The morning after Melanie Moore was crowned America’s Favorite Dancer, the Contemporary dancer from Marietta, GA hopped on the phone for a press call where she talked about her new title, being a front-runner, her partnership with Marko Germar, and more.
The dancers have undergone a grueling schedule for the past several months. What does Melanie plan to do between now and tour rehearsals? “I have 10 days off and I was planning on being at my studio and taking classes. That’s one thing about me—I can never sit still for that long. My boyfriend Mitchell is moving back up to Athens to go to the University of Georgia. He’s been out here supporting me throughout the competition, so I’m going to help him move in and spend some time with him. I’m ready to step out of the spotlight for just a couple minutes at least.”
Lady Gaga said she’d love to have Melanie dance on her tour, Kenny Ortega and Cat Deeley seemed to work out a part for Melanie in the upcoming remake of Dirty Dancing, and Nigel Lythgoe suggested that Melanie join a Dance Company. So what’s in the cards for Melanie? “My dream has always been to be in a company,” Melanie revealed. “As far as my movement goes, I’d be more suited for a company atmosphere. I’ve always wanted to do tour work, be in a commercial too, or anything—just dancing… I would be interested in going on tour with Lady Gaga. She’s an amazing artist…I would be more than happy and overjoyed to work with her. I will be focusing on the tour now and trying to remember all the dances we have to do. It’s like a throwback to the finale!”
From the very start of the season, Melanie received glowing reviews from the judges and guests who often referred to her as a front-runner. Did those comments make Melanie think she was going to win? She explained, “Going into the finale I definitely thought I had a chance, but sitting on stage next to Sasha, Marko, and Tadd, I really couldn’t pick a favorite. Everyone is so great at what they do. I didn’t know how America was going to pick. I felt confident in what I did on [Wednesday] and just tried to focus. I didn’t want to put any extra pressure on myself, but I always knew I had a shot.”
One of the standout moments of the season (and again at the finale) was Melanie’s giant leap into All-Star Neil Haskell’s arms. Was it difficult trusting a new partner for such a big move? Melanie said, “Neil and I sort of clicked form the beginning. He’s very funny and made me feel comfortable. I wasn’t too nervous when Stacey Tookey told us about the leap. Neil’s got a lot of muscle. We started a few steps away and then kept moving back. It took about three tries before I was across the room. We were daredevils about it. Whoever I’m partnering with I have full trust in because I also want them to have full trust in me as a partner.”
What does Melanie attribute her Season 8 success to? “I feel like the reason why I did so well was probably because of my partnership with Marko,” Melanie admitted. “I had an absolutely amazing partner from the beginning. Marko is so strong and we carried each other from the very beginning. We put so much hard work in the beginning. I don’t want to say we worked harder than anyone else, but we were the only ones that would rent studio space in addition to rehearsals. Half of the time, Marko would want to kill me because I’m so nitpicky and he’s the type that figures it will all come together on stage. But I don’t want to worry about that when I’m on stage. I attribute my success to him and our work ethics because otherwise I don’t think we would’ve made it as far in the competition.”
On the finale show, we got to see the judges’ favorite dances from Season 8 performed again. What dance from the season did Melanie work the hardest on and was the most proud to execute? She laughed and said, “It’s kind of an odd one. The one I’m most proud of is the Tango routine with Marko. It was our first ballroom style and they gave us the standard ballroom kind of Tango, and you have to keep your connection the entire time. Marko and i kept working at it and rented a rehearsal space every day and we were there until 11:45 at night pounding it into the ground. Just hearing it was good and not bad was such a relief. That was the one I was most proud we got through.”
Melanie enjoyed working with all of the choreographers, but she found her time with choreographer Sonya Tayeh to be especially amazing. Melanie told us, “I think the choreographer that challenged me the most and pushed me the most was Sonya Tayeh. When i worked with her and Sasha she pushed me hard. She knew it was going to be a challenge for me because it was totally different from what my body does. She cares about everyone and she’s been life-changing and so inspiring to us. All of the choreographers are super inspiring, but she took it to more of a relationship with us than a choreographer stance and we could tell she cared about us. She’s amazing and her choreography is ridiculous. Sonya is very intimidating and very scary, but you know when you dance she’s really watching and caring and pushing through with you.”
Melanie loved her experience on So You Think You Can Dance so much that she wants to come back next year! “I’ve already told them I don’t care what I have to do; I want to be an All-Star no matter what. I told them that when I got into the Top 10. I don’t care if you put me in Bollywood or Disco, I just want to be there! I will even help assist choreographers.”
You don’t have to wait until Season 9 to see Melanie again. Catch her and the rest of the Top 10 on tour. Click here for dates and details.