So you want to learn some Latin dance? Well, whether you’re in the mood for Salsa, Merengue, or the Cha Cha, Fort Wayne has a place for it. You just have to enter the world of Melisa McCann.
“I am Puerto Rican and Mexican and ever since I grew up, I had that dynamic in my home,” McCann said. “We’d be in the living room. There would be carpet on the floor and you’d just start dancing and moving because it’s fun. It’s a celebration of life and it’s a part of who I am.”
McCann is a musical force. With a bachelor’s degree in musical theatre performance from Indiana University, she has performed for numerous musical ensembles, choruses, theatrical venues, choirs, and recording projects including New York City Times Square Church on Broadway, Family Christian Center in Munster, Indiana, and currently, The Chapel in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
She’s also recorded various solo music albums. In 2015, she launched her Latin Fusion musical project “Melisa’s Latin Beat” that has been recently featured performing at The Embassy Theatre, University of Saint Francis, Fort Wayne Festival Latino at Headwaters Park, corporate events, and various community engagements.
All that said, McCann is a lifelong ambassador of Latin Dance, and her mission is to infuse its dynamic culture into Fort Wayne.
“Latin dance culture is vibrant in Fort Wayne and it is growing, and the appreciation of it is also growing,” she said. “There is so much you can latch onto from Salsa to Batchata to Cumbia. It represents the culture. It represents the language. It has so many intricate weavings of percussion and sounds that you can’t help but dance when you hear Latin music.”
If the future of Fort Wayne’s Latin dance culture is in McCann’s hands – and feet – then there’s nothing to worry about.
“In the next year to five years, with the Hispanic population continuing to grow, I think we are going to see a very beautiful raising up of the Latin culture,” McCann enthusiastically explained. As Fort Wayne expands and our downtown starts to embrace arts and culture and creates spaces like the new Promenade Park and the Clyde Theatre, you’ll see more Latin dancing and more appreciation for Latin dance.”
For those wanting to get plugged into some cool places to start dancing, she recommends the following: