Melissa Barak (CBA ’16) was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. She trained at the Westside School of Ballet in Santa Monica for eight years and the School of American Ballet in New York for two before joining the New York City Ballet in 1998. During her professional dance career with New York City Ballet (1998-2007) she became one of the youngest choreographers in New York City Ballet history to be commissioned for an original work. Barak has been awarded the Mae L. Wien and Choo San Goh Awards for Outstanding Choreographic Promise and has been named a Top 25 to Watch by Dance Magazine. She has created new works for Sacramento Ballet, Richmond Ballet, Los Angeles Ballet, American Repertory Ballet, and her own company, Barak Ballet, a Los Angeles based company.
The Emperor and the Nightingale
Nightingale is an original story ballet freely adapted from the Hans Christian Andersen tale of the same name. Without making major changes to Andersen’s basic narrative, Barak hoped to explore some of the more intriguing aspects of the story and enhance them through dance and song. Combining an original score with modern balletic choreography and whimsical design, Barak seeked to breathe fresh life into this beloved story in order to create a modern, classic ballet for the 21st century.