This page is dedicated to Melanie Webb. Mel made a tremendous impact on the lives of many and helped to grow this company in numerous ways. Without Mel, we would not be where we are today.
She was responsible for helping us get into our first gym.
She helped launch our first instructor training.
She was a talented choreographer and a ROCKSTAR instructor.
She was an incredible listener and gave the best advice.
She made everything fun.
Mel played an integral role in making SHiNE Dance Fitness what it is today, but her biggest contribution of all was her friendship with everyone in this community.
“Hope is the ability to hear the music of the future.
Faith is the courage to dance to it today.”
– Peter Kuzmic –
Let’s take you back to 2010. Melanie was at the tail end of her treatment from being diagnosed with breast cancer for the first time when she saw a plastic sign on the side of the road that said “DANCE FITNESS CLASS.” After the intense treatment of chemo, radiation and a lumpectomy, Mel was looking for something lighthearted and fun. She was a self-proclaimed “gym rat” and lifting weights was part of her weekly routine, but she wanted something that gave her joy and a creative outlet. The day she walked into the studio, her hair was short and spunky. She was growing it out from chemo, and she carried herself with confidence, a wee bit of a strut, and an infectious smile.
I was just starting to develop what is now known as “SHiNE Dance Fitness,” and felt like an amateur with zero experience being an instructor, or for that matter, a student. I was never a fan of fitness and had a feeling of imposter syndrome happening when I first met Mel. When she first walked in, I was like, “Oh my gosh, a REAL fitness person is here!” I felt so insecure and nervous. The music started and we began to move and that’s when I heard “the giggle.” I looked over and saw Mel smiling and laughing and it lasted for the entire class.
Being my insecure, amateur self, I assumed she was laughing AT me, which made perfect sense. I approached her after class to feel her out and she apologized for laughing. She said she had not had that much fun in a really long time, and she proceeded to tell me about her battle with cancer. I loved her from that moment forward and “the giggle” was no longer intimidating, but one of Mel’s most endearing qualities.
Mel continued to come to class and it was clear how talented she was, so I asked her if she ever wanted to stick around and play with some choreography. She said yes and from then on we would meet regularly for choreo sessions, which included so much laughter and silliness.
With Melanie’s influence, the intensity of the routines increased and Mel also brought a more technical flare to the choreo which challenged us mentally and physically. As the years progressed and SHiNE continued to grow, Mel not only assisted with choreography but became one of our most beloved SHiNE Online instructors. Her reach touched individuals around the globe. She had the perfect balance of being tough, funny and sincere and she always made people feel seen and special.
In January of 2020, Melanie was about to be cleared for being 10 years cancer free when she discovered a suspicious growth while doing her regular self exam. This growth happen to be in the same exact location as the first time she was diagnosed with breast cancer. After doing further testing she found out that the growth she felt was cancer.
Between January and September Melanie had a double mastectomy, chemotherapy, a reconstructive surgery and was back on the dance floor by October 2020! In spring of 2021 she began to not feel so well. Doctors suspected she had Covid, but never did they predict that the cancer had returned.
It was during our SHiNE Instructor Summit in September of 2021 that she knew something was not right. She immediately scheduled a doctor’s appointment to get further tests done. It was approximately one month later – October 13th, to be exact – that she found out the cancer had spread to her lungs and her liver. She received this devastating news on National Metastatic Breast Cancer Day.
Melanie approached her battle with cancer with a warrior mentality driven by hope and optimism. She would not dwell on the negative, but cling to any ounce of positivity that would give her the will to keep fighting. She had two sons and they most definitely were her driving force to stay strong even on the dark days.
When we first received the news, I remember Melanie’s tears welling up in her eyes and she said, “I’m afraid I won’t be able to dance again.” It broke her to think that she would not be strong enough to do the thing that brought her soul so much joy. It took awhile but in late spring of 2022, Melanie was taking a chemotherapy treatment that allowed her to come back to the dance floor and do some SHiNE classes at the studio. I felt like I was witnessing a miracle because it almost seemed superhuman. Melanie didn’t stop there. With the help of her sister, she created two routines that were released in July, and she led one of the routines on YouTube just two months before she passed. She shared that despite not going “full out” or being the “badass” on the dance floor she was known for, she knew it would do more harm if she didn’t show up at all. Surrounding herself with music, positive energy, and her SHiNE community was the best medicine of all.
Seven days before Melanie passed she did a SHiNE class from a chair. She was all smiles and when Mel would dance you would never know the battle she was fighting inside that petite yet fierce body of hers. I have never met anyone who loved to SHiNE more than Mel. She inspires me to see beyond the physical workout and see the heart work that is being done.
Mel was blown away by how the SHiNE community came together to support her emotionally and financially. I remember her saying that it opened her eyes to her worth and she was seeing for the first time the impact she had made on so many. She said it allowed her to realize it was more than just a fitness class, it was her purpose.
Watch this video to see the magic of Mel first-hand and get a glimpse at the incredible impact she made on our community.
Dance with Mel
We’re beyond grateful to have Mel’s lively spirit and infectious giggle captured in several hours of recorded classes and choreography sessions. We invite you to check out Mel’s House in the online portal (available to PLUS members) so you can dance with Mel and experience her energy and love for dance so that we can keep her spirit alive.
Mel’s Scholarship Fund
In honor of Mel, we’ve started a scholarship fund to ensure others can experience the magic of dance just like she did. Mel’s Scholarship Fund provides financial support for several programs offered by SHiNE including instructor trainings, online memberships, and event registration fees. Because breast cancer is a cause close to our hearts, monies from this fund may also be awarded as needs arise for individuals within our community who are battling this disease.
Being awarded a gift from Mel’s Scholarship Fund means joining in on Mel’s dance legacy. It’s like catching a piece of Mel’s spirit and letting her passion move through you.
If you’d like to contribute to Mel’s Scholarship Fund and become one of Mel’s Angels, you can purchase a specialty “Hi” Tee, or make a general donation today! While donations aren’t tax-deductible, the feeling of helping someone dance like Mel? Absolutely unbeatable. Check out the FAQ Sheet to learn more about Mel’s Scholarship Fund, or feel free to contact [email protected] with any additional questions.