“MELshake” by Melissa Adao
Melissa Adao has been working hard in the San Diego dance community as a choreographer and hip hop educator. Her influence reaches aspiring dance students from Mesa College, Grossmont College and CSUSan Marcos, and she has brought together dancers from all areas of her reach to perform in “MELshake”- a sweet fusion of old school, new school, and much more! Melissa is excited to share more about the show before it hits LIVE ARTS FEST 2016 on Saturday night!
I am a choreographer, performer, educator, and cat lover. I consider myself an introvert in most social settings, but dance culture has allowed me to be more open, gain confidence, and have lasting relationships with others who I now consider family. I fell in love with hip hop dance and culture in the early 90’s watching the Fly Girls and Janet Jackson videos. I am in love with New Jack Swing music and party dances. I won’t let that type of music go to waste when it comes to a cipher. A lot of my choreography and class phrases are heavily influenced by it. My college students are exposed to new jack swing in class and it’s a thrill to see them (some who were born in 1998) come to appreciate this type of music and dance style. One of the sweetest compliments I’ve ever received was from my girl Shanara Lennox (referring to my boyfriend Julio and I), “you are my favorite 90’s couple.”
I create work as a way to connect to an audience. Performing and setting work on dancers has been a huge outlet in meeting people, creating lasting relationships, and living a happy life. I create the kind of work that I would personally want to see. I will always consider myself a student for life. I don’t consider myself a master at what I do as I am always eager to learn new ways to move and create. Lastly, as a hip hop artist who is 37 years old, I create work and perform to inspire other hip hop dancers. It is possible to still get down with others after 30 years of age if we want to! We just have to take care of our bodies and surround ourselves in the right community who will support that journey.
“MELshake” features hip hop and fusion dance performed by a cast of 28 dancers between the ages of 18-30. It allows my works, and the diverse individuals who perform them, the opportunity to exchange with an audience who hasn’t already experienced them. Dancers of different ethnicities, dance backgrounds, and experiences will now have an opportunity to share their love for hip hop dance and culture, and create relationships with a new community. Additionally, since my participation in Young Choreographer’s Showcase and Prize in 2012, supporting and building a bridge between the hip hop and modern dance community has been important to me.
This show embraces my love for hip hop music, dance, and culture. Folks have their own definition and experiences of what hip hop is supposed to be – “MELshake” is a snippet of mine. I am a product of my community and those who have taught and inspired me to be a better version of myself. I would like to thank this community I love by sharing my passion to others who are interested.
Saturday, April 23. 7:30 pm.
Tickets: $20 Buy a festival pass! Full access to ALL performances: $110