U.S. dance star Kathryn McCormick dishes on her world, why dance festivals are so important and why she’s looking forward to Victorian Dance Festival (VDF) this April.
What was your big break? Was it So You Think You Can Dance?
“I moved out to LA to pursue dance almost a year before I got onto SYTYCD. I had no idea that was in my future. I ended up auditioning for the show three times, once with a group of friends and two more because my mum begged me to. Haha! I didn’t want to audition after the first one because I didn’t think the show was for me… Little did I know.
SYTYCD was one of the very first opportunities in my career and has been a constant throughout, which I am so grateful for. It has become a family to me!”
What was it like to star in Step Up Revolution?
“It was one of the most challenging and life-changing experiences. I had never acted before this film, so I definitely felt a lot of pressure, but at the same time it felt so natural. It taught me so much about how to find confidence in my voice and how to let go and be in the moment. The cast and crew were all so close. We would spend time on and off set; we truly enjoyed being together! I will never forget that time in my life.”
Did you always want to act as well as dance?
“I grew up loving dance and the stories within it. I had no idea acting outside of dance would come my way, but it has and it has been such a gift. I love acting because it makes my movement more human and genuine. It has helped me to find my voice and what stories I feel need to be heard. My dancing feels so much more rich and fulfilling because of it.”
Why do you love to dance?
“It makes my heart swell. It is my way to connect to others and share stories I feel the world needs to hear/see. Dance has so much power. It has given me the opportunity to travel, gives me an outlet to make a difference in the world and meet people I may have never come in contact with otherwise. It’s pretty special.”
When did it all begin?
“At three years old. My mum owned a studio called The Dance Connection in my hometown, Augusta, Georgia, USA. I later trained at Augusta West Dance Studio (home studio) and Augusta Ballet until I was 18.”
Did you attend conventions or festivals as a young dancer? How did weekend dance events change your life?
“I did! I grew up doing hometown festivals, convention/competitions and intensives/master classes. These experiences were so important in opening my eyes to different styles, showing me how much more I had to learn, and helped to build my confidence in a room with a group of people I had never met. It’s easy to get comfortable in our home studio and settle. I loved getting to watch dancers who were stronger than me — technically or in their ability to share a story. I would always leave so inspired and feeling like I wanted to fight harder to become better and more emotionally available.”
Why should dancers branch out and take class from industry professionals other than those at their home studio?
“It opens your eyes to new perspectives and ways of approaching movement. Everyone’s mind and body work differently. It intrigues me to be able to take a class from someone new and jump in their mind for a second.”
What do you hope to bring to the dancers at Victorian Dance Festival?
“I hope the dancers leave feeling more open and genuine in their movement. I want them to let go of all expectations and take a moment to remember why they fell in love with dance in the first place. I want to remind them to be human first and let the movement follow. I just want to have a real and honest moment with them.”
Why do you want to visit Australia?
“My husband and I have it on our bucket list. We have always wanted to go! Traveling is our favorite thing, so to be able to travel to a place neither of us have ever been, to spread love for dance, and do it all with my favorite person… It doesn’t get any better than that!!”
Do you love dance, too? Then make sure you’re at Victorian Dance Festival this April to take class from Kathryn McCormick, as well as from Australia’s leading choreographers and teachers – plus Josie Walsh, direct from The Joffrey Ballet School, USA. Get your passes at Victoriandancefestival.com.
By Deborah Searle of Dance Informa.
Photo (top): US dance star Kathryn McCormick. Photo courtesy of McCormick.