September 19, 2012

RIP Cody Melin

Cody Melin has left this world.

I know what that means, but do you know what that means? I'm sure you're watching and wondering at the outpouring of love for Cody's life and his family all over the social networks. And that's because Cody's story started so long ago, that those of us who were there remember it extremely well, but have a difficult time putting it into words for you and today's world.

I hope my words and my story will help you understand what we have lost, and why we will miss him so much. It's just my story- it's the best I can do. I hope others will share their stories too...

Cody Melin during his Country Western Days

This is the Cody I first met. No, he didn't have a cowboy hat on at the time, but he still stood out in a crowd. Oh my, did he ever stand out. I remember it as if it were yesterday.

It was my very first dance convention. A Tom Mattox convention actually. My parents were crazy crazy into CW dancing and I had picked it up, I think, out of pure survival in that house. But it was summer and my best friend and I were curious about all these "dance conventions" we kept hearing about, so we drove all the way out together and walked into the lobby to take a look.

As we hesitantly stood in line at my very first registration desk, Cody walked by and stopped at the table next to us. If I remember correctly, I just stared. I might have even dropped my jaw a little. It was like seeing Baryshnikov walk by up close and in person. I remember instantly nudging my friend and whispering, "Now THAT is a dancer!" I didn't know much about this competition world, but I knew one thing... I would give anything, anything, to dance with this man before I died.

So I bought a ticket. 

And the rest is history.
Cody with Former Partner Resa Henderson*

Did I ever dance with Cody? Absolutely. I'll never forget that first dance. I was a total nobody at the time, and pretty darn shy about asking other men to dance, but I believe he was the first teacher I ever asked to dance. And I chose, oh-so wisely.

Because his rap sheet is long. A trained master of 30 or more dances, he's been a champion of almost every one:
  • World Champion
  • Ballroom Champion
  • Cabaret Champion
  • Masters Champion
  • Theatre Arts Champion
  • Mambo/Salsa Champion
  • Showcase Swing Champion 
  • Strictly Swing Champion
  • Break dance/Lock & Pop Champion
  • Hip-Hop/Funk Champion
  • Hustle Champion
That's right. I told you it was like watching Baryshnikov walk by! Looking back, I realize that I had no clue of what I was looking at. I didn't know how much technique was in action by his simple act of walking and standing... I just knew it was... stunning. I look back now and think- "wow, he was doing this, and he was doing this and dang... he was even doing this!" And that just goes to show you that, untrained eye or not, newbies know good dancers when they see it.

Cody has lived three lives since that one day so long ago. As have I. But needless to say, a dancer like that does nothing short of leaving a huge impact upon those lives he touched.

I am so grateful I knew him. I am so grateful you were ever able to see him dance. And I hope you can understand why those of us who have been around a while are feeling the incredible loss so deeply. Our champions of dance leave us too quickly... Cody Melin, Jason Colacino, Wayne Bott... they are leaving us and we are hit hard. So think of Cody along with us... and may our prayers and thoughts reach the family he has left behind as well.

With love & memory,

*Video Note: I attached the video above in Weekly Note #40. The video is of Cody long after I met him...notice the speed, the quick and perfect stops, the control and the extremely difficult moves that they made look easy... we haven't seen the likes in many years... Please enjoy celebrating his memory by watching with us. xoxo, K