Stand Out. Be Yourself. Get Noticed
Here’s some tips I learned about making it in your chosen career from one of Beyoncé’s dancers, Miss Ksyn.
A few months ago I had the pleasure of interviewing Miss, Ksyn, a professional dancer who has toured with brands like Sean Paul, Ashanti, Ciara,N.E.R.D, and most recently, Beyonce. She’s currently touring the US on the On the Run Tour. I thought back to the interview I did with her for MadameNoire Business (click here to read it) and thought it would be great to share with you some of the highlights where we spoke about finding inspiration, standing out, and being yourself in an industry that can be very tough and demanding. The lessons Ksyn shared with me are transferable to many other careers, too. Check out snippets from the interview below. To read the full interview, click here.
What inspired you to become a professional dancer?
I’ve been dancing since I was five. My mom used to say that during all the family reunions I’d always be the one be in the middle of the floor dancing. Every video that I saw I’d be dancing. I thought Michael Jackson was my age at some point in time. Anytime the newest videos came on, I would always get up and try to imitate what I saw in the video. Nothing felt right to me except when I was on stage performing. I danced when I was in college. After college, I said I need to take this seriously. I need to atleast try and see what happens. I’m a natural performer. I love being on stage, dancing, acting, modeling. I need to see if I can go anywhere with this.
What’s one thing you had to struggle on your road to success as a dancer?
Being a brown skin girl in the industry, it’s a bit more complicated. For a dancer, I am more on the thicker side. Sometimes that can be a little trying because you try to maintain a weight, but as a female, you naturally have thighs, butts, and hips. You struggle with trying to figure out how to be yourself and be happy with your body as well as what you do and how you look fits into the industry that you are in.
Do you think having a thicker body type held you back in the dance world or did it set you apart?
Both. Especially because I want to get more into the acting and performing, everyone seems to be more on the slimmer slide. Sometimes I wondered, “Should I lose weight?” At the same time, I like the fact that I have a womanly body and womanly curves. It also sets me apart. For Sean Paul it fit perfectly. To be on tour with artists who understand that and want different kinds of body types [is great.] Sometimes in some cases, people will say “I love your look, but we think you’re too thick.” That’s fine. At some point, it actually helped set me apart from everybody. If you want a sexy brown skin woman who is thick and is your average woman who women can relate to, then that’s me.
Is Beyonce’s presence as big as it seems from people like us who watch her on TV?
She’s amazing. She is the hardest working person I ever met, ever. This tour and she said it one time was the hardest because in the process of doing the tour she was creating the album and doing the videos. We were all part of that. At times, we would be in rehearsals for who knows how long and we would leave rehearsals and she would still be there. We’d have 8 hour rehearsals and she’d still be there for a couple more hours after us. She’s definitely a beast in a great sense of the word and amazing to work with. It keeps you focused because you want to be just as focused as your boss. If she 100% focused, you make sure you are 110% because you want to stay at the same level as her.
What tips do you have for people who want to stand out during performance-based auditions?
Always be body conscious. Show your assets. If you have amazing legs, show them. Show something that you take pride in. For me, body conscious means I’ll go with a cat suit and belt (so you can see I have womanly curves) and you can see that I’m still tight. Research the artist and what you are auditioning for. That will help you come up with a look that you want to do for the audition. My makeup is always done and my hair and everything else. I come in looking the part in which I am trying to get. That’s the best thing to do ever. You never want to show up to an audition for Janet looking like you’re auditioning for something in Vegas. Be the best YOU. Judges want to see personality and you being you sets you apart from other people.
Is it profitable/worth it to pursue a full-time dance career?
It is profitable but it is a struggle. It’s about timing. It took me two years to say that I’m going to pursue this. If I had a part-time job and I had to go, I had to be okay with that. ” Your job is what pays the bills and also what you want to do. Your hobby is just for fun. If I really looked at it, this job was my hobby. Me dancing was actually paying most of my bills. This job is a hobby. At that moment, that was it. It was hard and rough. You have to be strong and willing to go through that struggle. There might be times when you get no work or get a lot of work and have to manage your money just in case you don’t get work.
Can you describe that moment when you thought “Damn, I made it!”
Doing Oprah and Billboards were milestones for me. Superbowl was the most amazing feeling I ever felt ever. When I went back to my high school and spoke about what I do and being an entrepreneur and following your dreams was a weird moment for me. I was back at my high school doing what people did for me when I was a Freshman. They were really intrigued. They wanted to know how I start it without all the support.
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