Melisa trained in and performed taiko with an all women’s taiko group in Japan in the 90’s. She went on to participate in International taiko conferences in Los Angeles and Sacramento, and workshops with Grandmaster Seiichi Tanaka, KODO, GONNA, Burlington Taiko, Arashi Taiko and Kiyoshi Nagata.
Former performer and Artistic Director of Oto-Wa Taiko, delivering workshops, taiko classes and performing at festivals, special events and local schools for over a decade. She briefly co-created an all women’s taiko group called Onyon (Sound/4 women) with three other women.
Her style of taiko is one that is not just about technique and dynamics, but also about energy, creative choreography, fusion with other forms of drumming, and smooth transitions between pieces that allow for a continual flow.
Melisa also has a background in acting for theatre and television, studying ACTRA acting classes at the Ottawa Arts Court way back. She also studied film at Queen’s University as well as Multimedia development and has been involved in television and film production both in front and behind the camera for over 30 years, from interactive computer animation, to work on television mini-series to producing a local television programme and reporting on the arts, culture and community.
Throughout, she confronted multiple barriers and has chosen to make change from within by working on diversity, equity and inclusion at the Canada Council for the Arts for over15 years. She is now making a gradual come-back to the stage!
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