She's dominating contemporary routines and hip-hop combos. She's booking jobs in L.A. and NYC. She's slaying onstage at conventions (she's a lifetime assistant with Artists Simply Human) and on set with the Suga N Spice crew. Basically, 17-year-old Kerrynton Jones is everywhere, doing everything, all the time.
If you've seen her nail heels choreo by Yanis Marshall or breeze through an intricate routine by Janelle Ginestra, it can be hard to imagine that Kerrynton didn't always love hip hop. “I actually started out taking contemporary, and thought I would never need hip hop," she says. “But when I was 11, I attended The PULSE—and once I saw the kids assisting onstage, I wanted to be up there too." Kerrynton added street jazz and hip-hop classes to her schedule, and eventually achieved her goal: She was named a PULSE Elite Protégé for the 2013–14 season. “Now, I use the muscle control I learned from hip hop in my contemporary classes," she says. “Each style makes me stronger in the other."
Kerrynton is currently a trainee in the Joffrey Ballet School's Jazz and Contemporary Program in NYC. The Maryland native has become a bona fide New Yorker: She lives in a dorm on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and is homeschooled to accommodate her hectic schedule. When she has time, she squeezes in extra classes at Steps on Broadway and Broadway Dance Center.
For the moment, Kerrynton is focused on her Joffrey School traineeship, and dreams of booking a gig with Disney and eventually moving to L.A. “I think I'm leaning toward a more commercial life," she says. “But I also think I could work well in a company. I can't say where I'll end up yet." It seems possible that Kerrynton really can, and will, do it all.
“As a PULSE Elite Protégé, Kerrynton set the bar for how assistants should work for their teachers: full-out, with exquisite technique and ferocious passion. She's the ultimate role model for young female dancers, and girls in general. She grows with each passing year—she's unstoppable!" —Brian Friedman, choreographer
Birthday: March 12, 1999
Dream gig: “Dancing for Beyoncé!"
Favorite food: Cookie butter
Dance idol: China Taylor
If she weren't a dancer, she'd be: “A personal trainer"
Biggest fear: Spiders
Her dancing in two words: “Powerful and emotional"
Go-to stress reliever: Foam-rolling
Advice for DS readers: “If anybody tells you that you can't do something, do it and prove them wrong."
(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)
Dance Spirit's 2019 Cover Model Search finalists: Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland! One of them will win a spot on Dance Spirit's Fall 2019 cover. Learn more about the dancers on their profile pages, and then vote for your favorite below. You can vote once a day now through July 15.
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Liz Imperio teaching at Hollywood Vibe, Courtesy of Hollywood Vibe
It's an increasingly common scenario: A talented dancer wins big at a competition, is offered an assistantship with a famous faculty member, and ends up leaving her hometown studio to travel with a convention. Convention-hopping has obvious benefits. Every event generates new content for dancers to post on social media, gives them a better shot at ending up on their favorite choreographers' accounts, lets them learn from the best of the best, and helps them make valuable connections. "Traveling is a great way for dancers to gain admirers around the country," says Jen Jarnot, owner of Artistic Fusion Dance Academy in Thornton, CO. "That's something every dancer craves." So it's no surprise that weekend FOMO has been blazing through studios like wildfire.
But is this jet-setter lifestyle really the most effective road to take? Can weekends of dancing with top talent truly replace the bread and butter of daily work at your home studio? The answer, according to most industry experts, is no. We asked five pros to explain why.