Melissa Canto Brenner A native of Florida, Melissa Brenner attended Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, Florida Community College at Jacksonville and ultimately the University of Florida, where received her BFA in dance in 2003. Upon graduation, Melissa moved to New York City to continue her training by studying and performing with various modern dance artists.
In 2010, Melissa received her MFA in dance performance, choreography and pedagogy from Arizona State University. While studying in Arizona, Melissa served on the board of the Arizona Dance Educators Organization, the University Graduate Council, was the President of the Graduate Dance Organization and taught a number of classes at Arizona State including Modern, Ballet, Pilates, Yoga, and Introduction to Dance. Melissa received Best Performer and Student Service Award for 2009/2010 and received the Faculty Emeriti Fellowship and Graduate Research Grant for her thesis project titled “Recipes for Work and Play”, a site-specific production presented at the Bragg’s Pie Factory in 2009.
As a performer, Melissa has danced professionally with Mary Fitzgerald Dance and Karen Schupp Dance and has performed the works of Ashleigh Leite, Shapiro and Smith Dance, Kelly Drummond-Cawthon, Elina Mooney, and many others. Her choreography has been selected and presented on stages and site-specific locations throughout the U.S. since 2001. Melissa spends most summers performing and participating in festivals such as Bates Dance Festival in Maine, American Dance Festival in North Carolina, La Alternativa in San Francisco and Strictly Seattle in Washington.
In addition to teaching at the University of Florida, Melissa is currently on the dance faculty at Santa Fe College where she teaches Modern, Pilates and Yoga, World Dance, Dance Fundamentals and is a choreographer for Dance Theatre of Santa Fe.