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Melissa Melpignano

College Counseling and IELTS tutor

location Los Angeles, CA
education University of California - Los Angeles

About Melissa

I'm a humanities and performing arts scholar and artist, teaching at UCLA, where I also obtained my Ph.D.
In my 10+ years career as an instructor and practitioner, I have taught internationally in academic, professional, and private settings.
I have trained academically and artistically in my native Italy, France, UK, Israel, U.S.A. My pedagogy accommodates and welcomes my students' needs and goals. I'm happy to discuss my methods and your objectives with you!

I have taught Italian language at the University of California, Los Angeles, and for the City of Lugano (Switzerland), and also privately. I'm a native Italian speaker, but that doesn't make one automatically qualified to teach: my academic training and my 10+ years of experience with private and classroom tutoring allowed me to develop clear and also fun methods to convey both the beauty and complexity of Italian language and culture.

With a Ph.D. in Culture and Performance, an MA in Italian and European culture, and a school training in classics, art history is the foundation of my education and the driving force of my scholarly and choreographic work. I am also a curator, and in my scholarship I have researched on the relationship between dance and art history in different cultural and historical contexts. I have organized educational programs for the Venice Biennale, and other visual and performing arts initiatives at UCLA.

I own an MA in European and Italian culture and civilization, where I was advised by renowned professors from the Collège de France, the Freie Universität, and other European institutions. I have published on European and Italian history and culture, and I have an upcoming book on European dance culture and politics in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Moreover, as a native European, I had the opportunity to integrate my teaching skills and knowledge with an immersion in European architecture and historical sites through initiatives of cultural tourism. Thus, my tutoring can prepare both the student that wants to get better grades and the future visitors of Europe that want to get the most out of their trip.

I'm a former professional ballet dancer. I performed with several groups and choreographers, such as the Arena of Verona Ballet (Italy), Wayne McGregor, and Richard Siegal. I trained at the Scala di Milano (Italy), Rosella Hightower Dance School in Cannes (France), Royal Academy of Dancing (London), where I got a ballet certification. I continued teaching and tutoring in the U.S. and in Mexico (in particular at UCLA and Universidad de Las Américas, Puebla).

If you want to know more about my background or methods, or if you want to schedule a lesson with me, please, message me. I'll be happy to discuss your needs and see how we can work together!


University of California - Los Angeles


Culture and Performance


Awards & Honors

Collegium of University Teaching Fellows


Excellence in Writing


Selma Jeanne Cohen Award



Test Preparation

College Counseling


Essay Writing



Social Studies

European History


Art History
Art Theory


Career Development



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