Meet Marissa McCullough

I’m Marissa McCullough and I’m the director of the Dance Costume Shop. I oversee all aspects of costuming for the School of Dance.

I enjoy everything about working on “The Nutcracker. ”  It is such a special time of the year and the culmination of a lot of hard work from all departments. When it all comes together, it’s a celebration of our talents.

Marissa McCullough

I grew up at School of the Arts. My parents met here as high school dance students. Later my mom became the Dean of the School of Dance. My sister also is an alumna of the school and I was in the Preparatory Dance program. Growing up on campus was pretty magical.  Just the other day I teared up as I walked past the high school dorms because I realized my late grandmothers would have walked the same path when they moved my parents in 50 years ago!

The university has changed in a lot of ways, but most visibly in how the campus has grown. When I was a kid, all there was behind The Hill were trees! I remember going to the openings of Performance Place, the School of Music Complex and the Film Village. My favorite place on campus is Performance Place Circle – especially when the tulips are in bloom all around the Dance statue.

I graduated from Marymount Manhattan College and worked in all aspects of costuming around New York City for more than 10 years before my husband and I moved to Winston-Salem to raise a family. I worked full time for The Metropolitan Opera and the American Ballet Theatre.

Aside from “The Nutcracker,” Spring Dance Concert is my favorite dance performance because it is the last performance of the school year. I love seeing how far the dancers have come during their time at UNCSA. It’s pretty emotional, especially for the graduating class.

My favorite costume are the dresses from one of my Mom’s pieces, “Concerto.” They have black velvet halter bodices with individually painted silk skirts that look like watercolors. My mom always designed her own costumes. The costume I’m most proud of was for Frederick Ashton’s “Birthday Offering,” performed in 2015 at UNCSA Winter Dance Concert. There were 14 highly-detailed and decorated costumes that we had to historically replicate down to the smallest detail. It was very challenging and the pressure was on because we were the first school to produce the work. When we finally saw those costumes dance on stage, I cried. Those costumes are rented by The Washington Ballet this season, which is very cool. I’m glad they’ll see the stage again. 

I am happiest when I am at the beach watching my kids play in the sand and I hope to visit Buckingham Palace. I’m a total Anglophile. My hidden talent is I can wiggle my ears.


December 06, 2019