Melissa-Leigh Bustamante


Melissa-Leigh Bustamante (Director of Theatre)  studied dance throughout her youth, having belonged to The Ballet Guild of the Leigh Valley and The Schukyll Valley Regional Dance Company. Her primary focus was on ballet and modern, though throughout her training she also studied classical jazz; broadway; hip-hop; lyrical; folk and highland dancing.  She performed on a regular basis with both companies and as a guest with other companies or theatres.  Melissa also attended intensive dance programs at Briansky Ballet, Princeton Ballet and North Carolina School of the Arts.  While dance was her concentration early on, singing and acting soon made their way into her world.

Melissa studied acting in middle and high school, having appeared in her school's plays and musicals.  She also trained at Civic Theatre of Allentown with William Sanders and appeared in several productions there.  She trained as a classical vocalist with Joan Susswein Barber.    

Melissa continued her training at Towson University, where she earned a degree in Theatre, acting concentration.  She also continued her dance training in modern and jazz and was invited to perform with the school's dance company. 

Melissa has appeared as an actor and/or choreographed many productions in the DC metro area, having worked with such companies as: The Shakespeare Theatre Company, Round House Theatre, Olney Theatre Center, Forum Theatre, The Keegan Theatre, Adventure Theatre, Cherry Red Productions, Bouncing Ball Productions, Adventure Theatre, Rorschach Theatre, The Source Theatre Festival, The Capitol Fringe Festival, and Catalyst Theater, with whom she was nominated for a Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Choreography.

Melissa met Kelly in 2008 and shortly therafter began working with the Company both as a dancer and administrator and eventually grew to become the Director of Theatre.  In this role,  Melissa supports Kelly's vision by working with the artists to dance and speak with clear and earnest intention.  She works closely with Kelly to develop each element of the production and assists in its direction.  She has performed in I Believe/The Disorder of Things; Living, Breathing, Human Organism?;  The Disorder of Things; Shapes in Space and Other Things;  The Gift and Objects of Hope.  She also works in a variety of other capacities, such as script writer and sound designer.  

It is with tremendous joy and gratititude that she calls Contradiction Dance her artistic home.