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HomeMelissa McCann

MELISSA McCANN 16  Buster Cooper Jazz Scholarship

Melissa McCann has been dancing since she was three years old at a local studio, where, while growing up, she discovered her purpose and passion in life. She has competed in many competitions, but has learned that dance isn’t all about the trophies and ribbons. To Melissa, dance is the most powerful way she can express herself. She can’t always say the right words to express how she feels, but when the music is playing she can speak in all languages. Dance isn’t just what I do because my mom signed me up when I was three and drove me to class, but I do it because I truly love it. I feel that no matter where my life takes me, I’ll be happy if I’m dancing.

In her words: "When I was little I used to dream of my name in lights on Broadway, and as I have grown and matured I have become more realistic. Although that may be something I secretly dream of, my real goal in life is to simply make it as a professional dancer and live happily. My dream is not to be famous, but to be living my life doing something I truly love and have such a strong passion for. I want to be able to make an impact on people’s lives. I feel that I was put on this earth to dance and I hope that I can successfully pursue that as my career. I think I should be considered for this scholarship because I am not a perfect dancer and I am the first one to admit that. I have a long way to go with so much to learn, but I have a passion. My steps may need to be fine tuned and there is a world of dance I am unfamiliar with, but with my passion I am willing to take a chance and be open minded. Dance is what I love, and I would love to spend my summer dancing."


My dance experience this summer helped me grow tremendously in all directions thanks to the scholarship I received from Mr. Buster Cooper and the Dance Council. Without this scholarship, my experiences would not have been possible. The opportunities given to me at Point Park Universities International Summer Dance Intensive were all I could have asked for and more. Upon being placed in the highest level for my jazz and modern classes and the second highest level for ballet, I was able to work with some of the top choreographers and dancers in the country including Kwang-suk Choi, Bob Vickrey and Jordeen Ivanov-Ericson for ballet, Jill Randolph-Lazzini, William McClellan and David Storey for jazz, Kevin Maloney, Danielle Pavlik and Kyle Richards for modern, Melissa Yanchak for voice and Wayne Brinda for acting. All of these teachers inspired me to continue dancing and really opened my eyes to all the different styles available to me. Kyle Richards’ modern class is one that I will always remember because he taught me how to move in the most natural way, which turned out to be the hardest way to move. He did not teach my class specific “steps” but instead allowed us to interpret the movement and the music the way we wanted to individually. Each one of my classes taught me something interesting that I could not have learned back home at my local studio.
Upon arriving at Point Park, I was focused on achieving two main goals during my three weeks of study; absorbing as much new and imperative information as possible and strengthening my skills at improvisation. I have recently realized how important improvisation is, and luckily for me, improvisation was immense part of all my classes. I learned how to improv with a partner and how not to be afraid to discover new ways of moving. Point Park’s International Dance Intensive well surpassed my expectations and I feel that my goals were most certainly attained. This three week intensive was by far the highlight of my summer.
Overall, Point Park opened my eyes to a world of dance I was very unfamiliar with. I learned new styles I had very little exposure to and was able to work with so many extremely creative and talented faculty members. This intensive also showed me that my goal in life is to really be a dancer, even after experiencing all the long, hard days of work one has to put in to become a successful dancer. To be honest, it was not always the easiest to wake up every morning knowing that it was summer and all my friends could sleep in, but truthfully I wish every morning I was still there and could wake up and go to dance class from nine to five- thirty. Thank you so much to the Dance Council and to Mr. Cooper for choosing me as your scholarship recipient, because without this scholarship, attending this intensive would not have been possible. It was one of the best experiences of my life!