Melissa Levin was raised in Atlanta, Georgia, where she trained in the major genres of dance - contemporary, jazz, ballet, hip hop, and tap - under the tutelage of Lynn Fleetwood-Dukes for over a decade. During her sophomore year of high school, she was accepted into the Georgia Governor’s Honors Program in Dance. She attended George Washington University (GWU) in Washington, DC on a Presidential Arts Scholarship in Dance and majored in International Relations. At GWU she studied primarily the postmodern technique with dancer, choreographer, and filmmaker Maida Withers; she performed in numerous original multimedia stage works created by Withers, as well as those by internationally recognized choreographers from Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, and Pilobolus, among others.
Following college, Melissa worked at the Smithsonian Institution in DC before moving to New York City to obtain her master’s degree in Arts Administration from Columbia University and Fine Art Appraisal certification from NYU. After working in development at art schools in New York City and Provence, France, she pursued a career in the for-profit visual arts, first at Sotheby's New York in the Impressionist & Modern Art department, where she participated in the first $100M sale of a work of art at auction, and later as the Director of The Wynn Collection in Las Vegas and Director of Art Market Analytics at Artnet.
Upon becoming a mother in 2009, Melissa moved to Greenwich, Connecticut and founded her own art advisory firm where she consulted on private collections management. She returned to development as Associate Director of Advancement and Capital Campaign Manager at New Canaan Country School and, later, led development at the Greenwich International Film Festival. She currently oversees special events at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich and consults on various fundraising activities at Abilis.
Melissa has volunteered for numerous organizations in Greenwich, including Greenwich Hospital, Greenwich United Way, the Bruce Museum, and Putnam Indian Field School, and is the Treasurer, Board of Directors for Volunteers for Children. She currently lives in Greenwich with her three children. In her spare time, Melissa still takes, and occasionally teaches, ballet and is an avid student of Pilates, barre, and Kundalini yoga.
Melissa is humbled and delighted for the opportunity to support the special needs community in lower Fairfield County through her work with the immeasurably impactful Abilis organization. And more than a little nervous to take on the world of ballroom dance with her infinitely gifted dance partner, Christian.
The internationally acclaimed ballroom-dance choreographer Christian Perry first burst
onto the public stage in 1998. Clad in khakis and swinging a wild haircut, he was featured
in the award-winning GAP Swing Dance commercial. Today, at 38, Perry’s distinguished
resume spans dancing, choreography and teaching for film, television, commercials and
music videos. At his dance studio “Havin’ a Ball,” he shares his passion for all ballroom
styles with students of all ages.
The longtime contributor as a ballroom-dance specialist to ABC’s “Dancing with the
Stars” was a relative latecomer to dance. Starting at age 21, Perry quickly soaked up
swing-dance steps and rhythms at Los Angeles clubs. An unexpected win of a jitterbug
contest earned him a scholarship at Arthur Murray studios. Connecting with a partner in
Brooklyn, New York, Perry traveled across the country for advanced training, soon
garnering a series of national titles. A high point of this period was performing in the
YK2 millennium celebration for President Clinton at the White House
Desirous of training where the elite of the global competitive dance world resided, Perry
moved to the United Kingdom in the early 2000s. In Norbory, near London, Perry
focused intensively on Latin dance. He and partner Alexandra Gisher reached finals in
the U.K. Dancesport Championships, then semi-finals of Dancesport championships at
Royal Albert Hall. By 1999-2001, Perry won the title US Representative for Ballroom
Dancing, International Latin dancing.
Returning to New York, he pursued his combined B.A./M.F.A. in Communication Arts at
New York Institute of Technology, while still teaching and competing. In 2005 ABC’s
“Dancing with the Stars” reached out. Nearly a decade and six seasons later, Perry has
choreographed, trained and partnered contestants for the primetime reality program. On
cable network TLC’s “Ballroom Bootcamp,” Perry was the star.
Perry’s many movies include Mona Lisa Smile (2003), Be Cool (2005), Meet Dave
(2008). He is a veteran of television commercials, notably Dr. Pepper, Jonas Bros, and
the 2014 Super Bowl commercial for Time Warner Cable with P-Diddy. On stage Perry
has danced behind Will Smith, Chakira, and Vanessa Williams, in Vegas and on
Broadway. He was cast as the prince in the movie “Enchanted,” one of rare live shows
the Oscars has produced, in 2009.
The high-energy Perry is now a residential Builder, Developer and Sotheby’s Realtor in Greenwich CT.