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What Do I Give Up to be Okay?

A conversation with Bianca Melidor of Dallas Black Dance Theatre

Photo by Kent Barker

Background of Bianca Melidor

Atlanta, GA native, Bianca Melidor, joined second company, Dallas Black Dance Theatre: Encore! in 2018 after graduating from Point Park University Magna Cum Laude with Bachelors of Fine Arts. Bianca started her dance training at Gwinnett Ballet Theatre in Atlanta,GA. While at Point Park University she studied under professors Jason McDole, Judith Leifer-Bentz, and many more. Bianca had opportunities to work with choreographers such as Troy Powell, Sidra Bell, Helen Simoneau, Kiesha Lalama and many others along with performing works by Mark Morris and José Limón. After spending 3 years in the second company Bianca was promoted to Dallas Black Dance Theatre as a main company dancer. While attending Point Park University as a sophomore, our paths crossed for the first time as Bianca was an incoming freshman. Years later, we entered each others' lives once again during the 2019-2020 dance season at Dallas Black Dance Theatre: Encore!.

Boundaries or Regrets

Dancers have options when it comes to what genre and what alcove of dance they want to be in. Bianca chose the concert route, which is a dancer in a company that hires year by year (or not) by audition. It is not all smiles and tendus every day or even every second. The days are long and the weeks are longer no matter how much dancers love to dance. We come together from all walks of life trying to achieve a common goal, to put on beautiful performances that show all of our hard work. As a dancer with not many years of experience professionally, it is understood but not said that you sit back do the work and everything else is bumps and bruises. We gain knowledge by experience but very rarely do we share what we have learned during the process. Did I give anything up to put my best foot forward in my career? If so, what was it? Did I alter my process to suit THE process? What is one thing I want to tell younger dancers to help their process with protecting their mental health without sacrificing their love for dance?

Bianca's Point of View

In general taking the time to be a human being, spending time with family, and not being able to do the things my peers are able to do is a big sacrifice. In college, I was around many people who were also dancers but were not sharing the same experience socially. Being a "normal" adult as a professional dancer is not as accessible to me and until being asked this question I never thought about these as a true sacrifice. Me having to alter my process, not so much. In previous years, it was new to me to be okay with how my artistic director processed information on the contrary to how I do.
Dealing with egos as a dancers is normal, I have one, we all have one but, the newer generation is not just sitting around and taking the not so great parts of people anymore. Being in a main company, dealing with new people, and a different environment I can now see how that past experience was not so great. When it comes to pushing through and making the process better I told myself,"I am contracted from this time to this time and it's just what you have to do. Be miserable or just do it." There were a lot of good things that came of out me being in the second company but, once I made it to that perspective I never felt like I was doing pointless work. I began to see my worth and I wanted to start shaping my career how I saw it to be not what it defined me to be.
The one thing I would tell dancers coming into the professional career field is to pay attention to your own body as it begins to shape into the dancer you want to be. You will be met with challenges like: people judging your body, your lines, and it will begin to stir up insecurities within you. This advice is not to tell you not to be insecure because as dancers we stare into huge mirrors with people staring at us daily, it's inevitable to be insecure at some point. Lastly, there is a space for everyone in dance. Not every studio you attend will see your worth or your talent but someone at another studio in another realm of dance will. With instagram now younger dancers are really lucky to have more access to seeing the world of dance as we did not. If you look hard enough there is a space for you somewhere.

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Picture 3: Performance of

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