MELISSA FERNANDEZ was born in Rahway, New Jersey and moved to Miami, Florida at the age of 3. Melissa first became fascinated with the art of classical ballet while attending Ballet Institute under the direction of Caridad Espinosa. After studying the fundamentals of classical ballet for 10 years at Ballet Institute, she began studying at Mencia-Pikieris School of Dance, where she is a founding member of the Miami Youth Ballet. Melissa has attended such prestigious summer programs as American Ballet Theatre in New York, Miami City Ballet, and North Carolina Dance Theatre, Complexions Contemporary Ballet and Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet. During her training Melissa has had the opportunity to work with such distinguished teachers and choreographers as Peter London, Yanis Pikieris, Uri Sands and Dwight Roden. Throughout her years of dance training, Melissa has performed leading roles in “The Nutcracker,” George Balanchine’s “Who Cares?”, Paul Taylor’s “Company B” and Martha Graham’s “Diversion of Angels.” In 2006 Melissa placed as a finalist in the American Ballet Competition. In 2008 Melissa was selected as a Modern dance Finalist in the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts (NFAA) competition. Melissa graduated as a dance major from New World School of the Arts in 2008. Currently, she attends The Juilliard School, where she has performed works by Sidra Bell, Fabien Proville, and Jerome Robbin’s, “N.Y. Export: Opus Jazz.” Melissa looks forward to graduating with a BFA in dance from the Juilliard School in 2012 and also plans to continue her academic studies in order to obtain a medical degree.