Melina, a.k.a. Melinda
Heywood Pavlata, Ph.D. is a Bohemian Renaissance Woman: circus
performer & 2nd generation belly dance artist, event producer,
choreographer, juggler, clown, teacher, writer and former scholar of
medieval French lit. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa, magna cum laude
from Wellesley College and was a Ben Franklin Fellow at the University
of Pennsylvania where she received her doctorate in French Literature.
to a musician father (Phil Marsh, Guitarist with Country Joe and
the Fish, and Bandleader of the Pickle Family Circus) and gypsy-artist
belly dancer mother (Oriental Dance Trailblazer, Rhea of Greece), Melinda first
belly danced on stage with her mom at the age of 2 with a costume
pinned to her diapers. Growing up, she danced
professionally alongside her mother and sister Piper in the ancient city of Athens, Greece, then turned
cartwheels in the circus ring in the U.S. where her father
Phil Marsh was bandleader and songwriter for the Pickle Family Circus.
She has continued her circus life as an adult, dancing with horses,
juggling with clowns and performing on the trapeze in and above the
ring in Circus Flora.