Dancer Turned Actor: Making the Transition

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WA_KirbyActing_MAINIt’s always a fun time when Kirby Johnson comes into our corperate office for a photo shoot. She not only brings her glowing and bubbly personality, but her wonderful mother Re, and Re’s adorable Jack Russel Terrior Wolfy. Kirby is living in LA and working on transitioning her career in show business from dance to acting. We sat down and asked her how that transition is going, and what advice she has to people in similar situations as hers. Here’s what she had to say:

DL: Tell us a little bit about your dance background.

KJ: I started dancing later than most kids, at the age of eleven. My first studio was On Your Toes, a small studio in Key Lago, FL. When I really wanted to push myself and grow more as a dancer I started going to Stars Dance Co. which was 1 hour away from home. At the age of twelve I went to the Miami City Ballet summer intensive where I got in without an audition and was up on pointe pretty much right away. It only took that experience to know that I did not want to be a professional ballerina. At my studio I pretty much studied all styles – contemporary, lyrical, jazz, acro, hip hop, and a little bit of tap.

DL: What was your transition like going from all dancer to dancer and actor?

KJ: I always wanted to be an actress. I started in musicals and played roles like Sally Brown, Mazy the Bird, and the Wicked Witch from ‘Into the Woods.’ I also took voice lessons for these roles since they were musicals which required singing.

DL: How would you say that dance helps you in your acting?

KJ: It really helps in how you present yourself. You have good posture from dance and that helps make you look like you have a lot of confidence. You have been taught to have poise and grace, and you’re used to being in front of people and not being shy.

DL: What’s the main difference between dancing and acting?

KJ: That’s a hard question. For me, in my personal experience, the biggest difference is that in acting you have to deal with much more rejection.

DL: What’s your “routine” these days with studying acting and auditioning for roles?

KJ: Well, I attend acting class twice a week, studying the Meisner Technique. I still take open dance class at Millennium in LA. Shout out to Laura’s ballet class! I love it! I’m also constantly on my email to check for new auditions, call-backs, and hopefully castings!

DL: What advice do you have for young dancers who are considering giving acting a try?

KJ: I would tell them to try everything because you never know what you will fall in love with.

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