Photograph by Jayme Thornton
Melendez was born and raised in Tampa, Florida, where she danced from age 4 at a small recreational studio. At 8, she switched to All American Dance Factory and Classical Ballet School, studying and competing in the standard comp-kid fare of jazz, acro, contemporary and hip hop. Before long, she became a regular in the top five at ADC|IBC, World Ballet Competition, YAGP and New York City Dance Alliance.
In 2015, the Ballet West Academy had already offered 15-year-old Tatiana admission to their year-round program when she was spotted at ADC|IBC by Houston Ballet II's ballet master Claudio Muñoz, who was judging. That netted Melendez a full scholarship to the Professional Program at Houston Ballet Academy. After taking time to consider Houston Ballet's rep (contemporary-leaning), her connection with Muñoz, and friends' testimonials about the year-round program, Melendez moved into student housing.
In Houston, Melendez saw no shortage of stage time. She was cast in "The Nutcracker" and Stanton Welch's "Cinderella", on top of all her academy performances. She was also one of a few academy dancers picked by company member Oliver Halkowich for his contemporary piece, "Full Circle". After graduation, Melendez headed to Fort Worth, where she'd landed a trainee contract with Texas Ballet Theater. As a trainee, she danced in the corps of productions like "Swan Lake" and "Beauty and the Beast", was one of six lead women in Ben Stevenson's world premiere "Martinu Pieces", and led multiple performances of "The Nutcracker" as Clara. In 2018, Desmond Richardson, Complexions' co-founder and co-artistic director hired Tatiana to dance roles in pieces such as "WOKE".
After a season and a half of whirlwind touring in New Zealand, Europe and throughout the U.S., Melendez's newfound routine with Complexions has sadly been put on pause in the age of the coronavirus. At home in Tampa with family, she has used the hiatus to pursue her other creative passions of drawing and photography, and to teach Complexions rep as part of the company's virtual offerings. Melendez is looking forward to getting back to work with Complexions, and to continued guest appearances with classical companies, like Italy's Roma City Ballet.