Melena Rounis’ attributes her versatility as an educator to her diverse and eclectic dance training while growing up in Vancouver, Canada.
She began her training in gymnastics, soon after transitioning in to jazz, and eventually modern, ballet (R.A.D.), musical theatre, lyrical & hip-hop dance. Upon her high school graduation, she received a summer scholarship to train at Toronto Dance Theatre, and then attended Simon Fraser University (BFA Dance program) to learn about Graham, Cunningham, Limo & Horton techniques. She often spent her evenings and weekends performing, or attending drop in classes and conventions where she trained in commercial, hip hop & street dance styles (Locking, Breaking, Popping, House, Waacking, Voguing). She has travelled to China performing traditional Chinese fan dance with a Canadian troupe in international dance festivals, and even holds a North American Bhangra dance Championship title with a Canadian team.
As a performer, her credits include Cirque du Soleil (Michael Jackson Immortal World Tour and in Las Vegas at The Beatles LOVE), America’s Got Talent, American Idol, Next Top Model, Latin American Music Awards, as well as MusiCares with Sir Paul McCartney, and various other artists like Pitbull, French Montana & Daddy Yankee to name a few.
Melena’s most recent body of work as a choreographer can be seen in theaters this Summer 2020 in the new Musical ’A Week Away’ (@aweekawaymovie). Other choreographic endeavors include Associate Directing and Choreographing two tours for Sesame Street Live! (‘Let’s Party’ and ‘Make Your Magic’), as well as research and development projects for Walt Disney Imagineering, Knott’s Berry Farm Amusement Park, Universal Dance Awards, Dancing with The Stars, Honda, Comedy Central, Kmart, AIDS Health Foundation, ABC’s reality hit ‘The Proposal’, and Christian Louboutin.
For over 20 years, Melena has been an enthusiastic and impassioned educator in a variety of dance styles. Motivating from a place of love and support, she will instill confidence and knowledge in you while driving you to be your best. She is a believer that, like language, the more dance styles you know the easier it is to pick up new ones and cross reference concepts to add to your bag. This is how her knowledge became so expansive as a student of dance. Melena has taught and adjudicated extensively throughout Canada, the United States, Australia and Mexico, doing everything from large scale conventions, summer intensives, guest master classes, choreography or private sessions. Her expansive teaching vocabulary includes Street Jazz/Jazz Funk, Hip Hop, Locking, House, Jazz, Musical Theater, Heels, Lyrical and Pilates (yes, she’s certified in that too).
Melena is grateful to use her wealth of experience as a student, performer, choreographer and artistic mind to continue to create, educate, and entertain the world. She looks forward to helping you do the same!