Mikaela Kelly is one driven woman. At just 20 years old, the beautiful Juilliard student is ambitious and focused, well on her way to a bright future. With an appreciation for the arts and a generous appointment of talents, she dreams of a career and life of creativity. Mikaela radiates enthusiasm and charm, and working together has been an absolute privilege. We’re so taken with her and can’t wait to watch her journey unfold. Merde!
Below we share a peek into her background and daily life – Meet our Muse: Mikaela Kelly
How long have you been dancing and how did you start?
My parents put me into dance classes when I was four because I had so much energy and they didn't know what to do with me. I began ballet when I was six, and I've now been dancing for sixteen years! I started at a small studio in my hometown in New York, and from there I was accepted into American Ballet Theatre's JKO School where I trained for five years. After studying for so long in classical ballet, I decided to go to a conservatory where I would get a more diverse and immersive experience of dance. Juilliard was exactly that; it opened my eyes to the world of contemporary and concert dance that I had previously known nothing about. It gave me perspective and clarity and helped me begin to find who I am as a person and who I am as an artist.
What does a normal day look like for a Juilliard student?
The Juilliard dance division is a four year BFA program; each year twelve women and twelve men get accepted. We start each day at 9 am with a liberal arts or music class or anatomy and kinesiology, followed by a ballet class and then one of six different modern technique classes, then we have either choreography/composition, classical or contemporary partnering, voice, jazz, yoga, Alexander technique, ballroom, or dance history. We have repertoire rehearsals during the second half of the day for whichever show we are currently working on, and then we rehearse for our independent projects ending around 8 or 9 pm.
What’s your favorite type of dance?
I wouldn't say I have a favorite type of dance, but I love any style that allows me to bring my own creativity and voice to the work.
Do you follow a fitness routine outside of your dance classes and rehearsal?
Outside of classes and rehearsals I do a lot of Pilates, mainly because I've sustained a number of injuries in my hips, knees and ankles that need constant attention and extra strengthening. I also go to yoga as often as possible, because I find that it challenges me in ways that I'm not used to, and it tends to be the only time that I take for myself to get centered and grounded mentally and emotionally.
What do you like to do when you’re not dancing?
When I'm not dancing, I'm usually making short films and working on my photography. I enjoy painting, drawing, and reading, I really love to travel, and I love baking! I have a huge sweet tooth so I'm always whipping up anything and everything that contains butter and sugar :)
How would you define your personal style?
Whether I'm in rehearsals and classes or out in the city, my personal style is all about comfort. Soft materials and textures and muted earth tones are usually what I gravitate towards, though I also spend a fair amount of time in thrift stores finding bright, vintage, statement items to bring some life into my otherwise neutral wardrobe.
Tell us about your project “Exploring Movement Through Film”! Does this give us a glimpse of your future career plans?
I've recently begun working on my own project in which I will be creating a series of short dance films that I choreograph, direct, edit, and, of course, film that focus on the subtleties of movement and the way the body can express emotion, meaning, and depth. As dancers, we have the power to move people and bring our audience into the worlds we've created, and I find it fascinating that the ability to tell a story through dance connects us to each other and our own humanity.
Now that I only have a year and a half left before I graduate from Juilliard, I've begun to think of my future plans and where my path will lead me. I would love to join a more contemporary company in Europe and delve into the world of dance theatre, I would also love to continue with film projects and collaborations with other like minded artists, but I know no matter what I end up doing, as long as I never stop creating I will always be happy.
follow Mikaela's dance adventures | @mikaelakelly_