Julie Reyes, the dance director at Melba’s Dance, has been thinking about introducing competitive dance into the Melba’s dance curriculum. Her thinking turned into action when competitive dance teacher Hannah Young walked into Melba’s looking for a job.

Fresh from working in competitive dance for West Coast Elite Dance in the Los Angeles area, Young found her way to McAllen through her husband’s job transfer.

"Starting this program has been such a joy to take on,” said Young.” I am so thankful to have the support and love from Melba Huber, my director Julie Reyes, and the whole Melba's staff.” 

"Our first year was an absolute success and I cannot wait to expand and perfect this program over the next several years."

Young and 40 Melba’s dancers traveled to Houston to dance on January 27 for a competition hosted by the company for whom Young used to work, West Coast Elite Dance. Melba’s dancers returned to McAllen with 11 awards.

"Competition was a really good experience for me,” said Corissa Talamantez, 15, a student at McAllen Memorial High School. “It was scary at first because I've never competed with dance before, but having a family like Melba's made it comfortable and fun.

“Competition made me realize you have to work hard and concentrate. At the end of it all, it was worth it. I loved the experience of doing competition this year."

From the popularity of TV shows like “Dancing With the Stars,” both Huber and Reyes have seen the growing interest in competitive dance. Although both want students to appreciate dance primarily as a performance art, they see some added advantages to competition.

“There are benefits from developing a friendly yet competitive edge to their craft,” said Reyes. “The lessons learned in all these different avenues of dance will help them gain knowledge, confidence and poise that will carry over to adulthood.”