Melinda Sullivan

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Melinda Sullivan
Melinda Sullivan.jpg
Born (1987-09-30) September 30, 1987 (age 29)
East Meadow, New York
Occupation Choreographer, dancer, actress

Melinda Sullivan (born September 30, 1987) is an American dancer, choreographer and actress. She is known for her work on the U.S. version of So You Think You Can Dance, where she was a finalist in the television series' seventh season, and as the 2012 winner of the Capezio A.C.E. Award. That entry, "Gone", debuted in expanded form in New York in August 2013.

Background, career[edit]

Born in East Meadow, New York, and raised in Thousand Oaks, California, Sullivan began tap dancing at a studio at age four, turning professional at age 14. Her mentors included Jason Samuels Smith and Chloe Arnold.[1] As a high school senior, she won a role in the Cats 25th anniversary touring company, followed by the inaugural national tour of High School Musical on Stage!.[2]

In 2009, she played Zoe Finn in the American soap opera As the World Turns.[3] The following year, she finished 9th place in the seventh season of the U.S. version of So You Think You Can Dance; it was the furthest any tap dancer had gone on the show[4] until fellow tap contestant Aaron Turner finally topped her record in Season 10. In 2011, Sullivan toured with Jason Samuels Smith's A.C.G.I. troupe, which blended an improvisational style with traditional dance choreography.[5][2] In 2016, she danced in the film La La Land''s opening number, "Another Day of Sun", which was shot at the interchange of the Interstate 105 and 110 freeways.[6]


In 2012, Sullivan's dancing and choreography on her work "Gone" won Dance Teacher magazine's Capezio A.C.E. Award and its $15,000 production budget to create a show in New York. "In weathered boots and dresses that could have crossed the plains in a covered wagon, six tap dancers not only drill it down with their feet, they use their full bodies to convey loss and grief", wrote Dance Magazine. "'Gone' is a moody work that blends the drama of modern dance with the heart-pumping thrill of rhythm tap." The magazine named her among the "25 to Watch" for 2013.[7][8]

An expanded version, Gone: A Sound and Theater Project, debuted at New York's Ailey Citigroup Theater on August 5, 2013, with a new score by Nikos Syropoulos. New York Times dance critic Brian Seibert noted Sullivan's aim of bridging two schools of tap dancing, rooted respectively in jazz and musical theater, and called it "a worthy goal" of admirable ambition, but felt that the story didn't cohere and the choreography was uneven. He called Sullivan's depiction of her grandmother as a young woman and a flashback set in Central Park "the work’s best scene. Here Ms. Sullivan, with a sly smile and a sense of wonder, is at her most engaging, and her choreography—setting the romantic duet amid interference by her six-member female ensemble—captures some of the playful joy of the musical-theater tradition." Seibert concluded that "what Ms. Sullivan is trying is very hard. The flaws of 'Gone' are no reason she shouldn't keep going."[9]


Title Role[10]
Dance Gone choreographer/dancer
Film It's Complicated dancer
G.I. Joe 2: Retaliation
La La Land
Television As the World Turns Zoe Finn
So You Think You Can Dance contestant
Dancing with the Stars dancer
How to Rock
Theater High School Musical on Stage! ensemble
Cats swing

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Thays, Emily Macel (May 2012). "Quick Q&A: Melinda Sullivan". Dance Magazine. Retrieved 10 November 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Smith, Janet (September 1, 2011). "Melinda Sullivan follows the rhythm at the Vancouver International Tap Festival". Georgia Straight (Vancouver, BC). Retrieved 11 November 2012. 
  3. ^ Nguyen, Hanh (June 16, 2010). "'SYTYCD': Melinda on 'As the World Turns,' Alexie on 'Huggabug Club'". Zap2It. Retrieved 10 November 2012. 
  4. ^ Davis, Hannah (August 19, 2010). "Reality TV Showdown". VC Reporter. Retrieved 11 November 2012. 
  5. ^ Macaulay, Alaistair (July 26, 2009). "Where a Week's Typical Fare Is Beyond a Standard Plié". New York Times. Retrieved 1 August 2013. 
  6. ^ "La La Land Production Notes" (PDF). Lionsgate Publicity. Summit Entertainment. Retrieved September 17, 2016. 
  7. ^ Feller, Alison (July 31, 2012). "Melinda Sullivan Rocks the A.C.E. Awards". DanceSpirit Magazine. Retrieved 10 November 2012. 
  8. ^ "2013 25 to Watch". Dance Magazine. January 2013. Retrieved 8 January 2013. 
  9. ^ Seibert, Brian (August 6, 2013). "A Show That Marries Pure, Rhythmic Tap to Its Musical-Theater Cousin: Melinda Sullivan Brings 'Gone' to Ailey Citigroup Theater". New York Times. Retrieved 14 August 2013. 
  10. ^ "Melinda Sullivan: bio". Retrieved 2 January 2013.