Melissa M. McDaniel is an educator, choreographer, and community organizer. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte with a degree in Communication Studies and Public Relations, and she has a strong background in dance education, choreography, and dance production.
Her passion is teaching students about storytelling through movement and helping people embody their thoughts and feelings. She has choreographed multiple stage shows and theatrical productions both inside and outside of the faith-based community and has over 20 years of experience as educator.
She currently travels throughout the country speaking, teaching, and mentoring young dancers. Melissa is the owner of Turning Pointe Dance Creations, a lifestyle brand designed to support and unify the dance community, and she is the founder of Melissa McDaniel 360, LLC, a company dedicated to empowering, educating and engaging the community through workshops, events, and products.
Melissa is also committed to her work in social justice, community organizing, and on political campaigns. She was an active volunteer for Obama For America, as well as Charlotte Uprising. She was also a canvasser during the campaign to elect Vi Lyles as Charlotte’s first African-American woman mayor. Melissa was a Charlotte-based field organizer for the MoveOn.org United Against Hate Campaign, and continues to be active in various organizations that support the positive growth and development of girls and women of color.
Movement of the Movement: Embodying the Spirit of the Fight for Social Justice
This dynamic workshop, conducted in partnership with Vahisha Hasan, the Executive Director of Movement in Faith, combines spoken-word, dance, and music with the goal of empowering participants with a skill set for healing and expression through movement. Participants will identify words, thoughts and ideas connected to their personal experience in the social justice movement, and explore how to physically manifest them using creative movement and dance. The experience culminates with an active group exploration of movement set to spoken-word and music that features themes of social justice, liberation, and resistance.
United We Dance
This is an active creative exploration designed to promote the ideas of oneness and unity. Participants are encouraged to cross boundaries, celebrate diversity, and connect with each other as they explore how the evolution of dance connects all cultures. No prior dance training is required to participate in and benefit from this experience.
Exploring Dance as a Form of Worship
This workshop is designed to support individuals who want to better understand how to use dance as a form of worship, and build a solid foundation for the demonstration of worship dancing. The emphasis is on preparing the creative mind and physical body to fully deliver the message that has been put inside of you. Attendees will work on connecting with audiences and their spirit through choreographed movement phrases, and also be encouraged to explore the possibilities of spontaneous movement as a form of dance worship. No prior dance training is required to participate in and benefit from this experience.
Answering the Call: Preparing Your Body for Dance Worship
This workshop will emphasize overcoming physical limitations, building confidence as a dancer, and being physically prepared to answer the calling to minister through dance. It is designed to support members of dance ministries as they work to stretch, strengthen, and align their bodies in preparation for dance worship. Key workshop elements include mental and physical self-care, skill-building, and dance technique, movement improvisation, stretching for injury prevention, developing a strong body, learning choreographed combinations, and the choreographic process.