Born and raised in Guatemala, Melanie Ríos Glaser has been a part of The Wooden Floor family since 1999.  She was recruited as the first guest choreographer by the organization’s Founder, Beth Burns. She succeeded the Founder in 2005 and is now the Artistic Director and Co-CEO for the organization. Melanie received her BFA from the Juilliard School, was named a Kennedy Center Fellow in 1998, and a Fulbright Scholar in Paris in 2003.  
Melanie has choreographed more than 30 pieces for groups that include UC Irvine’s Dance Department, Group Motion Dance Theatre Company, Ballet Moderno y Folklórico de Guatemala, Ballet de Cali, her own Mosquito Dance Company and The Wooden Floor. REDCAT (Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater) presented her piece titled “La Tribu” in 2012 and she has participated in the site-specific series HOME LA.  Her work has been performed in Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, France, Colombia, Brazil, California, Philadelphia, New York, Los Angeles, and elsewhere.
As a dance educator for over twenty years, Melanie has a marked interest in dance improvisation, contact improvisation, and dance composition. Melanie was certified in 2003, as a somatic educator at Moving on Center in Oakland, California. She has been a guest teacher at dance intensives in Southern California, at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, and most recently at UCI.
Melanie enjoys volunteering as a consultant and mentor for other organizations on issues of nonprofit management, governance, fundraising, and programming.  In addition she is a Trustee for DanceUSA, which provides national leadership and services and enhances the infrastructure for dance creation and distribution, education, and dissemination of information.
Awards and Honors
  • Mujer Destacada: 30 Remarkable Southern California Latin American Women - La Opinión
  • “A Day in the Life of Melanie Ríos Glaser” - Coast Magazine Feature 2010
  • “2010 Women Making a Difference” - California State Senate (Orange County) 2010
  • Nominee for the “Women in Business Award” - Orange County Business Journal 2009
  • Top 40 under 40, OC’s Most Successful Young Entrepreneurs and Executives - OC Metro Magazine 2008
  • Monthly “Person of Influence” - Los Angeles Times Magazine 2008
  • Fulbright Scholar in Paris - 2003-2004
  • Award for Sustained Contribution to the Arts - El Ministerio de Cultura y Deportes de Guatemala 2001
  • Award for distinguished artists from the Americas - Kennedy Center Fellowship of the Americas 1998