A Passion For The Work

In reaching the top, how much is talent and how much is sweat?
Talent may give you a momentary success, but if you want a sustained career, you have to work very, very hard at it.

Who is your toughest critic?
I am!

Are you superstitious?
Not at all. I once worked with someone who was superstitious, and it seemed to be such a complete waste of time.

What’s the toughest part of being a dancer?

Injuries, those unexpected accidents that throw your career into hold. But I’ve learned a lot from them. They’ve forced me to

reanalyze my technique, find new teachers who could help me throughand discover alternative approaches to recovery.

And the least glamorous?

When you’re traveling the world and you’ve done a fantastic show and you’re laden with flowers, and you walk back to a lonely hotel room, to room service and TV in a language you don’t understand. That’s a hard comedown.

What’s your biggest indulgence?
High-heeled shoes. I just love them. They make legs look amazing, and it’s great to step into a room and be so many inches taller than normal.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how nervous are you before a performance?
I’d say I’m a 5; really not too nervous. I rehearse a hell of a lot, and that gives me a certain assurance that I’ve done everything I possibly can to prepare.

If you weren’t dancing what would you like to do?
To write. It’s something I dream of.

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This is Pointe's Fall 2020 cover story. Click here to purchase this issue.

Talk to anyone about rising contemporary ballerina Tatiana Melendez, and one word is bound to come up repeatedly: "Fierce." And fair enough, that's a perfectly apt way to describe the 20-year-old's stage presence, her technical prowess and her determination to succeed. But don't make the mistake of assuming that fierceness is Melendez's only (or even her most noteworthy) quality. At the core of her dancing is a beautiful versatility. She's just as much at ease when etching pure classical lines as she is when boldly throwing herself off-balance.

"Selfish choreographer that I am, I want Tatiana to stay with Complexions for all time," says her boss Dwight Rhoden, Complexions Contemporary Ballet's co-artistic director and resident choreographer. "She has a theatricality about her: When the music comes on, she gets swept away." Not too shabby for someone who thought just a few years ago that maybe ballet wasn't for her.

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Cheryl Mann, Courtesy Joffrey Ballet

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Jeremy Kyle, Courtesy Laubacher

My First Month as a Professional Dancer in the Age of COVID-19

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