By Dominique Jando
In 1985, she met Olivier Merlier, a French student who had just enrolled in the school. Melinda and Olivier began to work together on an acrobatic adagioAcrobatic act, generally involving a man and a woman, presented in a slow or romantic mood.. In April 1988—two months before their graduation—Olivier and Melinda were married in Budapest. A few months later, they made their professional debut at the old Hansa Theater in Hamburg, Germany.
Big Apple Circus Years
In January 1988, Olivier & Melinda presented their brand-new act at the Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain in Paris. Although they didn't win a medal, they caught the attention of the Big Apple Circus's talent scouts, who invited them to join the circus's resident company in the United States. A year later, they made their debut as part of the Big Apple Circus's summer tour.
Olivier & Melinda stayed at the Big Apple Circus until 1992, participating in company ensembles. They performed their acrobatic adagioAcrobatic act, generally involving a man and a woman, presented in a slow or romantic mood. as well as a teeterboardA seesaw made of wood, or fiberglass poles tied together, which is used to propel acrobats in the air. duet. They separated at the end of the 1992 summer tour, Olivier returning to France. Melinda, a versatile acrobat, remained in the Big Apple Circus's resident company until 1998, appearing in an astonishing variety of acrobatic acts, from floor acrobatics to flying trapezeAerial act in which an acrobat is propelled from a trapeze to a catcher, or to another trapeze. (See also: Short-distance Flying Trapeze), contortion to dancing with elephants. During this period, she became romantically involved with a talented acrobat in the company, Carlos Guity.
Settling In America
After leaving the Big Apple Circus, Melinda went on to work at SeaWorld in Orlando, Florida. She was featured in an aerial tissu(French) A double piece of hanging fabric, generally made of silk, used for an aerial act. (See also: Fabric, Silks) act with Maxim Panteleenko in Cesar Aedo’s The Flight of the Condor. Having married Carlos Guity in June 2001, she left The Flight of the Condor to give birth to her son, Noah, in April 2002.
Melinda later returned to SeaWorld, where she performed a web act and an aerial hoopA heavy metallic hoop used as a variance of trapeze, usually with contortion moves. (Also called Cerceau.) act in another show, for which she also worked as company manager. The show closed at the end of August 2008, after a five-and-a-half year run. Then, Melinda went on to study massage therapy. She is also an ACE certified personal trainer and a pilates instructor.
Melinda, Carlos, and Noah currently reside in Orlando, Florida.
- Biography: Olivier & Melinda
- Video: Olivier & Melinda, Hand-to-hand duet in the Big Apple Circus production of Grandma Goes West (1989)
- Video: Melinda Merlier, Comedy Flying Act, with Les Casaly and Taso Stavrakis in the Big Apple Circus production of Grandma Goes West (1989)
- Video: Olivier & Melinda, Acrobatic Adagio and Teeterboard Act in the Big Apple Circus production of Ballerinas, Horses and Clowns... (1990)
- Video: Olivier & Melinda, Teeterboard Act in the Big Apple Circus production of Greetings from Coney Island (1991)
- Video: Melinda Merlier in The Contortion Doll with Jeff Gordon and John Lepiarz, in the Big Apple Circus production of Goin' Places (1992)
- Video: Acrobats and Elephants in the Big Apple Circus production of The Medicine Show (1996)
- Video: Melinda Merlier and the Woodcock Elephants in the Big Apple Circus production of The Medicine Show (1996)
- Video: Melinda Merlier and the Big Apple Circus Company with the Woodcock Elephants in the Big Apple Circus production of Twenty Years! (1997)
- Video: Melinda Merlier, Regina Dobrovitskaya, Carlos Guity & Julian Stachowski, Living Statue Act in the Big Apple Circus production of Twenty Years! (1997)