Melia Kraus-har

Melia Kraus-har Melia is a dance historian, educator, and writer. Melia’s educational background is in Communication, Theater, and Dance and her movement training is in ballet, modern, somatic (certified Stott Pilates instructor), social dance, and circus arts. Melia's perspective on movement focuses on gender, sexuality, and socio-political connections. Currently based in Nashville, TN, she covers performances up and down the East Coast.



BWW Review: Equality Echoes at Tennessee Women's Theater ProjectBWW Review: Equality Echoes at Tennessee Women's Theater Project
Posted: Sep. 10, 2018

BWW Review: Nashville Ballet's Modern MastersBWW Review: Nashville Ballet's Modern Masters
Posted: May. 1, 2019

BWW Review: Nashville Ballet's Modern Masters
May 1, 2019

I last saw Duo Concertant in 2017, for former New York City Ballet dancer Robbie Fairchild's retirement. Seeing Balanchine's work away from his home excitingly challenged this company. Nashville Ballet dancers are grounded, pliable, almost earthy at times in their approach. Here, they embraced the speed, lightness, and attack required by Balanchine, tag-teamed with the complexity of Stravinsky's score.

BWW Review: Equality Echoes at Tennessee Women's Theater Project
September 10, 2018

With recent events related to the #metoo movement within the dance world, notably at New York City Ballet (NYCB), the voice of women in a setting such as this felt sacred. Among art forms, dance is the ultimate challenge to the agency of the female body, which is often at the direction and control of male directors, choreographers, and partners.

In Aqua Motion with Richmond Ballet
May 1, 2018

A dancer's dancer, when asked about how the work is connected to her greater body of choreography, she said her “focus is on what comes naturally; I never want the dancers to stop themselves.”

BWW Review: Richmond Ballet New Works Festival
March 29, 2018

ichmond Ballet's decade-long running New Works Festival included pieces by Francesca Harper, Tom Mattingly, Mariana Oliveira, and Bradley Shelver. Each choreographer received twenty-five rehearsal hours to create a new work on the company. Shelver described the process (in a pre-performance video introduction) as condensing the intimacy and knowledge of a “ten year relationship into one week.”

BWW Review: Inlet Dance Theatre, Cleveland, Ohio
March 24, 2018

Dee Perry's narration required the dancers to move beyond the rhythm of the music (an original score by Jeremy Allen) in relationship to her voice. Wade took his audience into consideration, intending for the reactions of children to fill quiet places in the score. In this work, everyone participated - the audience a necessary collaborator in this read-aloud.

BWW Review: RICHMOND BALLET'S The Sleeping Beauty
February 11, 2018

In a first experience observing the company, overall they were most effective as turners rather than jumpers, with masterful articulation of their legs and torsos. Story ballets provide an opportunity to maximize each company member (several taking on multiple roles). With the moderate size of the company, a clear camaraderie propelled the partnering.

BWW Review: NASHVILLE BALLET's 'Lizzie Borden with The Raven'
October 30, 2017

Nashville Ballet dancers took to the aisles of the Tennessee Performing Arts Center's Polk Theater for Lizzie Borden with The Raven, Thursday, October 26th. Principal dancer Christopher Stuart's interpretation of Edgar Allan Poe's seminal work led the evening, sharing an ominous closing motif with Artistic Director Paul Vasterling's rendition of Lizzie Borden's complicated life.

BWW Review: CENTRAL PENNSYLVANIA YOUTH BALLET's 60th Anniversary Celebration
June 28, 2016

'We're the lucky ones,' said Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet (CPYB) CEO Nicholas Ade as he introduced the company's 60th Anniversary Celebration at the Sunoco Theater in the Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts in Harrisburg on June 25th, 2016. Ade acknowledged the tremendous accomplishment in sustaining a dance institution at such a high level in tribute to Founding Artistic Director Marcia Dale Weary and the company's national profile.

BWW Review: PENNSYLVANIA BALLET's Balanchine and Beyond
June 14, 2016

Corella's recent directive choices brought levity; Laura Bowman took her final bow and the program noted other retirements. Whatever the climate, Corella's choices substantially elevated the company's performance profile especially since their June 2014 performances, and even since the fall 2015 season.

BWW Review: SOCIETY OF DANCE HISTORY SCHOLARS' Special Topics Conference
May 31, 2016

With over fifty presenters, conference attendees engaged in a vibrant discourse on ballet structure, technique(s), and form; race; gender; and, sustainability at New York University's Center for Ballet and the Arts and Barnard College, Columbia University.

