispin Campbell and Chris Peck. Omelette Pan Productions, 2001. Compact Disc and Streaming.

Matjias, Christian, Standing Alone: Works for Solo Piano. Omelette Pan Productions, 1999.

Updated on: 2/12/24