An interview with Kate Kinyon
Director of Performing Arts Limited in Chicago, IL
|Just for fun quick facts on Kate Kinyon|
|Years of dance training?||34|
|Years teaching dance?||17|
|Styles of dance studied?
||Ballet, tap, jazz, character, modern & musical theater, attended University of Wisconsin at Steven’s Point.|
|Favorite dance genre?||Tap|
|What styles do you teach now?||Ballet & tap, and in terms of levels I focus on the youngest dancers and the most advanced dancers.|
|What body part do you love to stretch?||Shoulders|
|Pick one: Take class in the morning or evening?||Morning|
|Pick one: Teach a smaller class or larger class?||Larger|
|Pick one: Fast movement or slow movement?||Fast|
|Pick one: (yourself) Leotards or tops?||Tops|
|Pick one: (yourself) tights or dance pants?||I’ll generally wear dance pants but if I’m teaching mostly ballet all day then I’ll put on the teacher skirt and tights.|
Allegro Dance Boutique: How would you describe your teaching method?
Katie Kinyon: Multi-faceted. Using imagery, having physical awareness and understanding of anatomy, knowing the language of what you’re working in and the meaning of that word. Knowing what’s going on with the body and then using words and visual images to get to proper execution of the step. [Also,] when I’m making my playlists for lesson plans, even for the little kids, I put in different styles: jazz, classical ballet, 50’s, contemporary. I think part of dance education is to expose students to different types of music and to be able to use that as a tool to say “what genre is this?”, “who’s the composer of this?”, “what ballet is this from?” and mixing it up.
ADB: If a student walks away having learned just one thing from you, what would you want that one thing to be?
ADB: What types of music “moves” you?
KK: It changes for me alot. Currently I like the Billie Holiday “Remixed & Reimagined.” It’s amazing stuff, really fun!
ADB: What is special to you about the Chicago dance community?
KK: In terms of why Chicago vs. why a suburb, why we are here, why we choose to stay here: we like the diversity and the diffrerent paths that interact through dance. Through the dance community here there’s just different understandings of different groups of people, and of children as well. Also, commenting on the Chicago dance community, I think it’s grounded. It’s small, it’s Chicago, as compared to New York. Grounded, realistic people, lots of interesting work.
ADB: Have you ever had an embarassing dance moment, as a teacher or a student?
KK: (Laughs) Yes, I will never forget. Worst moment ever. Stars and Stripes Forever: pique, fouette, (smacks hand down). On my face. That would’ve been….8th grade.
ADB: Do you have a favorite age group to teach?
KK: I like starting with the 3 year olds because they’re just so open to many, many things, they have so much energy and it’s great to see them learning how to use their bodies, finding their balance and having confidence. By the end of the year you can see, they could barely balance on one leg [before] and now most kids are skipping. My second favorite are the oldest ones because after all the years of study then you get to really start to fly with them and it becomes a little bit more of a creative process; they have a good set of skills [to work with.] Once they get to to that pre-professional age then it’s nice, then you can just give it to them and they can take it.
ADB: Name a performance that you attended that took your breath away.
KK: Les Miserables when I was in 8th grade. It‘s the most amazing, simplistic and moving choreography I’ve ever seen when they do the march. To be able to take everyday pedestrian movement and turn it into a dance is just cool.
ADB: How do you challenge your students mentallly? Physically?
KK: Complex patterns. Identifying the patterns. Quick weight shifts. Making sure that they identify where the weight shifts happen. Being accountable for musicality, using patterns that utilize both their arms and legs in different manners, saying it verbally so they have to catch it themselves.
ADB: Teachers often say that they learn just as much from their students as their students learn from them. What is something valuable that your students have taught you over the years?
KK: Patience and kindness to each other.
ADB: What is the best thing about owning Performing Arts Limited?
KK: When there are families that have been studying for a long time, really seeing that they get the experience, they get the teamwork and the dedication. Being able to work with people so that they understand that dance is not only an artform but it’s a life skill, of dedication not only to yourself but to others.