Photo by Heather McBride.

Melissa Strong

Contributor

BSR Contributor Since December 18, 2017

Melissa Strong (she/her pronouns) is an English professor at Community College of Philadelphia and the author of American Lit Remixed. She writes about dance, film, and other arts. Learn more on her website.

Melissa Strong (she/her) is a Philadelphia-based writer and professor who studied dance for more than 10 years. She shares dance critic/historian Lynne Garafola’s belief that dance is “a conversation… between the spectator and the artist,” and that critics help mediate this conversation. A scholar of American literature and culture, Melissa is the author of American Lit Remixed: Music in Twenty-First-Century American Literature (Lexington Books, 2021). She writes about the arts for Broad Street Review and about film for Moviejawn. An English professor at Community College of Philadelphia, Melissa has a Ph.D. in English from the University of California, Davis. Learn more on her website.

By this Author

105 results
Page 1
The beauty of synchrony: the ensemble of Meredith Rainey’s ‘Spillway.’ (Photo by Alexander Iziliaev.)

The Pennsylvania Ballet presents ‘Beauty’

A spring dance sampler

Pennsylvania Ballet offers elegance, emotion, and synchrony in world premieres by Russell Ducker, Meredith Rainey, and Juliano Nunes choreographed to the music of Jennifer Higdon. Melissa Strong reviews.
Melissa Strong

Melissa Strong

Reviews 4 minute read
A beautifully devastating performance: Kai Rapelyea performs with Rennie Harris Puremovement. (Image courtesy of the Annenberg.)

The Annenberg Center presents Rennie Harris Puremovement

An embodied history for our times

Rennie Harris Puremovement offers embodied history for our times in a livestreamed performance from the Annenberg. Melissa Strong reviews.
Melissa Strong

Melissa Strong

Reviews 4 minute read
Questioning the bounds of fantasy and reality: ‘A Modern-Day Carmen Fantasy.’ (Image courtesy of the Philadelphia Orchestra.)

The Philadelphia Orchestra and Brian Sanders’ JUNK present ‘A Modern-Day Carmen Fantasy’

Masking modern moves

‘A Modern-Day Carmen Fantasy’ reunites the Philadelphia Orchestra with Brian Sanders’ JUNK for an innovative concert with movement for home viewers. Melissa Strong reviews.
Melissa Strong

Melissa Strong

Reviews 4 minute read
Taylor Mac is resplendent in a show that urges us to find sustenance in our chosen families. (Photo by Little Fang.)

StanfordLive presents ‘Taylor Mac’s Holiday Sauce… Pandemic!’

Reality, divinity, nativity

2020 Ibsen Award-winner Taylor Mac celebrates the dysfunction of the holidays in ‘Holiday Sauce…Pandemic!,’ a vaudeville performance now available to stream at home. Melissa Strong reviews.
Melissa Strong

Melissa Strong

Reviews 5 minute read
It’s not just about the holiday tradition: the Pennsylvania Ballet’s Lillian DiPiazza in the 2019 ‘Nutcracker.' (Photo by Alexander Iziliaev.)

What happened to ‘Nutcracker’ in the year of COVID?

Why should we tune in to ‘The Nutcracker’ in 2020?

What is the state of ‘The Nutcracker’—beloved holiday tradition and the dance-company equivalent of retail’s Black Friday—in 2020? Melissa Strong considers.
Melissa Strong

Melissa Strong

Essays 6 minute read
Sex, gender, dance, and music in a cinematic blender: Or Schraiber and Bobbi Jene Smith in ‘Aviva.’ (Image courtesy of Outside Productions.)

The Annenberg Center presents Boaz Yakin’s ‘Aviva’

Love plus four

Sex, gender, and dance collide in ‘Aviva,’ a film about love and identity written and directed by Boaz Yakin, with choreography by Bobbi Jene Smith, formerly of Batsheva Dance Company. Melissa Strong reviews.
Melissa Strong

Melissa Strong

Articles 5 minute read
A compelling voice in contemporary choreography: Pam Tanowitz Dance had its Philly debut. (Photo by Christopher Duggan.)

