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Influences and education

Melanie Maar is a New York based dancer, choreographer and teacher originally from Vienna, Austria where she was born into a family of professional dancers and musicians. Her early dance training took place at her mother’s dance studio. Initially taught by Gertraud Maar in Ballet and Flamenco and later influenced by an array of styles and methods acquired through other teachers led her to discover contemporary dance forms and improvisation as a young adult. Studying less defined forms and more experiential approaches brought a sense of possible cohesion and desire for creating into her early career.
Another deep influence to her was growing up witnessing her father’s changing movements after a parkinson’s diagnosis at a very young age. In the context of the dance home his movement disorder appeared as another particular aesthetic of physical expression. Her young dancer self absorbed tradition and involuntary abstractions in movement at the same time. It affected her sense of aesthetic and interests profoundly.

The relationship between music and dance/sound and movement has guided her as early as she refused to accept a given disconnect or a traditional dynamic. Her musical education was embedded in her household, dance training and
is continuously influencing her by collaborating with musicians throughout her career in New York.

Maar moved to New York in 1996 and subsequently trained at The Trisha Brown School, Movement Research, The Hung Gar Kung Fu Academy and later engaged in studies of cognitive science at Columbia University, psychoanalytical studies at the C.G. Jung Institute New York and became a student of Janet Panetta (Ballet) and Daria Fain (Qi Gong) in 2001. These diverse practices in related realms as well as completing the Healing Tao/Qi Gong Teacher training (by Master Mantak Chia) and engaging in somatic practices by working with people of various ages and physical abilities through out her life has shaped her making and teaching.

Maar is a faculty member of Movement Research since 2014 and has taught workshops and classes for professional performers, seniors and others in different circumstances since 2002. She is continuously developing her particular teaching practice that relates artistic and somatic practices.

As a dancer she has worked intensively with New York choreographer luciana achugar as well as with RoseAnne Spradlin, Daria Fain, Rosangela Silvestre, Walter Dundervill, Kate Weare, Antonio Ramos, Levi Gonzalez and Luis Lara Malvacias.

As a choreographer collaborating with artists Kenta Nagai, Rachel Bernsen, Abraham Gomes-Delgado, Taylor Ho-Bynum, Carrie Wood and Derrick Belcham has expanded her approach and visions greatly.
Performers Marilyn Maywald, Laurel Atwell, Mariangela Lopez and Edith Greutmann were integral in creating, revealing and informing the aesthetic of each piece.

She also considers seeing the many performances of artists in the experimental dance, music and performance community in New York City and Europe since 1998 part of her education as an artist.

She created four evening length works for Theater in New York City since 2009, toured her solo ‘off and on’ to various international Movement Disorder Congresses from 2005 to 2007 and has created different short performances for shared evenings, public spaces and galleries since 1996.
Maar’s work has been presented by Dance Theater Workshop (2009), The Chocolate Factory Theater (2011), Impuls Tanz Vienna 2012, Danspace Project (2013), The Austrian Cultural Forum (2012,2015), Movement Research at Judson Church, The Big Room, Roulette, AUNTS, CATCH, Draftworks, The Kitchen Works in Process,, Museums Quartier Wien, Tanzfabrik Berlin and others.

From 2008-2014- Maar ran a live work space in Brooklyn called The Loft, where classes, rehearsals, performances and gatherings happened.

Since 2012 she is a member of Masters of Ceremony an interdisciplinary collective of artists exploring
ritual composition in performance. They can be found working in a music venue, gallery, loft, studio, garden or elsewhere.

Since 2013 she is part of Pine Top Aerial Music Project by renown composer Anthony Braxton.

Maar is currently working on her next piece ‘Dämmerung’ with sounds artist Kenta Nagai.

Awards, Honors and Residencies
2015 Grants to Artists Award from The Foundation for Contemporary Arts
2014-now Artist Advisory Council- Movement Research
2014 Laboratório Condensation, Mexico City
2013 production grant Yellow House Fund
2013/11 residencies at Impuls Tanz Vienna
2009 Kaatsbaan residency through DTW
2007/08 Movement Research Artist in Residence
2008 The Kitchen works in Process

Maar co- curated the 2013 Moving Sounds Festival for the Austrian Cultural Forum NY and
the 2010 Movement Research Festival HARDCORPS.