She’s toured with Usher, danced with the Sparks, has been on dance reality TV, has traveled the world as a featured choreographer and instructor, and she’s not even twenty. To say that Kaelynn’s dance career is impressive would be an understatement. We were lucky enough to have had Kaelynn model for us, and got to chat about her dance past, influences, future goals, and what advice she has for aspiring dancers. Here’s what she had to say!
When and where did you first start dancing?
I honestly don’t have any formal training. My mom couldn’t really afford traditional dance classes, so I just learned from watching videos. I auditioned for the Sparkids (WNBA Sparks) when I was 12 and that was my first official dancing job.
Who are some of your influences in the dance world?
Some of my influences are Tessandra Chavez, Brian Friedman, Hollywood, Tony Tzar. I have too many to name, but all of them give me inspiration because they all are completely different!
What is it like dancing for TV vs. dancing live on tour? Do you have a preference?
No, I don’t have a preference – I just love dancing! TV vs. dancing live on tour can be completely different. On TV, you’re given several “takes” to get it right and you normally don’t have an audience to get energy from. Dancing live, you have thousands of people to feed off of, the stage is larger, there are more lights, etc. Everything is BIGGER!
Can you tell us about a couple performance experiences that have really stood out to you?
Dancing with Usher taught me a lot as a dancer. That was really my first official “adult” job, and I learned so much from him and his team. They’re great! Traveling the world, in general, is amazing because it’s so wonderful to meet different people from different cultures who all share the same thing (dance). Working on ABDC was a great adventure because it taught me a lot as well. Long hours, balancing school and work, doing interviews, and conducting myself as a professional, were all influenced by that show.
Hip-hop especially is so closely linked to fashion. What are some of your dance style inspirations?
I try to have my own style, but I love the style of Miguel Zarate, Janelle Ginestra and Brian Friedman. They’re all icons.
When you are teaching a master class, what is it that makes certain dancers stand out in the crowd? Do you have any advice for dancers trying to get noticed at big conventions?
Confidence really makes a person stand out. Confidence and not cockiness. I would say not to try and stand out, but to try and do your best. That will make you stand out to the instructor. Even people who aren’t getting the choreography down can get noticed by the instructor, just by their drive and determination. Use classes as a tool to train, not to get noticed.
What comforts you when you are having a bad day?
Massages, ice cream, sleep and my mom.
How did you get your nickname KK?
My mom has always called me that since I was a baby. My sister’s name is Ashlynn, so she didn’t want us to get mixed up when she was calling for us!
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I see myself working more as a choreographer and developing my business-sense as an adult. I’m still young, so I’m trying to learn as much as possible!