This archived article was written by: Michael Babb
“The best thing about being a dancer is that no matter how silly you look or how goofy it is, you still get to have fun,” I heard Melissa Anast exclaim in class. This toe tapping, rhythmic moving teacher took time off and sat down for an interview.
Anast was born in Price and graduated from Carbon High School.
“Afterward I attended College of Eastern Utah two years and was part of the drill team here as well. I then attended the University of Nevada at Las Vegas (UNLV) where I received my bachelor’s in dance and my Pilates certificate.”
“After that I attended graduate school for dance choreography, followed by Mills College in Oakland, Calif.”
She advises Eagle Dancers at CEU, an all-woman’s dance team that does hip-hop and jazz movements that boggle our minds with their stunning dance moves.
“Well, I would hope that they would all be like that, I take my time choreographing the dances to my standards and my team’s standards. We do a lot of jazz and hip-hop, it’s really exciting fun,” Anast said.
Drill is a competitive sport, that takes endurance and being able to handle stress under pressure, Anast cannot be the only one working, she needs the help of her captains on the team. “I have captains, two of them, they help me with things that I can’t do alone, but the other girls help me as well, and are just as important. My two captains are Laurel Lemon, a returning drill dancer from last year, and Lexi Yelonek.”
The whole time being a teacher, Anast has to come up with so much, sometimes with very little. It’s always amazing to see what comes up next.
“I do all the moves, I come up with the counts and steps as well. The girls give input on the dance, I do the choreography and we all share the fun.”
Other than performing in class and performing in the games, Anast hopes to give back to her community for all the support they have given her. “Well nothing is on for right now, but I hope to do something within the community, something beyond the games.”
Being in dance takes the ability to move across the floor and work as a team instead of being just a one-woman show, Anast needs all of them to rely on. “I just don’t have one best dancer, they’re all amazing dancers. Each of the girls show different strengths and weaknesses, for instance if one girl on the team didn’t get it, the other girls will help her along.”
Anast has spent her entire life dancing. “I started dancing when I was two years old, I went to the Linda Johnstun’s Dance School, and from there I made up routines for my friends and neighbors. I was in talent competitions and other fun events growing up.”