BWW Reviews: Designing Women with Kenneth MacMillan
June 23, 2015

American Ballet Theatre's 75th anniversary spring season honored the legacy of the company's seasoned dancers and showcased its younger ranks. Mixed bills displaying a range of classic and neo-classic roles segued into ABT's strongest realm: the story ballet. Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie offered his artists as heroes and heroines. From 'Othello' to 'Giselle' to 'La Bayadere' to Ratmansky's 'The Sleeping Beauty' to Monday, June 15th's 'Romeo and Juliet' at Lincoln Center's Metropolitan Opera House, his dancers remained in a stratosphere of romanticism.

BWW Reviews: The Gods Prevail in NYCB's Black and White Festival II
May 11, 2015

Hear the Dance:Russia, covered forty years of Balanchine accompanied by Stravinsky's music from his Apollo, created in 1928 for Diaghilev's Ballet Russes, to 1957's Agon, to two works from 1972, Duo Concertant and Symphony in Three Movements. In Balanchine's temple on Lincoln Center's campus, his choreography plagued the dancers with drops, trips, and slips.

BWW Reviews: Youth America Grand Prix's Starry Night of a Gala
April 22, 2015

In addition to being an incredible highlight of YAGP's work, what other night can one see the best of the best and the best to be on one stage? From quivering port de bras of an eager eleven year old to the stoic grace of Paloma Herrera, YAGP proudly endorsed its place in supporting generations of premier artists.

BWW Reviews: Ballet Stars Take Broadway in AN AMERICAN IN PARIS
April 21, 2015

Known for his contemporary, abstract choreography, Wheeldon's recent projects ventured towards epic storytelling, as with Cinderella, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, and The Winter's Tale. Besides an exuberant audience, what came to mind on Wednesday, April 15th at the Palace Theatre, were current New York City Ballet principal dancer Robert Fairchild's conjuring of Kelly's ghost and Royal Ballet dancer Leanne Cope's delicate emotional tension, yet no-holds barred physicality.

BWW Reviews: Seeking Harmony in the Art of Activism
April 3, 2015

Both Erhlich and Armitage's welcoming remarks suggested ambivalence with the scope of this work; Erhlich even said, "we'll just see", and so the evening began. Combined with movement in a setting designated for tactile education, On the Nature of Things depicted a frenetic doom.

BWW Reviews: CINDERELLA Straight-Up
January 20, 2015

Sunday, January 18th, BAM Howard Gilman Opera House swelled with anticipation for Mariinsky Ballet in Alexei Ratmansky's Cinderella, conducted by Valery Gergiev. In Ratmansky's hands, the tale occurred in the Russia of the 1930's and in the manner of Mikhail Zoshchenko's satirical, to-the-point storytelling.

BWW Reviews: Juilliard Dance Division's New Dances
December 16, 2014

Shouts and sighs intermittently filled The Peter Jay Sharp Theater on Sunday, December 14th in response to Juilliard Dance Division's New Dances: Edition 2014. Choreographers Austin McCormack and Loni Landon (both Juilliard Alumni), Kate Weare and man about town Larry Keigwin each presented a work on each class of students. The Juilliard family represented alumni, teachers, and choreographers from several decades filled the house.

BWW Reviews: ANNA'S AMERICANA Provides a Glimpse Into Anna Sokolow's Investigation of the Human Condition
December 10, 2014

Anna's Americana by the Sokolow Theatre/Dance Ensemble on December 4th provided a glimpse into Anna Sokolow's investigation of the human condition in the intimate space of The Theater at the 14th Street Y. Alan Danielson's Are We There Yet (2000) accompanied three works by Sokolow, Preludes (1984), Homage to Edgar Allan Poe (1993), and Frida (1997). Directed by longtime Sokolow dancer and Bessie recipient Jim May, the program underscored the focus of Sokolow's voice through the decades of her work.

BWW Reviews: Wandering with Jessica Lang Dance
December 9, 2014

Jessica Lang Dance premiered The Wanderer at BAM Fisher in a wintery diorama that showcased Artistic Director and Choreographer Jessica Lang's comprehensive design. Starting a few minutes late on Friday, December 5th allowed time to observe the stage. Five white trees made of coiled rope hung from the ceiling, four white ledges protruded from one wall, a white ladder dangled in the balcony, and a white marley floor tracked a U-shape filled with black marley. In this minimalist scape, Lang's dancers morphed from beings to elements of nature with Schubert's libretto (The Fair Maid of the Mill).

BWW Reviews: Mikhailovksy Ballet's THE FLAMES OF PARIS
November 18, 2014

Mikhailovsky Ballet paid homage to universal struggles for justice in their opening performance of The Flames of Paris at the Koch Theater, Friday, November 15th. Originally created to mark the 15th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution, The Flames of Paris as a narrative succeeded because it appealed to the people (any people group experiencing the desperate, unifying force of oppression) while paralleling the arch of a traditional story ballet.