SYTYCD: The Yak’s Chat With America’s Favorite Dancer, Melanie


Just days ago, the So You Think You Can Dance champ was named. America chose their Favorite Dancer and that dancer was 19 year old Melanie Moore of Marietta, Georgia. The Yak had the chance to sit down with Melanie after she claimed victory alongside fellow Top 4 contestants Sasha Mallory, Marko Germar, and Tadd Gadduang. Not long after the confetti fell and the parties waned, we got a better look into the life of winner Melanie Moore. Keep reading on below to find out details like what was her major in school (hint: not dance), how she plans on spending her $250,000, and just what exactly does she attribute to her success on the show. All that and more below. We hope you fans have enjoyed this season as much as we have and that you’ll be back next summer when the Yak will have MORE surprises up our sleeve for SYTYCD.

On Her TV Personality
Melanie was actually homecoming queen in high school. She believes that she was able to show America who she really was without holding back parts of her personality. “I feel like on TV I’m that bubbly person that you guys see, but I am a lot more talkative and chatty.” She was, however, very focused throughout the competition and America may not have seen entirely how outgoing she is. Clearly that didn’t stop America from the votes, as she won by 47% of the popular 4-way vote. More on that below…

Plans During Time Off Before Tour
Melanie has 10 days off between the finale festivities and the SYTYCD tour (coming to a city near you). During her time off, she plans on being at the studio and taking classes because she admits she can’t sit still for too long. She also plans on helping her boyfriend, Mitchell, move to Athens for the upcoming semester at school. She claims to want to “…make stuff about him instead of me for a little bit.”

On Career Offers From The Show
Sprinkled throughout the season, Melanie received a few offers from the guest judges for things to do post-SYTYCD. From touring with Lady Gaga, to participating in the remake of Dirty Dancing with Kenny Ortega, Melanie was getting offers from the big leagues. It has always been her dream to be in a company, as she feels she would be more suited in that atmosphere. She always wants to be dancing, no matter what. She wants to be able to sustain a living dancing, and that’s what she’s hoping to do. She would, however, be interested in touring with Gaga and would be “more than happy and overjoyed to work with her.” No other real offers have come in yet after the show. Presently, she’s more excited about the tour and keeping the routines in her head until then.

On Being Touted “Frontrunner”
Leading up to the finale, Melanie had always thought that she had a chance to win. “I couldn’t pick a favorite,” she says in regards to sitting on stage with the other three finalists. Melanie doesn’t know how America picked because everyone this season was so brilliant. She felt confident and focused on the dances every week, kept her head in the game, and didn’t wanna put any extra pressure by thinking she had an amazing shot to win. She admits to always reminding herself that she had a shot at this competition and it was worth going for, but that she worked to balance staying grounded about it without adding extra pressure.

On The “Big Leap”
After re-watching that video, you know the question on everyone’s mind when we were first introduced to this piece was on the issue of trust. Melanie said that she and Neil clicked from the beginning. She wasn’t too nervous for the leap because she knew Neil and his muscle could handle it. During rehearsal, they started out practicing the leap a couple of steps away and progressively moved back. Within a few tries, they were across the room and practicing the real deal. She usually has trust in whoever she’s paired with because she wants them to have complete trust in her too. That mindset made working with Neil on such a big move a lot easier, in her eyes.

On Where Her Success Came From
“The reason why I did so well was probably because of my partnership. Marko was so strong, we really carried each other and fed off of each other. Marko and I put so much hard work in the beginning. We were the only couple who rented studio space outside of rehearsal time.” Melanie and Marko actually went to rehearse at night after the hours allotted by SYTYCD. Melanie seemed to pride herself in being nit picky. Marko thought everything will come together on stage, but Melanie wanted it to come together before going on stage so they’re not thinking about stuff coming together while dancing live. With that much preparation, “You can just live in that moment [while dancing on that stage].” Their partnership worked out well and she attributes her success to both Marko and his work ethic.

