The Dirt with Melody Lacayanga
Melody and Nick Lazzarini on "So You Think You Can Dance" Season 1.
Melody Lacayanga is tiny and powerful, and she’s taking the commercial dance world by storm. The feisty, California-born dancer grew up dancing with Chris Jacobsen’s Dance Company of San Francisco (with this month’s cover girl, Chantel Aguirre!), but it was her successful turn on “So You Think You Can Dance” Season 1 that made Melody famous.
During the show’s first season, ballet-trained Melody dominated each style that was thrown her way, from the jive to the paso doble. She snagged the runner-up title, coming in second to Nick Lazzarini. Since “SYTYCD,” Melody has continued dancing professionally, performing with Sonya Tayeh Dance Company and Mark Meismer’s Evolution. She has danced on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” “Idol Gives Back” and “Glee,” and has performed at the MTV European Music Awards. Most recently, Melody was a dancer on Miley Cyrus’ Gypsy Heart world tour and was an All-Star on “SYTYCD” Season 8. Read on for The Dirt!
What did you want to be when you were a teen?
A sports medicine doctor or a psychologist. Dance was never in my plan as an “ideal career.”
Performer you would drop everything to go see:
Robin Thicke or The Script
If you could work with any performer, past or present, who would it be?
Otis Redding. I love him!
Most-played song on your iPod:
“No One Gonna Love You,” by Jennifer Hudson. It’s soooo good—I wanna cry right now as I hear it in my head!
Must-see TV show:
“Top Chef.” I am obsessed!
Who would play you in a movie?
Hmm…Brenda Song? Haha. Or Vanessa Hudgens.
Who is your dance crush?
I don’t have dance crushes, I have chef crushes!
What is your biggest pet peeve?
When people put their luggage in the overhead bins incorrectly.
Biggest guilty pleasure:
Shoes. I love all types, from sneakers to heels, flats to boots, TOMS, everything. I’m also a sucker for red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting.
One thing most people don’t know about you:
I used to sing when I was younger. I sang more than I danced, but one day I just stopped singing. I wish I hadn’t…
If you weren’t a dancer, what would you be?
Probably a chef. I’m actually considering going to culinary school in the future, when I’m ready to hang up my booty shorts.
Favorite city in the world:
Rio de Janeiro
Favorite dancer of all time:
I have such a long list! Sylvie Guillem , Peter Chu and Lindsay Blaufarb are way up there.
Harper Watters is a ballet dancer for today's generation. A social media maestro and a charismatic performer, the Houston Ballet soloist is equally at home in front of the camera hosting his hit YouTube series, "The Pre Show"; interacting with fans on his crazy-popular Instagram account; or showing off his beautiful classical technique onstage. It's a multifaceted identity that's proven to be invaluable to his career—and it's taking him to places he never even dreamed of.
Getting corrections from our dance instructors is how we grow, and as students, it's important that we do our best to apply every correction right away. But sometimes—whether it's because we're in physical pain, or have a lot on our minds, or are just not paying attention—those corrections don't sink in. And from a teacher's standpoint, giving the same corrections time and time again gets old very fast. Here are 10 important corrections dance teachers are tired of giving. Take them to heart!
Summer intensive auditions can be nerve-racking. A panel of directors is watching your every move, and you're not even sure if you can be seen among the hundreds of other dancers in the room. We asked five summer intensive directors for their input on how dancers can make a positive impression—and even be remembered next year.
When we think of a dancer who's broken barriers, American Ballet Theatre principal Misty Copeland tends to be the name that comes to mind. And though Copeland has been a crucial advocate for equality in the world of ballet, Raven Wilkinson—a mentor of Copeland's—is considered one of the original pioneers of the movement.
In 1955, Wilkinson became the first African American to dance with the renowned Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. Her fortitude in the face of bigotry and hate cemented her legacy. Now, with the release of the new children's book Trailblazer: The Story of Ballerina Raven Wilkinson, a new generation of dancers will be inspired by her tale of overcoming obstacles to achieve a dream.
The book details Wilkinson's life, from her experience as a young dancer training in Harlem, to her run-ins with the Ku Klux Klan while on tour with Ballet Russe, to her later ballet career in Europe. "There were times where my heart really hurt because of the situations I had to deal with," she says. "But I always had faith that I was made to be a dancer and that I was gonna dance."
Dance Spirit spoke with Wilkinson to discuss the new book and get her take on racial equality within the ballet world.
Postmodern pioneer Trisha Brown redefined how dance is seen and felt. A founding member of Judson Dance Theater, Brown frequently collaborated with other experimental artists like Yvonne Rainer, Merce Cunningham, Twyla Tharp, and Steve Paxton.
She embraced pedestrian movement, pairing everyday gesture with rhythm and fluidity. "It's liquid," says Wendy Perron, who danced with Brown in the '60s and '70s. "Like a river with many tributaries, water coming out of a faucet, or being on a raft and seeing the water move away in different directions." Brown also pushed beyond stages with choreography in fields, museums—even on the sides of buildings.
There's a common misconception that a dancer's body has to be thin. But the truth is that talent knows no body type, and the number on the scale never determines an artist's capabilities. Here are some extraordinary dancers fighting the stereotype of what a dancer "should" look like.
We always love a good halftime performance. And we LIVE for halftime performances involving talented kids. (Fingers and toes crossed that Justin Timberlake follows Missy Elliott's lead and invites some fabulous littles to share his Super Bowl stage.)
So obviously, our hearts completely melted for 5-year-old Tavaris Jones. Tavaris may have just started kindergarten, but during Monday night's game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors, the Detroit native danced with the panache of a veteran pro at halftime.