Languages, Literatures and Cultures
Arts and Science
Research interests: Dance and music (specifically Afro-Latin and Caribbean genres); Cuban Studies; Afro-Cuban Folklore; Body Politics; Transcultural Studies; Embodied Knowledge Practices/Expressive Communication
Ph. D. (ABD) in Cultural Studies, Queen's University
M. A. (Dance), York University, 2012
B.F.A. (Dance) with Honours, York University, 2006
Before coming to Queen's in 2019, Melissa was a full-time dancer and independent ethnographer in Toronto. Her eclectic career has spanned across commercial, academic and artistic settings allowing her to accumulate a wide range of experience. She has performed with dance companies that have presented work in Nigeria, Brazil and Cuba and has shared her research at Duke University, University of the West Indies (Barbados), and in Havana.
Between 2006 and 2014 Melissa also held multiple teaching assistantships and course directorships at York University. Since arriving to Queen's in 2019, Melissa has been a teaching assistant for Hips Don't Lie?, SPAN 111 (online), and Cuban Culture and Society. She has also had the privilege of working with the ACSA dance team for the past two years.
In the classroom, Melissa draws on her experiences as an artist and practitioner in order to encourage student participation, making learning accessible and meaningful.
SPAN 111 (Fall 2021 and Winter 2022)
Teaching Assistance Hips Don't Lie? (Winter 2022)