“I’ve danced my entire life,” says Melissa R. Tessier of Sophisticated Productions Dance Competitions, The ADCC’s newest Platinum Member. “When I was 18, my sister opened a dance studio, and I taught for her for a couple of years, then eventually started my own modeling agency.”

Since her agency was in western Massachusetts rather than New York, Melissa decided to host a pageant with a talent competition. “Of the original 25 acts, 23 were solo dancers from other studios,” she recalls. “People said, ‘You run such an organized event; you should run dance competitions.’”

Her next pageant and dance competition had 100 acts, so she closed the modeling agency and has never looked back. “I loved travel, and I loved dance. And I love seeing children have a hobby that keeps them on the right path,” she says. “There were always sports for boys, but 22 years ago there wasn’t a lot for girls. It’s nice to see girls learning and working hard, having a goal to work toward. And it’s important to have really experienced, qualified judges to help dancers develop in a really positive way.”

In its first three years, Sophisticated Productions concentrated on local studios, and eventually branched out, adding more cities each year, until they grew into a national competition. The company has always been a family affair—Melissa’s parents were her earliest supporters and are still a large part of Sophisticated Productions, helping with running the competitions, as well as ordering merchandise, packing for competitions nearly every weekend. “They get as excited as I do whenever we add a new city,” she adds. “What can I say? We’re a dance family.” Her brother Edward is also involved, as one of Sophisticated Productions’ head emcees.

“It’s a very supportive, encouraging, and most of all, inspirational environment, and looking back, I can say it now that joining The ADCC was the best decision for my company.”

“What intrigued me the most about The ADCC is the focus on college scholarships. I’ve felt for a long time that there are plenty of work opportunities for dance professionals, but not enough college level scholarships. There are over 20,000 dance studios in the United States, people working in dance as teachers, judges, performers on and off Broadway, but the need for scholarships is great, and I wanted to be very hands-on with that. I was flattered and honored to be asked by Michelle Kresge to chair the ADCC Scholarship Committee.”

“To be honest, I was nervous going to the Annual Meeting in Las Vegas, since the people attending were my competitors, but everyone was so friendly, so welcoming. We’re all equals, whether we run two dance competitions or twenty. I look forward to each meeting.”

For more information on joining The ADCC, click here.