This week’s Dancer/Choreographer shout out goes to Melissa Mitro. Melissa began her dancing career at the age of 3 and competed in all genres of dance including ballet, lyrical, contemporary, highland, hip-hop, tap, salsa, etc. with great success. A winner of many overall awards in major competitions across Canada and the United States, Melissa has performed numerous times at the CNE’s Rising Star, on Breakfast Television, Much Music, for Flare Magazine and at the Toronto International Film Festival. The winner of the prestigious Celebration of the Arts Publishers Award (2008) and a top 3 finisher at the Jump Finals in LA (2008), she has been featured in many music videos and performed with up and coming artists Aleesia, Amanda Morra, Anjulie, Tegan and Sarah, Azari & III, Victoria Duffield and Guinevere. Melissa has worked with such notables as Emmy award winning choreographer Mia Michaels, Emmy nominated choreographers Stacey Tookey and Mandy Moore as well as Juno award nominated singer/songwriter Dominic Mancuso. A runner-up on CTV‘s So You Think You Can Dance Canada Season 4, Melissa recently performed at the closing ceremonies at the Pan Am games in Mexico (Oct 2011), City TV’s New Years Eve Bash (2012), the Nick Carter Tour in the US (2012) and the Juno Awards (2012). She is currently performing on the CBC production of Over the Rainbow. When not performing, Melissa travels the country judging competitions and doing workshops motivating and inspiring young dancers in the art of dance.
Bio Provided by Melissa
Facebook: Melissa Mitro
Find out what Melissa had to say in this week’s feature…
Nikki: Do you remember the first time you started dancing?
Melissa: I started dancing at the age of three at a studio called Jazz Be Nimble. My mom was already teaching there and my sister had just started dance two years before I did so naturally I wanted to dance too!
Nikki: Do you remember the first song you choreographed to? (Or your earliest memory)
Melissa: The earliest memory of the first song I choreographed to would have to be Holding a Heart by A Girl named Toby.
Nikki: Your personal advice for dancers when it comes to free styling?
Melissa: Let it all show!! Cater to your strengths but make it dynamic. You want to keep it interesting. If you get lost in it, listening to the words of the song might help steer you in the right direction in case you can’t think of something else to do, but just forget that anyone else is in the room and dance! J Confidence is key!
Nikki: Getting in the zone to choreograph, what does it take for you?
Melissa: I have to be able to feel the song before I start to choreograph to it. When a song makes me feel something, whether its happy or emotional, I just want to dance to it.
Nikki: Who are some of your biggest influences in the Dance industry?
Melissa: I would have to say that I don’t have one or two influences because I am truly influenced by everyone! I like every genre of dance so I don’t have a specific person. Everyone is unique in their own way, nobody is exactly the same. The strengths and even weakness of every dancer influences me to become better all around! Nobody’s perfect, we can only strive to be J
Nikki: Name a Toronto Choreographer you enjoy working with and why?
Melissa: I have had the pleasure of working with many Toronto Choreographers so it’s hard to have one favourite. From my two dance teachers that I’ve grown up with (Andrea and Stephanie Viola) to all the amazing people in Toronto I feel I can’t even choose! But here goes a few names at the top of my head that I love to work with but certainly not all: Luther Brown, Mark Samuels, Scott Fordham, Leon Blackwood, Eryn Waltman, Linda Garneau.
Nikki: Name one of your favorite artists to work with and why? (It does not have to be a pop star any type of artist that a Dancer would work with i.e.; another Dancer, Choreographer, Musician etc.)
Melissa: Again I don’t really have a favourite, but I know that any successful artist whether it be a musician or a dancer works their BUTT OFF! I admire hard work and appreciate it because I know what it means! Also you know that when it comes to being an artist, you are putting your heart and soul into whatever you’re doing and how can you bash someone for that?! I think it’s great that we can all share it with each other.
Nikki: What was it like being Top 2 on the Canadian run of So You Think You can Dance?
Melissa: CRAZYYYYYY! Hahah in a good way! I’ll tell you I didn’t think I was getting past the first week let alone all the way to the finish! I just took it week by week, dance after dance, and hoped for the best. I worked my butt off during every rehearsal and practiced all night long so that we could kill it! The experience really was amazing. It made me do things and realize things that I probably wouldn’t have if I hadn’t been on the show! It also introduced me to some amazing choreographers and friends J
Nikki: Are you currently working on any projects?
Melissa: I am currently working on CBC’s Over the Rainbow series as well as teaching in Edmonton, Toronto and possibly Kelowna. I will also be performing in Calgary and NYC. And all of this in the month of October! lol
Nikki: Qualities you believe Toronto Dancers possess?
Melissa: I feel as though Toronto Dancers have great everything! I wouldn’t consider us as a one genre city, we have great training in everything including contemporary, jazz, jazz funk, hip hop, modern, ballet, salsa you name it!
Nikki: Any advice for emerging dancers and choreographers working/training in Toronto?
Melissa: My advice to emerging dancers and choreographers would be HAVE CONFIDENCE! Just because you get a no the firsttime doesn’t mean it’ll be a no forever. Keep trying, keep pushing, keep training, and one day your break will come! J
THANK YOU MELISSA FOR SHARING YOUR LOVE & PASSION WITH T.D.O.T. XO
CHECK OUT SOME FOOTAGE OF MELISSA ON SYTYCDC…
THIS IS HOW YOU DANCE FOR YOUR LIFE!!!