On Thinking Sasha Will Win
Melanie knows that being called “The Favorite” or “The Frontrunner” never works in favor of the contestant on shows like this. She didn’t expect to win and believes Sasha has improved so much and has grown on people throughout the season. “I have nothing but love for her. I was so ready to be second place and tell her how amazing of a job she did.”

On Which Routine She Was Most Proud Of
Out of the many routines Melanie received praise on throughout the season, she was most proud of her Tango routine with Marko. It was their first ballroom style on the show and they got the standard American Tango. She went to explain how the hardest part was keeping connection the whole time. “When I tell you in rehearsals, we kept working at it and working at it. We were rehearsing till 11:45 at night and pounding it into the ground with that number.” To get positive comments was a relief for the two of them. They wanted their first ballroom number to come out well, and she is definitely most proud of it.

On Being an Art Major
Melanie realizes dancing is a hard industry to break into. Her and he mother felt it was smarter to have a backup plan to go off of. Art is her second love and it was her decision to major in art and study it in school. The decision to go to NYC for art revolved around the fact that she could take classes in the city. Her specialty in the arts is oil painting. She enjoys to do portraits. There is nothing yet online to see, but she’ll think about throwing some up there for us to see!

On Winning With 47% of the Vote
Melanie was very surprised on winning by such a large margin considering it was a 4-way vote. “I tried to make sure my personality came through in everything I was saying. I definitely think it had. I always laugh at myself. I hope that I’m relateable to people and they see something in me that inspired them to get up and do something.”

On Critiques From The Judges
Nothing the judges told her throughout the season stuck out in her mind in particular. What they say meant a lot, but “how I felt about the dance is really what’s important to me. Going out and doing the best that I can is what really mattered to me. At the end of the day, it really mattered how I felt and how America felt. I didn’t want to consider myself a frontrunner.” As mentioned earlier, she didn’t wanna add more stress and feel like she had to measure up. “I put enough pressure on as it was, I tried to stay away from thinking that.”

Plans for the Prize Money
Well, what do you know? Melanie wants to use part of her prize money for … wait for it … a really nice carry-on luggage, to feel cool when she travels. Of course, she also plans on putting some money aside for savings.

On Finding Difficulty During Season
Melanie hadn’t been trained in ballroom prior to this show. In fact, ballroom and disco were the two styles she hadn’t taken a class in. They were definitely struggles for her this season. The hip-hop routine with Twitch was also a struggle. “I don’t move so hard and quick. It was so fast and they knew I could do it but it was extremely challenging and I couldn’t have done it without Twitch.” Regardless, we found that Melanie puts her all into challenging and not-so-challenging pieces of work and that it shines in what she brings to the stage.

On Future Plans Post-Tour
After the tour ends this winter, Melanie plans on going back to school and majoring in dance. People have asked her about choreography, but she doesn’t consider herself to be a choreographer. She’s firstly a dancer and looks up to Stacey Tookey and Sonya Tayeh. She’d like to learn how to choreograph and “grow up” and be able to further herself in that.

On Being an All-Star Next Season
“I told them that from the minute I got into the Top 10. Here’s the thing, I got into the Top 10 so I have to be an all-star next year.” She really wants to be an all-star or maybe even an assistant for the choreographers next season … and fans, for one, want that too! Hear that, Mr. Lythgoe?

On Learning From Choreographers
The one choreographer that challenged her the most was Sonya Tayeh. That seems to be a recurring theme with the dancers this season. Sonya appears to be such a huge asset for the show. “I didn’t get to work with her until the end with my dance with Sasha. She pushed me so hard, knew “Game On” would be tough because of the dynamics. She really cares about each and every one of us and has been life changing and inspiring to all of us. I could not have asked for somebody better to work with. She took it to a more of a relationship level, rather than a choreographers stance. Her choreography is ridiculous. When you’re in a piece with her she’s really intimidating and scary. When you dance you know that she’s really watching, caring, and pushing through it with you.”

The Yak would like to thank Melanie for her time and wishes her the best of luck in her future endeavors. It’s been a great season with SYTYCD and chatting with many of the dancers. For those of you going to check them out on tour, enjoy it and let us know how the show goes!


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