The three-time “Mi Sueño Es Bailar” contestant tells you why it’s important to allow comedy to have a role in your Quinceanera dance.
The 20+ years as a professional dancer and choreographer that back Melissa Pastrana’s name were recognized after the pubic voted her and dance partner Don Cheto champions of the first season of “Mi Sueño Es Bailar”. But when Season 2 of Estrella TV’s Dancing with the Stars-esque competition came around and the young Cuban-American was partnered with actor Hector Soberon, their lack of chemistry ultimately cost them the title and the opportunity to make come true the dream of a family in need.
But the loss and less-than-ideal partner did not leave Pastrana with a bitter taste of mouth. Currently, she is paired with Gerardo Gallardo for the third season of the show, which is currently running.
According to the dancer, a combination of the win, the loss and her years as a professional choreographer have taught her to work through personal differences in order to produce amazing dance routines. Through these very insightful tips, Pastrana tells you how you can learn from her experiences in order to make the best out of your Quinceanera dance and waltz.
What were some of Don Cheto’s traits that made him a good partner?
Season 1 was flawless and his sense of humor definitely helped in that. Don Cheto is known for being comedic so it was very fun to be around him. Physically he was very strong since the beginning, which came in handy for lifts and such. He also put a lot of effort into really wanting to win; I think the judges and the public saw that, which is why we won.
What happened in Season 2?
That season was way more dramatic because I didn’t get along with my partner. I had to have a lot of patience with Hector because he didn’t take my experience very seriously. He wasn’t’ as committed as Don Cheto was. Now in Season 3 I’m back
to a good place because my new dance partner, Gerardo, is really trying to learn. Musically, he has more rhythm that Don Cheto but wants to win just as much as Don Cheto did.
How have your partner’s personalities affected your performances?
There were a few times that their goofiness would stray our practice but they are good in recovering and getting back to work. At one point the judges called out Don Cheto for goofing off too much during a performance, but next time around he gave a good balance of funny and professional.
So comedy in choreography is a good thing?
When it’s appropriate, yes. Obviously you need to have a balance of that and of technique. Plus, people will forgive you messing up if you’re having fun.
When working with people with little dance experience what’s the best way to choreograph a dance?
Edit the choreography according to the dancer’s experience. If certain steps are too difficult, change them to where they feel comfortable doing them. Even the simplest of steps can be made to look elegant if they are done comfortably.
Does height or weight matter when pairing partners?
Don Cheto and Gerardo are both on the chunky side, but that didn’t matter because they both had the will to win. And although it is easier for dancers to dance with a person to their height, it’s not completely necessary.
What must a good Quinceanera dance include?
A beginning, middle and end. Also, a little bit of footwork, using the floor space and including movements that are entertaining for the audience. But most importantly the dance has to have a strong ending because it’s what everyone is going to remember. You can also use props for fun.
What personality traits must a Quince girl have in order to lead a Quinceanera dance rehearsal?
She has to flexible and patient with people’s dance experience, and always stay by her partner’s side regardless of anything. Also, whatever happens just stay positive and allow comedy to have a role in the dance. Remember that messing up is a part of the learning process.
Photos: Claudio LoVo
Take a look at the video of Melissa meeting her former dance partner, Don Cheto, for the first time. After seeing his funny moves and personality, it’s no wonder why the couple were the champions of “Mi Sueño Es Bailar” Season One.
This post is also available in: Spanish