Melissa Sanchez’s journey with dance began at age 14 when she took her first dance class, Salsa. There, she discovered her love for dance. Since then, Melissa has poured her soul into learning a variety of dances including Ballet, Jazz, Swing, Lindy Hop, Argentine Tango, Salsa, Bachata, American Ballroom, Tahitian Dance, and Belly Dance.
In 2010, she took her first belly dance class where she was introduced to tribal and tribal fusion belly dance under the instruction and guidance of Meredith Marie. From there, she performed with Meredith’s troupe, the Beach Bellies (now Circata) , for two years. After that, she went on to learn American Cabaret, Egyptian styled belly dance (specifically Raqs Baladi and Raqs Sharqi), and Turkish style belly dance (Oryntal Dans) at UCI. Through the years, she has become familiar with props such as: zills, fan veils, veils, Isis wings, canes, and swords.
At UCI, she led and taught the troupe, the Belly Danceaters at UCI. As the leader of the Belly Danceaters, she choreographed pieces that could accommodate all levels of belly dance, yet still be challenging. Inspired by her former instructor, she planned, directed, and established the first ever all belly dance showcase at UCI, the Shimmy Spectacular. The showcase gave troupe members the ability to perform choreography, come up with choreography on their own, and find their own artistic voice. While in Irvine, she also had the opportunity to be a belly dance instructor at Pro Dance Center.
Now, Melissa is the co-founder of the MeLa Dance Company. Melissa is busy choreographing new exciting pieces for her new troupe, that she hopes to expand, as well as setting up different belly dance classes. Through her different backgrounds in dance, her main focus is to be able to fuse the different forms of dance with belly dance to create unforgettable performances.
Melissa hopes to reveal through her dancing that belly dance is an art form that tells stories and depicts different emotions through the movements of the body. She also hopes to fuse belly dance with other dances into emotional and energy filled pieces.
Keep dancing and shimmy on!
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