Pam Tanowitz Dance livestreams a world premiere in Philadelphia

Taking back the Zellerbach

Pam Tanowitz Dance’s Philadelphia premiere combines elegance with immediacy in a virtual performance. Melissa Strong reviews.
Melissa Strong

Melissa Strong

Articles 4 minute read
Evoking the kind of limbo we all understand right now: a performer in ‘The Way Out’ at Laurel Hill Cemetery. (Image courtesy of Tangle Movement Arts.)

Philly Fringe 2020: Tangle Movement Arts presents ‘The Way Out’

The limbo of life

A performance made for pandemic, ‘The Way Out’ took audiences on a drive-in journey through music, movement, theater, and glassblowing at Laurel Hill Cemetery. Melissa Strong reviews.
Melissa Strong

Melissa Strong

Articles 3 minute read
Relevant to dancers and non-dancers: Asya Zlatina in #Quarantineksvkhvkhkdvhai. (Photo by Rob Li.)

Philly Fringe 2020: Artist House/Asya Zlatina + Dancers and stb x at

Dancing into the future

Two performances explore dance during pandemic for the 2020 Fringe Festival. Artist House/Asya Zlatina + Dancers and stb x at offer different experiences combining movement, technology, and collaboration in innovative ways. Melissa Strong reviews.
Melissa Strong

Melissa Strong

Articles 3 minute read
Who is Lilith today? (Image courtesy of Apartment 20.)

Philly Fringe 2020: Apartment 20 presents ‘Lilith and Her Demons’

Lilith, the concept album

Apartment 20 adapts Enid Dame’s collection of poems ‘Lilith and Her Demons’ into a song cycle for the 2020 Fringe Festival, exploring how and where we see the Lilith of Jewish folklore today. Melissa Strong reviews.
Melissa Strong

Melissa Strong

Articles 3 minute read
Melissa Strong (top left) with fellow Summer Session participants at the Sojourner Truth memorial on the African American Heritage Trail in Florence, MA. (Photo courtesy of the author.)

When the pandemic hit, what was your beloved community?

The city is my home

What might Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision for beloved community look like in pandemic-era Philadelphia? Melissa Strong considers.
Melissa Strong

Melissa Strong

Essays 5 minute read
Still resonating: dancer Matt Turney performed the Pioneer Woman in an early production of ‘Appalachian Spring.’ (Photo by Martha Swope, courtesy of the New York Public Library.)

A 1944 recording of Martha Graham’s ‘Appalachian Spring’ is streaming for free

Modern dance, then and now

Best known as a work for orchestra by American composer Aaron Copland, 'Appalachian Spring' originated as a ballet of the same name. A 1944 recording of this Martha Graham Dance Company performance is now streaming for free, and Melissa Strong says it’s worth revisiting.
Melissa Strong

Melissa Strong

Articles 4 minute read
‘Storm’ is a window on city life in a pandemic starring dancer Sara Mearns. (Photo by Kathryn Marshall, for Works & Process Artists.)

Works & Process Artists Virtual Commission Series presents ‘Storm’

Dancing when the days keep coming

‘Storm,’ a performance of the Works & Process Artists Virtual Commission Series, packs emotional punch into a short solo dance now streaming free on YouTube. Melissa Strong reviews.
Melissa Strong

Melissa Strong

Articles 4 minute read
Meeting their match: Madeleine Worral as Jane and Felix Hays as Rochester. (Photo by Manual Harlan.)

National Theatre Live presents a free stream of Charlotte Brontë’s ‘Jane Eyre’

Taking Thornfield home

National Theatre Live delivers a fresh production of Jane Eyre as bold as the heroine of Charlotte Brontë’s classic novel, streaming free on YouTube through April 16, 2020. Melissa Strong reviews.
Melissa Strong

Melissa Strong

Articles 4 minute read
Loving the shiny costume: Melissa Strong (second from the right) at her first dance recital, in 1981. (Image courtesy of the author.)

One dance critic answers the eternal question: Are you a dancer?

So you think you can write about dance?

Does a dance critic need to be a dancer? Dance writer Melissa Strong has spent years answering that question for herself.
Melissa Strong

Melissa Strong

Essays 4 minute read