Director, Student Services and Advising
Ina Gittings Bldg, Room 121
At age 14 Melissa Lowe moved to New York City to continue her ballet training, first at the School of American Ballet (NYC Ballet’s training program) where she studied with master teachers Stanley Williams and Alexandra Danilova, and then as a trainee with American Ballet Theatre, under the direction of Leon Danielian and Patricia Wilde.
Immediately following her high school graduation from Professional Children’s School in New York City, Ms. Lowe joined Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre as a Soloist. Positions followed as a Soloist with the Houston Ballet and Principal Dancer with Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle.
Ms. Lowe has performed nationally and internationally as a company member or guest artist in more than 100 different works. Her diverse repertory, spanning romantic and classical ballet to neoclassical and modern, includes works by masters such as Michel Fokine, Frederic Franklin, and George Balanchine, and by a wide range of prolific contemporary choreographers such as James Clouser, Rudi Van Dantzig, Mark Morris, Kent Stowell, Hans Van Manen, and Ben Stevenson.
From 1984 to 1987 Ms. Lowe served as an Assistant Professor of Ballet at Indiana University and Director of the Pre-College Ballet Program. Upon her arrival to the University of Arizona, Ms. Lowe established an early movement education program for children under the auspices of UA's Extended University. She now holds the position of Professor in the School of Dance where she teaches in the ballet area and team teaches a course she designed in dance pedagogy. She has been a primary student recruiter while serving as Director of Student Services and BFA Advisor. In the spirit of wellness through the arts, one of her areas of research led to the development of a movement therapy program for breast cancer patients and survivors.
Ms. Lowe was commissioned to create four dance instructional DVDs which are marketed by KULTUR International Films LTD, the world’s largest distributor for performing arts films. Her DVD entitled Creative Movement for Children: A Step Towards Intelligence, has led to several invitations in Asia, serving as a panelist and conducting workshops for teachers in early movement education in Tokyo and Hong Kong. In her capacity as Master Teacher in Ballet for nine years with the National Foundation for the Advancement in the Arts, she was instrumental in igniting professional dance careers for some of the nations’ most talented high school seniors.
Ms. Lowe, alongside her husband, Jory Hancock, is credited with building the School of Dance’s national stature, now rated one of the top college dance programs in the country. Her numerous choreographic contributions as part of the program's annual performance season also include over two decades of choreographic features with Arizona Opera, Tucson Symphony, UA Opera Theatre and Arizona Theatre Company.
Ms. Lowe has been responsible for developing a Ballet Masterwork series as part of the program’s annual season. She is committed to acquiring and licensing a range of internationally acclaimed choreographers’ works such as Christopher Wheeldon, Alexei Ratmansky, Darrell Grand Moultrie, Ben Stevenson, Jerome Robbins, George Balanchine, Jessica Lang and Nacho Duato. This impressive roster of ballet masterworks, (an extremely rare accomplishment for a college dance program), contributes powerfully to dancers’ professional training and artistic preparation for their future careers, while providing exciting seasons for our local audiences.