Ballet Blog- Kesha McKey

New Orleans’ own Kesha McKey is a major contemporary dance powerhouse. We are over the moon to be collaborating with Kesha in our Nurturing the Whole Dancer Winter Workshop, this December 27 and 28 (click here for more information). Kesha is the current Dance Department Chair at NOCCA and the founder and artistic director of KM Dance Project. Read on to learn more about why we are so thrilled about this collaboration and why you should take advantage of this opportunity to learn and dance with Kesha.

Could you tell us a bit about your training and career and how they’ve influenced you as a teacher?

My very early training with the Crescent City Dance Troupe was very community oriented and rooted in New Orleans culture and tradition. I believe this has had an influence on my efforts to maintain connectivity and remain engaged in the New Orleans cultural arts community – specifically with youth.

I also trained at NOCCA which was the main source of my early technical grounding. I had really great teachers there, specifically Lula Elzy who really took me under her wing and nurtured my talent. I’ve also had the opportunity to train in musical theater as well as work in the theater realm which has truly informed the way I approach and teach performance and choreography.

My later training – which consists of receiving my MFA at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, as well as the Urban Bush Women Summer Leadership Institute, Jacob’s Pillow, and Bates Dance Festival – has had a huge influence on my current values, practices and goals as an artist. I believe it is important to train young dancers as critically thinking artists with a solid grounding in technical skill, awareness of mind and body connectivity, and the freedom to investigate and explore movement as an experimental form.

What’s your favorite thing about teaching?

One of my favorite things about teaching is witnessing a student’s confidence grow as a result of the knowledge and understanding they have achieved in their training.

What interests do you have outside of dance?

I thoroughly enjoy catching a movie during my off time. The popcorn is always amazing!😃

What’s been your favorite moment as an artist?

My first sold out performance! It was such a humbling experience to have so many people come out to support my work. It was a feeling of immense joy and gratitude and I hope to have many more sold out shows!

Any quick words of advice to your students?

Be honest in your work. When you work and perform, draw from your own experiences; tell your story through movement.