IN MEMORIAM: 1927-2021
Melba Huber was founder and president of Melba’s Inc, a world-class dance studio in McAllen, Texas that houses seven dance studios and a retail dancewear store. Melba’s opened in 1958. Melba was the founder of McAllen Dance Theatre that performs every February and in many local events.
Melba was the first person outside of New York to receive the prestigious Flo Bert Award at Lincoln Center. She has been honored by Oklahoma City University on two occasions and in October of 2011 presented a three-day workshop for the dance department. OCU is considered to have the best dance training in the world. The Texas Senate recognized Melba in 1997 and presented her the Texas state flag. In l998, she was presented the Savion Glover Award at the St. Louis Tap Festival and in 2006 Savion honored Melba at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. Other honors are from Tradition In Tap, Dallas Arts Council, Detroit Festival, Plaudit Award, and Who’s Who in the World, America, American Women and Education.
Melba was often introduced in New York as “the most published writer of tap in the world.” For twenty years she wrote a tap column for two major dance magazines. Her columns are available for reading at MelbasDance.com. She served as president of The Texas Association Teachers of Dancing and board member of Dance Masters of America. She introduced the first competitive gymnastics in south Texas.
Melba’s former students are everywhere in various forms of dance, gymnastics, exercise, ballroom and performing on Broadway. Melba conducts panels on tap history every year in New York and St. Louis. Melba is a conservator of American dance in the truest sense of the word. Her legacy lives on in all whose lives she touched.
Julie is on her 11th year as the director of Melba’s Dance School. She has been part of the Melba’s family for 31 years. She also serves as the artistic director for McAllen Dance Theatre.
She has been in charge of advanced programs for 15 years with specialties in ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, musical theatre and gymnastics. She was a dance major at Oklahoma City University where she was part of their American Spirit Company and selected for the international touring company. Julie received her Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics. Her other certifications include: a 10-year member of the Texas Association of Teachers Dancing and the International Tap Association. She has received annual merit scholarships to tap festivals across the country.
Julie’s choreographic talents match Broadway levels in the advanced classes and she is equally skilled in the preschool levels that she loves. She has been invited as a guest teacher to host master classes at Oklahoma City University. Other works include choreographing musicals for both local high schools and local theatre companies. Julie choreographed the children’s musicals “Annie” and “Babes in Toyland”, as well as adult summer theatre projects such as “Chicago” and “Pippin”. In addition, the has developed her own original Christmas productions and staged her own original ballet in 2009. Julie created and developed various community projects such as "Breakfast with Santa”, and she choreographed the opening show for the McAllen Performing Arts Center.
Julie has enjoyed creating and implementing new programs at Melba’s such as toddler classes, adult dance and fitness, folkloric, musical theatre and competitive dance programs. Under her direction, Melba’s Dance has grown into a new and modern school with a staff that rivals any world-renowned institution. She believes that Melba’s Dance is more of a community than a school, and she continues to follow her dreams to make a positive difference in the lives of our children and adolescents through dance education.
CATHIE EILEEN MOROLES
Cathie is an instructor and choreographer for Melba’s pre-school, developmental, and adult ballet and jazz classes. She has been a faculty member for 16 years. Cathie was dance captain for the NBA D-League Snake Charmers dance team. In 2008, she auditioned for the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders and made it as a finalist in training camp. She was the lead role (Velma Kelly) in the musical “Chicago.” Cathie is now certified in ballet through the Texas Association of Teachers in Dance. Cathie’s talents extend far beyond just dance. She is a true triple threat and hopes to inspire all children to find their passion and conquer their goals.
Ricardo “Ricky” Flores has been a faculty member for 6 years and serves as the choreographer and artistic director for Senior and Junior Company ballet. He is also a choreographer for Senior Company Jazz, Developmental Ballet and Folklorico. Ricky trains dancers of all levels in various fields including ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, Folklorico dance and more. He has performed for two different Presidents at the White House. Ricky’s choreography has been featured in various musicals across the Rio Grande Valley. He is certified in ballet through the Texas Association of Teachers in Dance. When not at Melba’s, he is a speech language pathologist at a local rehabilitation facility. He holds a Masters of Science from Abilene Christian University. Ricky enjoys teaching children and adults at studios all around Texas and hopes to continue motivating young dancers to reach for their dreams.
Hannah has been a part of the Melba’s family for three years. Hannah specializes in jazz. She helped develop Melba’s toddler programs and also coordinated Melba’s first competitive dance program. Since the start of the dance program in 2017, the competition team has doubled in size and will compete in two competitions for this season. Hannah also serves as the choreographer for Melba’s Senior Company jazz. Aside from competitive and advanced courses, Hannah also teaches in developmental jazz and preschool tap. This summer, Hannah was certified in jazz through the Texas Association of Teachers in Dance. After dancing competitively and graduating with her Bachelor of Science from Sam Houston State University in 2013, Hannah went on to live in Los Angeles, California where she taught, danced and choreographed in the professional industry. She is happy to call Melba’s Dance her home.
Lauren is in her 6th year of teaching at Melba’s, with specialties in hip hop, jazz, lyrical and musical theatre. She serves as the head teacher and choreographer for all developmental and advanced hip hop as well as Melba’s Junior 1 jazz company. In addition, she’s a teacher for our competitive teams, serving as choreographer for group and soloist pieces. Raised in McAllen, she started training at the age of 14 with numerous accomplishments as a competitive dancer. After graduating high school, she traveled to NYC to train at the American Musical & Dramatic Academy for musical theatre. This past summer, Lauren was certified in jazz through the Texas Association of Teachers in Dancing.
Susan graduated with a bachelors degree in Dance Performance and is now working on her second bachelors degree in Mass Communication. Susan danced at the collegiate level for Flamenco, Ballet and Ballet Folklorico. This will be Susan’s fourth year teaching at Melba’s, she teaches ballet for the development levels and has helped with the upper level and company ballet. Susan has attended a variety of workshops to increase her dance knowledge. She had the honor of performing at the Kennedy Center in Washington D. C. on her last year of her undergraduate career.
Naileah Garza, also known as "Leah", is in her fifth year on Melba's staff. She now serves as a developmental Folklorico and hip-hop teacher and assistant in many of the classes. She's currently a Senior at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Naileah not only cherishes teaching children but wishes to obtain a degree in Dance Education. She has been dancing since the age of three. Naileah grew up dancing in competition teams, drill teams, the UTRGV dance team, and is still dancing at the collegiate level with Ballet Folklorico at South Texas College.
Veronica Leal has been studying dance for over nine years. She began her education at Melba’s School of Dance and is continuing her studies at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley as a Dance Major. She currently teaches and assists Jazz and Ballet classes at Melba's.
DANCE SHOPPE STAFF
Delilah has been a key member of the Melba’s family for 17 years. She is the manager of the retail store at Melba’s and also serves as the merchandiser. In addition to retail, Delilah is the accounts administrator at the school, and her creative eye helps play a valuable role in costume and set design in both the February and May shows.