Artistic Vulnerability

I’ve always struggled with being vulnerable and arguably it has translated into my artistry as a dancer. Thanks to NC Underground Dance, I had the opportunity to go back to my foundation and teach contemporary dance on a weekly basis ❤️. Teaching contemporary regularly reminded me how important it is to connect to the music. While I was choreographing, I let the music to lead me. I didn’t think about “steps.” I just internalized the emotion in the song which organically translated into movement.

During this time, I took class from several people I had never taken before. Everyone talked about how dancing is really connecting the emotions within the song to movement, and without that we have to question if we’re really dancing. This spoke to my soul. I felt like I had started stressing so much about learning the combo perfectly and working on all the things I need to improve that I wasn’t really dancing.

With these experiences, I decided that the next time I took class I would really internalize the music and not focus so much on getting the steps perfectly. I also chose to focus on one particular improvement for each class i.e., levels, strength, textures, etc. Let me just tell you… it was a liberating experience 🙌🏾. I found that even though I didn’t care so much about getting the steps, I actually learned them better. I was more focused, but I was having fun too. When I did miss a step, my recovery was so quick I even surprised myself.

Often when we’re passionate about something we want to be the best we can be. We respect our craft so much that it’s easy to lose sight of the reason why we love it so much. When I’m dancing, I feel ALIVE in every sense of the word. It rejuvenates me when I’m weary, it refocuses me when I’m frantic, it soothes me when I’m sad. How could I not give my best to something that gives so much to me? I’ve realized that allowing myself to be vulnerable and go to the places I’m afraid of is what defines me as a dancer even if that means messing up in front of everyone. No two people have the same exact experiences. That’s what makes us all unique. When we share an authentic piece of who we are through our movement we connect with everyone watching.

In summary, I’ll say this. Don’t be afraid of allowing yourself to be vulnerable as an artist. That vulnerability unveils the very essence of who you are. Share a piece of yourself through your artistry and people will respond in ways you couldn’t imagine ✨.

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#KayInLA

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Hey loves! I recently started using #KayInLA to document my journey to LA via social media. I’m planning to move to LA to pursue a career as a professional dancer and moving to LA is the first step in my journey. My dream is to dance on tour with a major recording artist, and I’m excited for the journey ahead. I’ve been saving my own money to move to LA, but I’ve been looking for additional ways to save money. One day, I came across a bunch of clothes I’ve barely worn that I wanted to get rid of and thought, “Why not sell them as another way to save money?” Sooo… I created an online store to make things easy and convenient. If you would like to support my dreams, purchase something for yourself or a loved one. If you prefer not to purchase an item, but would still like to support you can purchase the donation item with your desired amount. ALL of the proceeds will go toward my move to LA. Thank you in advance to anyone who makes a purchase. Your support means the world to me! ❤️ You can browse the items or make a donation on my online store #KayInLA.

The story of how the hashtag and logo were created plus some shoutouts: I was hanging out with some dance friends one night when my good friend and brother Elliot YJ You was joking around and started calling Kay-LA. Then, he proceeded to say Kay-L-A. At the time, I didn’t pay it any attention because anyone that knows Elliot knows he’s a goofball. A few days later, I started thinking about it more, and I came up with “Kay In LA”. I thought, “My nickname is Kay, my full name is Kayla, and I want to move to LA… Ayeeee!” 🔥 So, immediately I started drafting logos and came up with the one you see above. Shoutout to Elliot for inspiring the hashtag and Matthew A. Wright for using his graphic design skills to digitize the logo for me.  Thank you Elliot and Matthew for your continued inspiration and support of my journey. The last shoutout goes to Fusion Dance Crew for introducing to me to such wonderful people. I love you ALL ❤️

The Journey

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Recently, I was talking to a friend about dance related things such as how to make dancing a career, how to get opportunities, and how I knew for sure that being a professional dancer was what I truly wanted. In answering all these questions it seemed I kept emphazing the importance of embracing YOUR journey. If you have a goal that you’re trying to accomplish, you can’t let yourself be consumed with what someone else’s journey looks like. How you achieve your dreams won’t look like how someone else  achieves theirs. You have to be patient and trust your journey. I’ve learned this within the last year or so. I was experiencing a lot of inner conflict because I was witnessing my friends follow their dreams, but I felt like I was stuck. I felt no sense of progress toward my dreams. I quickly realized that it wasn’t necessarily that I wasn’t working toward them, it just wasn’t the right timing for ME. Although I wanted to be in LA immediately, I understood that I needed to develop a plan in order to be successful in my own way. I feel now more than ever that I’m on my way to accomplishing everything I desire.

If you’ve read the About Me page of my website, you know that the reason why I started this blog was to keep myself motivated. Being able to share my dance-related experiences has been therapeutic in a sense. Before I created this blog, I would occasionally discuss my thoughts and feelings with friends, but now I have a platform to share. You never know who you might be encouraging or inspiring just by being authentically YOU. 🤗 I’m more focused on MY journey than ever, and it feels absolutely amazing! Since I’ve refocused myself doors have opened like never before, so be encouraged and never give up on yourself. Whatever your goals may be, gain inspiration and motivation from other people’s journeys, but don’t forget to embrace YOUR journey. ❤️

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Last weekend was amazing! I was fortunate enough to reunite with my NC dance family and meet some dope dancers from the DMV. It was my first workshop in a few months, and I was SUPER excited to dance with everyone. The PRSM Season1.PINK workshop featured Minilik Addis, Marbien de Jesus, and myself. We all taught pieces with different vibes which was awesome, and everyone gave so much energy! My favorite part was watching groups. I love watching groups in class because I always learn so much from everyone. If you’re a novice dancer and you’re new to taking class, I highly suggest watching your fellow dancers during groups if you don’t already. It is truly inspiring, and it makes you want to work harder and grow. Well… at least for me it does ☺️ I always enjoy watching someone just GO OFF in class!

I think what made me the happiest this weekend was that I just let go and had fun. I’ve been struggling recently with focusing too much on picking up the choreography and getting the details that I forget to have fun and perform. I’m proud of myself for keeping perspective and remembering why I dance… because I LOVE IT! I still have so much to work on, but this weekend was definitely a step in the right direction. I can’t wait to dance with my NC fam again at the  2-6 Intensive in Fayetteville, NC on July 22nd. Checkout the Facebook Event page for more details.

My Passion for Dance

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My passion. My lifeline. My first love. I know now that I was born to dance and finding it was the best thing that’s ever happened to me. It brings me so much joy and without it I feel empty. I was recently asked, “If I could go back in time, what piece of advice would I give myself one year into dancing?” I would definitely tell myself not to be afraid to express my passion for dance. I remember always treating dance as if it were a hobby because that’s what everyone else thought it was for me. I’ve since come to realize it is much more than that. Dancing will always be my safe haven. No matter what is happening in my life, I know I can “dance it out.”

There was a period (about a year) when I stopped dancing. Needless to say, it was a very difficult time. I quickly realized I needed dance to help keep myself balanced. I joined Fusion Dance Crew at North Carolina State University as a way to start dancing again. Once I started dancing again, it was like a lightbulb went off. I thought, “If I’m happiest when I’m dancing why don’t I do this for the rest of my life?” It seemed like a no-brainer. Without a doubt oining Fusion Dance Crew at North Carolina State University was one of the best decisions of my life. I’ve met so many people that share the same passion for dance as me, and they have inspired me to pursue my passion. I know this is my purpose and destiny, so here’s to believing in myself and living my dreams!