Nutmeg Nuggets: Tim Melady seeks passion in ballet applicants
TORRINGTON - Tim Melady looks for passion - a consuming desire to dance - when a young applicant auditions for Nutmeg Ballet.
“In the younger kids I am looking for potential and the ability to understand and the passion to dance, passion for ballet,” he said. “That over body shape, that over everything else.”
Everything else can be taught.
Melady is principal ballet master and one of two national audition tour directors for Nutmeg Ballet. He has recently completed his eighth nationwide audition tour, where he evaluated hundreds of young men and women in more than a dozen states and Canada.
“There are some beautiful dancers in the world,” he said. “And Nutmeg can offer as much as anybody else. We have a wonderful men’s scholarship program. We can offer one or two scholarships for gifted dancers, dancers we think have real potential for the Nutmeg environment.”
As a gifted male dancer and a 1985 Nutmeg graduate, he is able to reach out to young males who might still believe that ballet is “just for girls.”
“There are fewer males in the program than females,” he said. “But I’ve had three boys who had come before and want to come again, and each one is precious to us. Our dance reputation is very good and they want to come here.”
When he represents Nutmeg in the smaller cities and shows them what the school has to offer, Melady sees the dancers’ eyes light up. “They are seeing new things,” he said. “This school has a fantastic international reputation.”
Of course, so do other, bigger schools, but often when a student chooses a bigger school they are dissatisfied, he said. “They will come back and audition for us and say, ‘Oh, I went to that big program last year and I didn’t get any individual attention. Now I am auditioning for Nutmeg because I know you will give me the individual attention. You’ve already given me corrections during the audition.’”
Nutmeg is a standalone ballet school, not a school that is connected to a ballet company, he said. “The advantage we have is that we just train the dancer. There isn’t that kind of aggressive competition to get the eye of the director, to please somebody.”
As a former Nutmeg student, Melady clearly believes in the program. “Everything reaffirms why we do this,” he said. “One of the greatest things is to see all this beauty. These kids really want to become dancers just like I did, just like Victoria (Mazzarelli ’84, artistic director).
“The students he recruits have that same energy and drive that we did,” he said. “We give them that impetus to move forward and become a dancer. The world needs more dancers. We need more dancers. We need more ballet-trained dancers that enjoy and will continue the art form,” he said.
His advice to passionate dancers who want to excel?
“Don’t waste that talent. Don’t waste that energy. Don’t waste that desire, because it’s very rare. Yes, it’s hard to make it, and the payoff isn’t monetary. You are living in this art form and it’s alive.”
Area parents interested in having their dancers audition may contact Nutmeg Conservatory at 860-482-4413 or going to www.nutmegconservatory.org.
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