founder/drag mother

Melanie Lynch Blanchard and Candess Giyan founded Zoetic Dance Ensemble to create a platform for their shared values: artistry, athleticism, collaboration and fun. Since 2002, Zoetic has established a strong culture of creation that exemplifies the power of the female body and spirit, resulting in the production of deeply personal and highly relatable dance performances and programs. 

For ten years, Melanie designed and upheld Zoetic’s mission to celebrate the power of the female spirit through dynamic performance works rooted in a creative exchange that empowers artists to lead and learn. Through a consistent focus on quality programming delivered by passionate, professional artists, and thriving on a structure of committed participation and collaborative partnerships, Zoetic has produced highly acclaimed, award-winning performances and programs that engage and inspire.

Under Melanie’s leadership, Zoetic’s work evolved into rich, inclusive, female focused experiences occurring in a variety of spaces, from theaters to galleries to public places, studios to university classrooms. Melanie’s work is truly multidisciplinary and collaborative, inspired by the interactive nature of dance, engaging artists and audiences in a reciprocal relationship for a moment in time with a lasting impact.

Melanie’s vision for Zoetic has evolved through experimentation on the narrative of relationships, the challenges that women face and the beautiful stories that have emerged from the countless talented artists imbedded in Zoetic’s process. Many of these women have gone on to wildly successful careers and continue to inspire others through their work. Melanie’s artistic and organizational direction has reflected, and at times informed, the advancements made in arts and culture in our community over the past decade. Zoetic has fostered creative conditions where women can explore our rich history, embrace our diverse culture, and examine the societal shifts that compel us to classify our thoughts, feelings, preferences and identities. Through the athleticism and artistry of dance Zoetic’s artists tell their stories, reclaim stereotypes, seek truth, laugh at ourselves, learn from each other, and empower women of all ages to claim a physical presence in this world that reflects our strength, our beauty, our intelligence and our courage. 

Melanie’s forward-thinking approach to Zoetic’s development continues with the transition of artistic leadership to Mallory Baxley, an artist whose long-standing commitment to Zoetic is evident throughout her career. Regarding this process, Melanie says: “Mallory exemplifies Zoetic’s vision, and is a true representation of the kind of artist, dancer and woman we value. She is a seeker, a storyteller, and a fearless leader who I am proud to have as a drag daughter!”