Stepping Into the Professional World

After countless hours in the studio, late nights, early mornings, and perhaps 10,000 bobby pins, you may be asking yourself, "Where am I going from here?" If you are an aspiring ballet dancer, you may audition for School of American Ballet, ABT JKO School, the Rock School, or countless other renowned ballet programs. However, if your trajectory is not ballet, there aren't many options available where you can go to further your future potential.

Kanyok Arts Initiative has brought together all pillars of the professional community to adequately prepare its members for all aspects of the creative process. If you or your child has passion, discipline, and aptitude, and is seeking a comprehensive program that provides a unique opportunity to be exposed to and learn from industry leaders in an intimate yet professional setting, then Kanyok Arts Initiative's Collective program is your answer.

Laurie Kanyok, founder and director of Kanyok Arts Initiative is bridging the gap between the collegiate and professional worlds. According to Kanyok, "There comes a point where students need to shift their focus from drilling choreography to training to be an accomplished artist."

Kanyok believes that the dance competition circuit has come a long way in the past 20 years, and now more than ever, education is the focus. Conventions are competing to attract studios by bringing in top choreographers to create performance opportunities. The heightened convention scene inspired multiple hit television series and has created a new awareness in commercial dance.

Laurie Kanyok is a Broadway veteran who has enjoyed an impressive career as a professional dancer. Her career path took a turn toward casting, recruitment, and talent management when she realized that there was a component missing for young aspiring artists. She believes the studios have done a great job instilling a work ethic and igniting a passion in students, but dancers who have professional ambitions need to broaden their skill set.

KAI Collective's program was created to foster young talent and become the conduit to the most prestigious universities and ultimately be the main resource from which professionals in the community can draw talent. Kanyok's vision is brought to life via a four-day-a-week training program consisting of classical dance disciplines and current commercial styles as well as additional focus on voice and acting. With this solid foundation, she has built a training program that also showcases group and solo performances.

The dance community is taking notice. KAI is attracting dancers from all over the United States with varied backgrounds, aptitudes, and levels of experience. According to Kanyok, "While some KAI members are from New York and the Tri-state area, Grace Farrell, a Nashville native, and Kayla LaVine of Syracuse relocated to join KAI Collective and pursue a more refined training program. Our team provides support and guidance as many of them are preparing to apply to colleges. This is a critical time in their lives."

Jared Harbour, a recent KAI graduate, is heading to Princeton University this fall. "I have seen a growth in my artistic abilities and in my ideology. I was hesitant to continue my dance career post high school. I was unaware of the opportunities that were within my grasp. I have a newly instilled sense of confidence and pride in my ability to make a positive impact on the dance community on and off stage. KAI was a major component in my acceptance to several Ivy League institutions. The program introduced me to leading entrepreneurs, and now my ambitions have grown from an artistic level to exploring academia."

The industry is watching and waiting to see what is next.

"Kanyok Arts Initiative / Collective is the next generation of well-rounded artists. I look forward to being in the room with them one day, as they no doubt will be taking the arts by storm." Christopher Gattelli—Tony award-winning choreographer

KAI is changing how the dance and artistic communities view training and individual development. Come be a part of this groundbreaking program.

To learn more about Kanyok Arts Initiative and its foundational beliefs and training opportunities, visit and contact us at (917) 331-5461 for any questions. Registration is now open for the 2018–2019 season.

Latest Posts

Photo by Jayme Thornton

How Paloma Garcia-Lee Manifested Her Dream Role, in Steven Spielberg’s "West Side Story"

On a rainy day in November 2018, Paloma Garcia-Lee got a call from her agent that brought her to her knees outside her New York City apartment: She was going to play Graziella in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story.

The call came after a lengthy audition process with Spielberg in the room, and the role, originated by Wilma Curley on Broadway in 1957 and later portrayed by Gina Trikonis in the 1961 film, was her biggest dream. In fact, it's something Garcia-Lee says she manifested from the day plans for the movie were announced in January 2018. "I wrote in my journal: 'I am playing Graziella in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story.'"

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Photo by @mediabyZ

Am I Less Committed to Dance Because I Have Other Passions? (Spoiler Alert: NO!)

Let's face it—dance is HARD, and in order to achieve your goals, you need to be committed to your training. "Still, there's a fine line between being committed and being consumed." Dancers can, and should, have interests outside of the studio.

Not convinced? We talked with dance psychologist Dr. Lucie Clements and two multifaceted dancers, Kristen Harlow (a musical theater dancer pursuing a career in NYC and Kentucky) and Kallie Takahashi (a dancer in her final year at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts), and got the inside scoop on how having hobbies outside of dance can inform your artistry, expand your range and help prevent burnout.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Photo courtesy of Brittany Conigatti

Go Behind the Scenes of Annie Live! With Brittany Conigatti

Unwrap your candy canes, pour the hot chocolate and round up your fellow theater lovers: NBC is kicking off the Christmas season with its latest live-broadcast TV musical. Annie Live! premieres December 2 and features a star-studded cast, including Harry Connick Jr., Tituss Burgess, Megan Hilty and, as the title character, young phenom Celina Smith.

Luckily, people got a taste of what the special will entail when the cast kicked off the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with a performance last week. But since you’re never fully dressed without a Dance Spirit exclusive, we caught up with Brittany Conigatti, one of the young orphans and adult ensemble members in the show, to learn what it was like putting together a large-scale live production for the small screen.

The cast of Annie Live! poses for a group photo. The cast of Annie Live!Photo courtesy of Conigatti

Keep Reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks

Enter the Cover Model Search