10 Questions With Alternate Line Dance Leader Rick Melli
While line dance leader Heather Grace Thomas sleeps, her alternates take the stage in her place. Rick Melli was one of the lucky dancer relation captains to be chosen to perform the THON 2016 line dance. We stood with Melli and asked him 10 questions about how his experience has been so far.
Onward State: Why did you want to lead the line dance?
Rick Melli: It’s a once in a lifetime experience. I am in no means a performing artist, I’m a finance major, so that experience is amazing. I also have a lot of pride that we made this. It’s like our baby.
OS: How did you find out you would be leading the line dance?
RM: It was announced at one of our meetings. We had practices where we were being evaluated on how well we knew the words and our energy. We did have one audition for Heather Grace Thomas.
OS: What was your reaction?
RM: I got really excited. Especially since I could pay homage to Ally Zierold who led our line dance last year. It felt like it came full circle.
OS: What is it like to have the attention of the entire BJC?
RM: It is extremely nerve wracking. I’m really happy I got to give it a second chance cause I was really nervous the first time. I was able to give it my all the second time around. I look at things positively instead of negatively, so I try to focus on that instead of the nerves.
OS: How do you decide when you lead the dance and when someone else does?
RM: Everyone is allotted a certain amount of line dancers per person selected. It varies around when Heather Grace Thomas sleeps. Then it’s just based off when everyones schedule and when it fits.
OS: Does it make it more special that you don’t get to perform it as often?
RM: It’s an honor to be able to do it once. Not a lot of people get to do it so I would never take it for granted.
OS: How do you train?
RM: I don’t train that much. The way I look at it, I’m a positive person and that helped me. I brought a lot of energy and that’s what gets me through it.
OS: What do you do when you aren’t leading the line dance?
RM: I help manage all the dancers and my 35 DRCMs with any last minute questions they have or any surprises they fact. We also have different behind the scenes shifts with EMS or dancer storage. We’re basically just manage people.
OS: What is your favorite part of doing the line dance?
RM: Being up there with 20 of my best friends doing a dance we created.
OS: If you were a dinosaur what would you be and why?
RM: I would be the dinosaur with the really long neck. (we’re assuming he meant a brachiosaurus). I’m not very tall I’m only 5’8, so any way that I could get taller I would, even if it meant have a really long neck.