In the spotlight - Kymberlee Jay

Entertainments writer WAYNE SAVAGE talks to the Nike Dance Consultant about Dance:Connect - The ultimate street dance day, 9am-5pm, February 4, Jerwood DanceHouse, Ipswich

On Dance:Connect: “It’s a day of workshops being taught by some of the leading instructors [Duwane Taylor, Danielle “Rhimes” Lecointe and Turbo who have performed alongside some of the biggest names in music on TV shows including Sky 1’s Got to Dance and box office hit movies like Street Dance 3D.]. You’ll learn the real street dance movements, the techniques, the foundations.”

Teaching beginners up to advanced dancers: “We honestly believe everybody can learn something, even those who feel they might already be professional street dancers.

“I’ll tell you, if I can do it everybody can do it. When I first started dancing I had three left feet,” she laughs. “It’s about coming along, trying some new steps and having some fun; it doesn’t matter whether you nail them or perfect them on the day.”

Her background: “When I first started at ten it wasn’t because I ever thought I could be a professional dancer, it was because all my friends were doing it,” laughs the 30-year-old. “I just wanted to be cool. When I was about 16 people said ‘ooh you’re really good at this can you teach me something’. I started off teaching one person, then ended up with five, then ten and it built.

“I was meant to go into forensic pathology [determining cause of death by examination of a corpse], but fell in love with street dancing and thought ‘you know what, I’m going to give this a crack, if it doesn’t work I’ll use my biomedical science degree’.”

Being a Nike Dance Athlete and consultant: “They they were looking for dancers to be part of a new commercial for a product launch. I had no intention of auditioning, I didn’t think there was any way I would get chosen because I wasn’t a trained dancer. I’m solely street and hip hop and was classed as a plus size dancer which in the industry was a big no no.

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“A friend of mine dragged me along. After queuing for almost seven hours for her to be seen, the casting director asked me ‘do you dance’ and said ‘you may as well, you’ve been here hours’.

“I constantly got through these huge audition processes, completely bewildered and thinking there must be making a mistake. I was watching these highly trained and accredited dancers falling by the wayside.

“I landed the commercial which turned into a second a year later. They decided me being a plus size, or a real girl as they put it, worked really well for their marketing. They signed me as an athlete and I worked with them for a further year, after that they signed me as a consultant.

“Anything Nike do within the realms of dance, dance movement, dance fitness, I work with them to make sure it stays cool, stays connected. I’ve been to some brilliant places, visiting executives, marketing and PR teams, running classes, courses, working with their athletes, presenting big events.”

Dancing with Misteeq and Madonna: “[Featuring in two of Madonna’s videos, Hung Up and Sorry] was really surreal. It was ‘oh my goodness what am I doing here?’ I’d been watching her on the telly since I was four, jigging away to her movements and her music. To be standing next to her, working with her...outstanding.

“She’s extremely passionate about her work but at the same time a lot of people are terrified of her. She’s super maternal and took care of us like no artist I think has ever taken care of a dancer. I think because she has a dance background, she understands the dancers get the rough end usually. She made sure we were the celebrities.”

Sharing her experiences: “At the day people can to tap into my experience. It’s just letting people know the options they have and them being able to ask me questions, I’m not going to sugar coat it. They can probably learn from my mistakes and hopefully,” she laughs, “leave with a little bit of advice.”

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