Kinesis Project dance theatre
Kinesis Project dance theatre

"Her spine is serpentine...her movements so taut and clean
that vice seems to conflate with virtue."
- The Brooklyn Rail

is a freelance modern dancer, aerialist, choreographer and the Director of Kinesis Project dance theatre.

Dancing and making dances in New York City since 1996, Ms. Riker has performed on stages of all sizes and celebrity nationally and internationally. She has danced in companies that excel in modern dance, partnering, martial arts, circus, moving meditation and Sufi-inspired spinning. Her movement has been called “athletic” and “serpentine,” her performances on rigging and on building roofs caused a reviewer to exclaim, “If there is a Spidergirl, it is Melissa Riker”.The New York Times said her choreography is “sometimes comically acrobatic, sometimes gracefully classical – Visually arresting” and an audience member wrote that the work is “a Marx-brothers routine with soul”.

Ms. Riker has created dances for film, theatre, operas and circus. Her text work has been commissioned and produced by multiple organizations and residencies.

Ms. Riker has been a founder of multiple collaborative arts organizations including the Movement Salon on 3rd Avenue and 17th St in NYC and Manhattan Theatre Source in the West Village of NYC. Both organizations are now over 10 years old and going strong.

She has been a resident of the Dance Omi International Art Center as one of three American choreographers, Earthdance, a Ford Foundation Fellow, received an artistic merit award from the Foundation for Greater Atlanta in 2007, 08, and 09 and a Recipient of grants from the Puffin Foundation in 2006 and 2008.</p>
<p> Riker’s blog tracking her choreographic process, A Choreographer’s Blog, was named one of the 2010 top 50 blogs to be read by dance students, and was #1 in the “Written by Choreographers” Category.

Kinesis Project had its 2010 Season at Judson Memorial Church with the world premiere of Pressing Empty, an evening length performance that was met with acclaim from audiences and reviewers alike.

She was an Artist-in-Residence with West Genesee High School’s Fine Arts Department during Spring 2010 teaching dance to the wide range of students in the West Genesee Dance Department.


music design by Katie Down / Site design by Melissa Riker / photos by minwin/, Robert Riker, Steven Shreiber, Benjamin Levine, Kevin McLaughlin and Sandy Chase