FILIPINO American mother and daughter duo Nicole and Emelyn Yniguez want to tell their story through dance as they join the newest CBS’ family dance competition series, “Come Dance with Me,” which premiered earlier this April.
Nicole, 41, who works as a social media consultant, said showing their true selves in their dance routines would somewhat give them an edge over other teams in the competition.
“The most valuable thing that I told Emelyn and myself was to be just ourselves and have fun,” Nicole, the mother of 4 children, told the Asian Journal when asked what people can expect from their performances in the 11-week dance contest series.
“Yes, it’s a competition and we want to do our best but we just need to be ourselves and that’s what’s gonna come across the people watching on television that as long as we can stay true to who we are and not try to be anything other than Emelyn and Nicole, I feel that people can relate to us because we are just being our authentic selves,” Nicole added.
“Come Dance with Me” features exceptionally talented young dancers from across the country who invite one untrained family member who has supported their dance dreams to be their partner, for a chance to strut their stuff for a grand prize.
Never in her wildest dreams did Nicole imagine she would be joining a dance competition as big as this one.
“I honestly didn’t expect to be in the show with her. We just applied and it was in 2020 and she was just 12 and it was mid-pandemic, we were home and the kids were not in school. Everything was remote so we just did it on a whim, not really expecting to go far,” Nicole said.
“When we had an interview, I was actually trying to suggest my husband to do the show with her but they inquired about me and I guess they liked the idea that I was a mom that was sacrificing her work so her kids can dance,” she added.
Nicole left her day job to film the dance show’s two-hour premiere episode in Australia mid-last year.
While she never had a chance to shake a leg when she was younger, Nicole wished to learn but her hardworking parents did not have the luxury of time to bring her to dance schools.
“I always wanted to dance when I was younger but my parents, both working then, did not allow me because of time commitment issues. I never had the opportunities so when this presented itself and when Emelyn asked me to do it with her, then the rest is history,” said Nicole, who also used to hold an administrative office job at a dance studio in New Jersey before the family moved to Las Vegas.
With a supportive family, 14-year-old Emelyn, on the other hand, has been lacing up her dance shoes since she was three years old. She is now a preprofessional dancer and has been dancing competitively for over seven years.
Emelyn got her inspiration and love for dancing from watching students in the dance studio where her Mom used to work. She began dancing at the age of 3.
“When I was 7 years old, my mom started working at a dance school. One day, my mom took us to watch a dance contest. The dancers were on stage and I go watched them and I was just in awe and so inspired and I told my mom, ‘I wanna do this and I wanna dance on stage, too. I want to dress up and get a trophy and get an award for dancing,’” Emelyn said.
Through years of experience and immense training, Emelyn could muster any dance style and genre, such as hip hop, tap, jazz, ballet, contemporary, ballroom and tumbling/gymnastics.
Preparing for the intricate and complicated dance routines, Nicole admitted, was a major challenge for her.
“Before we went to Australia to film the show, I’ve never trained. I’ve never danced before. It was very physically demanding experience because you know at that time I was 40, my body doesn’t move the way my daughter’s does. So learning these intricate steps was very hard and it took a lot of practice and a lot of corrections from my daughter so that I could at least try my best to match her energy and all the stuff that she does,” Nicole said.
Emelyn, for her part, has been continuously honing her dancing prowess through intense and vigorous training. “I am actually competing with my current studio Dance Connection. I am also training at Dance Connection about five to six days a week, four to five hours per day and I train in all styles,” the teen said.
With all these sacrifices and challenges, Nicole and Emelyn are just proud to be representing the Fil-Am community in the U.S.
View this post on Instagram
“We are so proud to be a Fil-Am mother-daughter duo representing the Filipino community. We hope that our story and our dances can inspire other young Fil-Am dancers out there,” Nicole said.
“We know that Filipinos are known to be great at everything, entertainment-wise. It’s so amazing that we have this opportunity to not only represent the Filipino community but the Asian community and the most beautiful thing that I would say about the cast is that we are very diverse. There are actually three families that are of Asian descent. We are so proud to be one of them representing all the Asian and Filipino families out there and we just really hope that we make all the Pinoys out there proud,” she said.
This mother-daughter dance tandem from Las Vegas is one of the 12 teams from across the country who will vie for the competition’s grand prize of $100,000.
Emelyn, Nicole’s oldest child, said if they win, they would want to use the prize money to buy a house.
“Right now, we live in a condominium. A family of six in a three-bedroom condo, it’s very small compared to what we want to live in. We would really like to buy a house,” the teen dance enthusiast said.
According to the 8th grader, they would also save some of the prize money for a college fund and other family expenses.
“Come Dance with Me” is from creators and executive producers Chris O’Donnell, LL COOL J (stars of CBS’ “NCIS: Los Angeles”) and 3 Ball Productions. The show, which premiered in April 15, will air every Friday thereafter for 11 weeks, at 8 p.m. Eastern/Pacific and 7 p.m. Central.
GRAMMY® Award-winning songwriter Philip Lawrence hosts the series which features music from popular artists across all genres.
Judges of the competition include one of Hollywood’s most prolific dancers and actresses, Jenna Dewan; professional celebrity dancer Dexter Mayfield; and renowned hip hop choreographer Tricia Miranda.
Throughout the season, each duo will learn and perform different styles of dance, from hip hop and ballroom to contemporary and theatrical, among others.