Convention season is in full swing, and we couldn’t be more excited! Our dancers and staff are in it to win this year. We had the chance to speak with one of our great faculty members, Kyle Shukis, about why he loves to teach at Convention – and what he hopes you’ll learn this year. Read on to learn more about Kyle!
Q: What are you most looking forward to about Convention this year?
A: I am always excited to work with a bunch of new dancers but also look forward to the students who return each year. Getting to see their growth over time is so rewarding!
Q: If you could give one piece of advice to the dancers coming to Convention, what would it be?
A: Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. So many dancers get used to the same teachers and styles and let that box them in. Conventions are a great place to challenge yourself in new ways and you can grow so much as a dancer in just one day!
Q: How long have you been teaching dance?
A: I started teaching dance as an assistant when I was only fifteen and haven’t stopped since!
Q: What kind of dance classes do you enjoy teaching the most? Which ones will you be teaching at Convention?
A: I love teaching classes that push your thought process as well as your technique – improvisation, choreography, movement studies etc. I will be teaching both contemporary and jazz at the convention and love those, as well!
Q: You have a lot of experience in many areas of the dance world – which part of this industry is your favorite?
A: I used to do a lot of work on the side as a lighting designer in NYC – it was a great way to supplement my income as well as have a flexible schedule. It’s amazing how much lighting can change and influence a piece of work and you truly feel as though you are a part of what is happening on stage.
Q: What do you think the biggest challenge is for young dancers today, and how can they overcome it?
A: I honestly think that much as the way magazines can cause people to have image problems, social media and what is posted dance wise often has the same effect on young dancers. Most of what people post and share are things that are “perfect” and when inundated with these videos and images it causes young dancers to think they aren’t good enough. Always remember that people are only going to post their best, and no matter how amazing a dancer is, they have both fallen and failed at something – you just aren’t there to see it. Use these posts for inspiration, but don’t let it dictate what you feel like you need to be as a dancer.
Q: You have been involved quite a few productions – which one is your favorite?
A: I was in an all-dance production of “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.” I got to play Edmund and it was so fun to have to portray a child while also performing challenging movement.
Q: There’s always that one move or combination that gives you a hard time. Is there any specific dance move that has been difficult for you? If so, how did you get better at it?
A: I always struggled with flexibility as a younger competition dancer. Learning how to stay warm and stretch properly and for the right amount of time helped increase my range by a huge amount.
Q: What is your favorite dance memory?
A: I have so many! One of my favorites was getting to work an extended residency in the Cayman Islands where we taught residents in the community about dance. Everyone was so welcoming and so open minded and excited to learn new things. We also got to perform on an open air stage outside where chickens would wander into the wings – it was so cool!
Q: Who are your favorite people to follow on social media (dance related or not!)?
A: I love Michelle Obama on social media – she is so inspirational as a person and does so much good work around the world. She has a snapchat that really lets you in to see how much she does each day and she is always full of positivity.
Q: Are you on social media? Our dancers would love to follow you!
A: Yes! My Instagram is kyleasaurusrex.
We can’t wait to see you at our next Convention stop, Kyle! Dancers, check back here to learn more about our amazing faculty and what’s in store for you this season! Are you coming to convention? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter!