My name is Meloney George, 18, and I live in Greenfield, OH. I dance at Modern Movement Dance Company.
Can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
The summer between 4th and 5th grade, my mom signed me up for a summer dance camp. I wasn’t too excited about the idea, but I went anyway. My friends were going. Slowly, I came out of my shell and decided to enroll in the first season of what would become Modern Movement Dance Company. 6th grade came, and I decided to audition for the competition team. And in 7th grade, I was given my first solo. As I approached high school, I fell in love with dance and could see improvement in my dancing. I also started assisting and substituting classes at my studio. In my freshman year of high school, I experienced a minor setback. After our first competition of the season and the first competition I had ever won as a soloist, I tore a ligament in my knee. I had to have surgery and take a 6-month break from dance. I worked my way back up, and today I’m finishing up my final season as a competitive dancer. I’m about to be a sophomore in college at the University of Akron, where I’m a dance minor and a second-year member of the university’s dance team. I’ve also been given the opportunity to teach classes this summer at my home studio and have been loving that experience.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Things definitely have not been easy for me. When I started dance, I was in the back of every dance I was in and was such a shy person. Slowly, I started improving and coming out of my shell, and with lots of hard work and dedication, I found confidence in my dancing. Dance has taught me how far hard work can get me.
What personal limitations if any did you go through in your young career?
When I was young, I was taller than every other kid my age. My limbs were long, so I had to work extra hard to control my lines. Today my lines are something I am proud of and something that defines me as a dancer. I also was not very flexible when I was younger, but I stretched every single day for a long time. Eventually, flexibility became something that I no longer struggle with. I was such a shy, backwards kid, and dance brought me out of that.
Has anybody ever tried to limit you on what you could do? If so how did you fight it?
I’ve never had anyone limit me when it comes to dance. I’ve always danced in a positive environment and with teammates that are my best friends. All of the teachers and coaches I have been blessed with are constantly pushing me to be the best that I can be.
How do you conquer negative talk?
I usually try to ignore it and focus on myself. I know negative talk normally comes with success. And it’s something I will have to deal with throughout life. I just continue to be the best version of myself. I love to dance, and I’m not going to let anyone tell me that I can’t do what I love.
What is your favorite quote?
"Hard works beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard." - Tim Notke
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
I’m going to finish my career as a competition dancer and focus on finishing college. Once out of college, I hope to still be involved in the dance world as a performer, teacher, or judge. I’m going to take any opportunity life throws at me.