Emma Melikyan (photo by Anna Tüür)

Emma Melikyan: Dancing and Choreographing in Spain

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YEREVAN / ALICANTE, Spain – Emma Melikyan is a dancer of different dance styles, choreographer and dance instructor. She was born in 1984, in Yerevan; her father is a violinist and her mother a psychologist. She has been dancing jazz and modern since the age of 11. Emma studied at Juan Carlos and Complutense Universities of Madrid, improved at the Royal Society of Choreographers in London and Broadway Dance Center in New York. In 2006, she was one of the main actresses of the “Desordances 2” dance performance in Teatro Madrid in Madrid. In 2000-2011 she taught hip-hop at El Orno and Beatrice Luengo dance schools in Madrid, directed and danced at Dani Panullo’s dance theater, as well as performed during pop singer Maria Sanchez’s international tours. In 2009-2010 Emma Melikian was a paratherapy specialist at the Yehudi Menuhin Foundation in Madrid, and since 2013, a choreographer and choreographer at the Quiero Ser Artista Art School and the WOSAP Dance School in Madrid.

Emma, you dance and teach jazz, hip hop, street dance and other dances. Living in a country with such a rich dance culture, have you ever been interested in Spanish dances?

Sure, I have been very interested in Spanish dances: although never learned in a professional way, but I do not discard it. I always been focused on improving the styles I danced since I was little, but the power and personality of flamenco dance really do move me, so who knows, maybe in the near future I will decide to learn in a more professional way.

Emma Melikyan’s dancing (photo by Sergio Miguelez)

In 2007, you received the award for best dancer for your performance in the video for the song Toca Toca by famous Spanish hip hop artist Mala Rodríguez, recognized as the best video of the year. Please tell us about this cooperation.

This cooperation was very interesting and a whole experience for me. Mala was one of the trending female artist of that moment, so working with her was a blessing. The video shoot was very fun and challenging; we danced in very high heels which were tied to our feet with tape, so we could not take them off during the entire shoot, which was very, very long. I also traveled with Mala to do some shows, so the entire experience was really positive. 

How is it to live as a dancer in Spain?

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I think in general, living as a dancer is a road of ups and downs. Being a teacher brings some balance to my profession.

Do you have students that made you proud of them?

Of course, and it is not about what they accomplished professionally, it is about their growth as dancers and human beings. I teach not only dance, but also, I work on their confidence, mental strength, balance, self-esteem, and overcoming fears. Becoming someone better is a part of being a better dancer, and that is so much to be proud as a teacher!

You have been living in Spain since you were 9. How do you manage to be able to read and write in Armenian and keep your Armenian identity in that country?

Well, even though I grew up in Spain, I grew up in a very Armenian family, so keeping my identity was not a choice. It is true, that when I was an adolescent, I blended in with Spanish culture more than now, as with growing my roots got much stronger. Reading and writing is a whole challenge because I had to learn by myself and I really have to train every day to maintain the knowledge, but I do it with love and pleasure and challenging myself and looking forward to the moment I go back to Armenia. I also very strong in maintaining my roots and identity to be able to teach my daughter who she is.

Please tell us also about your cooperation with dancers of Armenia.

I lived in Armenia for some years and cooperated with many Armenian dancers, and it was one of the best experiences of my life. In Armenia there are so many talents, so much passion, and I enjoyed every single day working there surrounded by dancers, doing what we love. Definitely, I am looking forward to some future collaborations, which I cannot reveal for now, but hopefully – soon.

 And what do you do currently?

Currently I am teaching Heels dance in Alicante, a style based in jazz technique, with a sexy, feminine twist. My style is very personal and classy inside of Heels dance, and a lot of girls and women are willing to learn this style of dance. I am giving group classes and private lessons, as well as professional preparation for dancers. In addition, I work as a choreographer for local and international singers, performing mainly rhythm and afro fusion.

And what about Armenian dances?

Actually, I never tried, I do learn some movements and obviously get inspired by Armenian dance, but I never had the chance to learn… For now …

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