Young Choreographer’s Prize Interview: Melissa Adao!

Happy Friday SDDT fans!  We are happy to share our second interview with you this morning for our Young Choreographers Prize Showcase!  Remember- audience votes matter, so get your ticket to the performance today!  (For more info on tickets click here!)

Here is the wonderful Melissa Adao’s stab at our probing questions on her life as a dance-maker and the piece she will be presenting on March 25th:

Tell us a little bit about your history in Dance.  

My first taste of dance inspiration came from music videos and my involvement in my high school show choir, The Main Attraction from Chula Vista High School.  I began formal training at the age of 17 in hop, jazz, and modern dance.  My professional dance company experiences include Unity Dance Ensemble, Urban FX, EKetc, and Super Galactic Beat Manipulators.  Representation through Bloc Agency has opened opportunities for me to work with artists like Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, Andy Dick, Athena Cage, No Doubt, and Nickelodeon’s “Taina”.  I’ve also choreographed for San Diego local artists Krystle Cruz and Eleve.

I hold a BA in Dance from SDSU and am a current graduate student at CSULB for dance with an expected candidacy in Fall 2013.  I have been teaching hip hop dance at Mesa and Grossmont Community Colleges since 2003.

Choreographically, my biggest influences throughout my dance journey have been KJ Gonzales, Tessandra Chavez, and Kevin Brewer.  Most recently, I’ve added Khamla Somphanh on that list.  Aside from teaching and performing, I am also the Founder and CEO of Outreach Through Dance, a charitable organization that produces dance showcases and events that benefit various charities and organizations in the San Diego community.

In 100 words or less, why do you believe your work should win this competition? 

It’s an honor just to be selected as a finalist. I know that I am bringing something different to the table that supporters of the San Diego Dance Theater may have never seen before. I like to incorporate different genres of dance styles in my pieces such as hip hop, African, and modern. I am confident that my work will leave a lasting impression with the judges, the audience, and hopefully instill inspiration with the other choreographers as well.

What are the themes involved in your piece?  Is this a new exploration for you? 

The overall theme of this piece will be chaotic and wild, sort of what life tends to become when we don’t give ourselves enough balance to breathe and take time for ourselves.  I will be approaching this piece with a lot of athleticism and energy, which has been an exploration that I’ve been taking towards the hip hop and modern fusion this past year.

What do you want your audience to know coming into the performance?

For me, coming into this performance means building a new relationship between two communities that I feel so strongly for: the hip hop community and the modern dance community.  Although both communities are passionate about dance, we are still somewhat separate worlds.  I feel that if we unite our communities, we will have the ability to create a new evolution in dance technique.  This has been my process of exploration for a couple of years now.  Essentially, my goal is to create awareness of the hip hop community into the modern dance community, and to establish a relationship so that collaborations between our styles can be explored in the future.

Thank you so much Melissa!  We’re really excited to see your piece!  The Young Choreographers Prize Showcase is just around the corner, and you don’t want to miss it!

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