What if you gathered the hottest dancers from network TV shows and hit movies for three days to learn the moves and grooves that made them famous? That’s what dancers from Melba’s Dance experienced in Houston at the West Coast Elite Summer Dance Experience from August 10-12 at the Westin Galleria.
Master teachers from “JLo’s World of Dance” and Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance” showed dancers what it takes to compete at the highest levels. On season 15 of “So You Think You Can Dance,” voters crowned Lex Ishimoto the best dancer in the world. Another instructor, Misha Gabriel, can be found alongside Channing Tatum in the movie “Step Up” and instructor Audrey Case was the lead dancer for Royal Flux.
“The opportunity to dance onstage next to Misha Gabriel was a life changing event,” said Isabella Hsieh, 14. “My intention was just to learn and have fun, yet when such a world-renowned dancer and choreographer chose me out of all 150 people in the room, I was absolutely star-struck.
“The experience made me rediscover my love for dancing without expectations - to let loose, have a blast and love every second. Winning the scholarship went to show how doing what I love and being myself is what matters most.”
Hsieh beat out 150 of her peers to win one of three dance scholarships in the senior division.
Hannah Young, Melba’s Dance competition choreographer, encouraged students and staff to attend because she knew it would motivate everyone for the coming year of competition. Young worked for West Coast Elite Dance when she lived in California.
“The dance convention kicked off our second year of competitive dance at Melba’s,” said Young. “Our dancers walked away with a fire to come home and work. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of students. I am excited for what’s to come!”
“Melba’s Dance took 21 students, ages 7-17, from its competition teams. Classes included contemporary, jazz technique, ballet, hip hop, lyrical, breaking, improve, team building and scholarship audition.
Among Melba’s junior dancers, Grace Murray 11, won one of the three dance scholarships in her age division. Three of Melba’s senior company dancers, Corissa Talamantez, 15, Camille Alvarez, 13, and Katelyn Weaver, 13, were invited to perform in the opening number of the West Coast Elite National Competition held in Long Beach, California.
“My favorite part of WCE was all the dancing, and all the leaps, and moves,” said Aly Reyes, 7. “It was so cool to have teachers who are on TV. I got to talk to them too! That was the best, best part.”
Not only was Aly Reyes thrilled, but so was her stepmother, Julie Reyes, dance director at Melba’s Dance: “Watching my students excel in difficult classes held in every style of dance is absolutely fulfilling. It is a reassurance that what we are doing at Melba’s Dance is truly developing well-rounded dancers who are not only prepared to perform gracefully on our McAllen stage, but also catch the attention of who’s who in the industry. I believe we have the most highly-trained staff ever, and it shows in the performances of our students at conventions such as West Coast Elite.”