Nicolo Fonte

Melissa Barak in rehearsalChoreographer Melissa Barak, who launched her dance career with New York City Ballet and then Los Angeles Ballet, fittingly draws much of her inspiration from her dancers. While still performing, she became the youngest choreographer to create a work for NYCB. But in 2013, she launched her own company, Barak Ballet, in L.A.

When it comes down to it, there are two basic types of performers who make great dancers: Those who demand attention onstage, and those who inconspicuously draw it in without outwardly trying.