Tap dancer Melinda Sullivan was eliminated during the Top 9 live results show. We caught up with the 22-year-old soon after her elimination to learn more about her tap background and plans for the future.
Melinda started tap dancing when she was only four years old and she instantly felt connected to it. “I loved making music with my feet,” she said. “I just became hooked. When I was nine, I was introduced to rhythm tap and tap being music…I learned about improvisation and started working with a jazz musician and learning about time signatures and training…That’s when I realized this is what I want to do. I’m so inspired by the fact that I’m moving through space but I’m also making sounds. It’s just more stimulating to me than other dance forms.”
When Melinda was told she made the Top 5 girls of Season 7, Mia Michaels revealed the good news as Melinda sat with her mentor, tap dancing legend Harold Cromer. We learned a little bit more about Harold as her inspiration just before her Top 9 week performance. During the press call, Melinda shared, “I met him at the New York City Tap Festival in 2003. We were backstage in his dressing room and he was just spitting out so much knowledge. He’s worked with everybody. He was friends with Sammy Davis, Jr. He worked with Billie Holiday, the Nicholas Brothers, Sarah Vaughan. He took a liking to me because I really want to be a complete entertainer. I sing and I act and I play instruments, and he’s all about being a complete entertainer like they had to do back in the day.”
Although Melinda was the third tap dancer eliminated, she’s also the tap dancer that made it the farthest in the competition. She explained why she thinks tap doesn’t always transfer well on the show. “Being a tap dancer, you are a musician, and it can come off sometimes a little obscure when someone is just making a lot of rhythms…I think part of the reason why you lose some of the edge of tap on a show like this is you’re not dancing on a wood floor. You’re not hearing the sounds live.”
The Thousand Oaks, CA resident has no regrets about her SYTYCD journey. “I gave the competition my all, mentally, physically, and emotionally. I was really proud of my how focus I stayed. I came into the show with a pretty high work ethic. I have been working professionally since I was 15 and I think even more now I’m more focused. I’m able to pick up things quicker.” Melinda is also an actress and her hopes for the future include portraying tap dancer Ann Miller in a biopic.
View photos of Melinda’s fancy footwork.