Melissa Rolnick


Associate Professor in Theatre and Dance

Melissa Rolnick began her training in New York with Andre Eglevsky, Valentina Pereyaslavic and Maggie Black in ballet (and floor barre with Zena Rommett). After receiving a B.F.A. from SUNY Purchase College she studied on scholarship at the Merce Cunningham Studio. In the the San Francisco Bay Area she danced with the San Francisco Moving Company, Cliff Keuter's New Dance Company and the Margaret Jenkins Dance Company touring nationally and internationally. She has also performed with many other notable choreographers including Joe Goode, Emily Keeler, Elina Mooney,and Mel Wong. She has an M.F.A. from Mills College and has taught at Sonoma State University, Western Washington University, Arizona State University (receiving the Distinguished Teaching Award from the Herberger College), and California State University Fresno. Her choreography has been produced at all of the above institutions including Dancer's Group San Francisco, On the Boards Seattle (12 Minutes Max), Kaleidoscope Dance, Firehouse Performing Arts, Cornish College for the Arts, University of Texas Pan American, Scottsdale Center for the Arts, Glendale Community College, Contemporary Dance Wyoming and Jacksonville Dance Theatre. Recent and continued studies in Gaga both in Israel and the United States have been transformative. She was the recipient of the Frederick P Lenz Foundation Fellowship for Buddhist Studies and American Culture and Values at Naropa University during the spring of 2015. At Naropa she began developing MEISA- Movement-Exploration-Imagination- Sensation-Awareness a three tiered somatic, creative process form. Melissa has also presented at many national conferences including the Congress on Research in Dance, the World Dance Alliance and the National Dance Education Organization. She has been teaching full-time at Gustavus since 2007.  


  • Former dance company member with Margaret Jenkins Dance Company, Cliff Keuter's New Dance Company, San Francisco Moving Company
  • Performed professionally with many other notable choreographers
  • Has taught and choreographed at Sonoma State University, Western Washington University, Arizona State University, Cal State Fresno, Cornish College

Teaching Areas

  • Fundamental - Advanced Modern Technique
  • Beginning Ballet
  • Composition 1
  • Composition 2
  • Creative Process


B.F.A., SUNY Purchase College; M.F.A., Mills College; Additional Studies at The Iyengar Yoga Institute in San Francisco

Courses Taught


T/D-105 (Beginning Modern Dance), T/D-117 (Dance Repertory Practicum), T/D-244 (ST:MEISA), T/D-245 (Dance Composition), T/D-270 (Intermediate Studies in Performance: Creative Research), T/D-370 (Advanced Studies in Performance: Creative Research), and T/D-398 (T/D Honors Project)

Synonym Title Times Taught Terms Taught
T/D-117Dance Repertory Practicum312016/SP, 2015/FA, 2014/SP, 2013/FA, 2013/SP, 2012/FA, 2012/SP, 2011/FA, 2011/SP, 2010/FA, 2010/SP, 2009/FA, 2009/SP, 2008/FA, 2008/SP, and 2007/FA
T/D-375Advanced Modern Dance162016/SP, 2013/FA, 2013/SP, 2012/SP, 2011/SP, 2010/SP, 2009/FA, and 2008/FA
T/D-370Advanced Studies in Performance: Creative Research152016/SP, 2015/FA, 2013/FA, 2012/FA, 2011/FA, 2011/SP, 2010/SP, 2009/FA, and 2009/SP
T/D-235Intermediate Modern Dance152015/FA, 2014/SP, 2012/FA, 2011/FA, 2010/FA, 2010/SP, 2009/SP, 2008/SP, and 2007/FA
T/D-270Intermediate Studies in Performance: Creative Research102016/SP, 2015/FA, 2013/FA, 2012/FA, 2011/FA, 2011/SP, 2010/FA, 2010/SP, 2009/FA, and 2009/SP
T/D-377Choreography92012/FA, 2011/FA, 2010/FA, 2010/SP, 2009/FA, 2009/SP, 2008/FA, 2008/SP, and 2007/FA
T/D-245Dance Composition82015/FA, 2013/FA, 2012/FA, 2011/FA, 2010/FA, 2009/FA, 2008/FA, and 2007/FA
T/D-398Theatre Honors Project62016/SP, 2015/FA, 2014/SP, 2013/FA, 2013/SP, and 2012/SP
T/D-104Beginning Ballet62016/SP, 2014/SP, 2012/SP, 2011/FA, 2011/SP, and 2008/FA
T/D-105Beginning Modern Dance62010/FA, 2010/SP, and 2009/FA
T/D-102Fundamental Modern Dance42014/SP, 2012/SP, 2008/SP, and 2007/FA
T/D-399Senior Project42011/SP, 2010/SP, 2009/SP, and 2008/SP
T/D-277Dance Composition II32013/SP, 2011/SP, and 2009/SP
FTS-100First Term Seminar22012/FA and 2011/FA
T/D-115Assistant Stage Manager22012/SP and 2011/SP
CUR-240Theatre Arts12016/SP
T/D-372Advanced Creative Expression12016/JN
NDL-268Career Exploration12014/JN
CUR-399Senior Seminar12013/SP
T/D-215Stage Management12011/SP
T/D-234Intermediate Ballet12008/SP