Melanie Rainville Thurston has been dancing, professionally teaching, and choreographing dance in the Northern Virginia area for over twenty years. Her career encompasses studies across the United States and in Europe. She earned a BA Degree in Dance from Shenandoah University and Conservatory, and also has an AAS Degree in Physical Therapy. Melanie has studied under and danced for numerous renowned teachers/choreographers such as John Goding, Elizabeth Bergman, Erica Helm, Alvin Mayes, Helen Hayes, Brad Stoller, Mark Dendy, AnaMarie Forsytne (Alvin Ailey American Dance Center), Gus Giordano, Steve Rooks (AAADC), and “Tap Americane”.
Melanie has performed in and choreographed for many dance companies including Feet First Jazz Company, the Shenandoah Dance Ensemble, the Power Dance Company, and the Leslie Roberts Dance Company with performances at Wolf Trap, The Jazz & Tap Dance Festival, several shows at the Kennedy Center and the Armstrong Auditorium. She has performed as a soloist in Tap America Project for National Tap Dance Day in Washington, DC, for the Recovery Road Show and has also participated as a dancer and choreographer in benefits for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and for AIDS Response Effort, Inc.
Her students have earned numerous top awards and have become regional and national title winners. Melanie’s students have been showcased in professional performances at the Kennedy Center, with Debbie Allen, Joffrey Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, and Pennsylvania Ballet. They have also been seen dancing with the Rockettes, Gus Giordano Company, All Star Tap Team in the Cherry Blossom Parade, MetroTap, Disney Cruise Lines, and on So You Think You Can Dance. Some of her students have gone on to dance and teach professionally.
Melanie has judged for various Regional and National Dance Competitions across the US and enjoys attending workshops/conventions to enhance her dance education and the experience of her students.
She enjoys working with budding performers to build their poise and confidence in the hope that they will experience the same enjoyment from dance that she has experienced.