»Briefly describe your daily/weekly workout routine.
A mix of classes and competition of ballet, jazz, tap, lyrical and hip-hop.
»What inspired you to begin a regular fitness routine?
My mom got me into a dance class at another studio at age 3.
»What’s one of your favorite parts of dance?
I just think it’s cool to be able to learn to move your body in different ways then you ever thought you could.
»Do you watch a lot of other dancers?
I have been glued to YouTube dance videos ever since I can remember. I’d have to say my favorite dancer is Maddie Ziegler from Lifestyle’s “Dance Moms” TV reality show. I can relate to her a lot.
»How do you make time to work out?
Until this school year, I have been a cheerleader since seventh grade. I just wanted to focus a little more on dance this year.
» Have you lost weight or gained muscle mass through working out? How much?
I definitely gained muscle mass while I was in a weight training class at East. But through ballet, it has been well-toned. So it’s not like it’s really bulky muscle.
»Any dance elements you struggle with, but do anyway?
My ballet teacher will kill me, but ballet is not my favorite. Still, I understand that everything is spun off ballet. It would be hard to do all this other dance and be really bad at ballet.
»Do you have a favorite artist to dance to?
I really like (British pop artist) Birdy. Her music is so soft and flowing, and I can easily move to it.
»Do you follow any special diet or eating plan? If so, describe briefly. Do you “cheat” much?
Not really. I just watch the amount I eat, not necessarily what I eat. If I ever snack (on junk), it would have to be Oreo cookies.
»A favorite fitness or dance moment, such as when you reached a certain goal or overcame a plateau?
I was a part of a team — Sonya’s Dance Zone Senior Team — that won nationals three times, including last year with a trio in Sandusky, Ohio. And we have had younger teams win nationals as well.
»What do you do to motivate yourself when you just don’t want to work out?
Mostly, in my mind, I tell myself that I’ll be in a better mood when I get there. And I really do always end up being in a better mood, because I’m surrounded by all these people who make me laugh.
»What advice would you give someone who wants to begin working out?
Never give up.
— Compiled by staff writer Brian Blair
[sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”About Melissa Denney” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]
School: Senior at Columbus East High School.
Family: Parents Brett and Sonya Denney; sister Nici, a member of the Indiana Pacemates squad performing for the Indiana Pacers.
Where you work out: Sonya’s Dance Zone in Columbus.
Hours per week: 15 at the studio.