Welcome (back) to the School of Dance, Director Melonie Buchanan Murray

August 19 2022

The community members of the University of Utah School of Dance are excited to officially welcome our new Director, Melonie Buchanan Murray, PhD, who most recently served as the Associate Dean for Faculty & Academic Affairs for the College of Fine Arts since 2018. Murray has been a faculty member in the School since 2014, so although this is an official welcome back, she never fully left and has continued with some of her faculty duties while working in the Dean’s Office.

Murray, who is currently also the President-Elect of CORPS de Ballet International , holds a BFA in Ballet from Friends University, she received her MFA in Dance from the University of California, Irvine, and her PhD in Dance from Texas Woman’s University. Her research interests lie in exploring the continual evolution of dance as an academic discipline and, and while honoring the past, investigating dance through a critical theory lens. Her academic writing has been published in peer-reviewed publications, including a chapter in “(Re:)Claiming Ballet” (2021), and she continues to explore the arts and dance as scholarly pursuits. 

I am honored and humbled by this opportunity to serve the incredible students, staff, and faculty of the School of Dance here at the U.

“Melonie’s legacy in the College of Fine Arts began in the School of Dance, continued with thoughtful leadership in the Dean’s Office and will now carry on back in the School of Dance as its director,” said Dean John Scheib. “Her gifts and experience have served us in many capacities and we look forward to working together with her in this new role to help shape the future of our school.”

Murray is deeply committed to the arts in education and initiatives supporting justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion. Certified in American Ballet Theatre’s national training curriculum, she has taught multiple genres of studio and academic courses at several universities.  Her professional affiliations include CORPS de Ballet International, Dance Studies Association, National Dance Education Organization, and the World Dance Alliance-Americas; Murray has also served multiple times as an adjudicator for the American College Dance Association.

The role of Director of the School of Dance was previously held by Luc Vanier, who will be returning the faculty full time as a professor. After officially starting on July 1, Murray has already been actively working in the role and is looking forward to the beginning her first semester with a building full of dancers.

“I am honored and humbled by this opportunity to serve the incredible students, staff, and faculty of the School of Dance here at the U. Dance at the U has an extraordinarily rich history," said Murray. "As one of the first universities to begin offering dance degrees in the mid-20th century, our expansive legacy has had a tremendous effect on the profession and the academic discipline of dance. Working alongside the inspiring and talented artists and administrators in the School, College, and community, I look forward to deepening and reinvigorating the mission and vision of Dance at the U.”