1. How did you become involved in dance?
My older sisters took dance classes at our local park district, and although I was only two years old I wanted to go too. I loved it from the beginning and was always dancing and dressing up in old recital costumes. After moving to a different town my mom enrolled my sisters in ballet classes at a more serious ballet studio and me at a smaller local studio because she thought being so young I would have more fun with less formal training. However, after seeing my sisters perform in the Nutcracker, I knew exactly what I wanted to be doing, and my mom let me switch dance schools. Once a week turned into twice, then before I knew it I was spending every day at the studio and loving it.
2. What are you currently doing in the field?
I am currently an apprentice dancer with the Minnesota Ballet.
3. What is the best advice you have ever received from a teacher or mentor?
The best advice I have received is to never be satisfied and to never give up. There is always more you can do and farther you can push yourself.
4. What is your greatest challenge in dance?
I am not naturally turned out or naturally flexible so making my body do what I want it to has always been my biggest challenge. I have learned to work with what I have but am always trying to improve.
5. What is your biggest strength as a dancer?
I don’t think my biggest strength is a physical trait or a certain step I do well. I think my biggest strength as a dancer is actually my genuine love of dance. Whether it is on stage or in the studio, this love has given me strength to always want to give more of myself and motivate myself.
6. Would you share one of your career highlights?
One of my favorite performance opportunities was performing the lead in Balanchine’s Valse-Fantaisie. From the first time I saw the ballet on tape during a variations class I was in love with it, and I knew that it was a role I would love to dance. I was thrilled when I learned that I actually would get to dance it. It was really challenging for me to work up the endurance and everything that went with it, but I think the work I put in is one of the reasons why I loved performing it even more.
7. What do you think are the most important qualities for a dancer to have?
I believe a dancer has to be self-motivated, hard working, intelligent, expressive and open to new experiences.
8. Is there any advice that you can give to young dancers?
Always work as hard as you can, learn as much as you can from your teachers and dancers around you, always be open to new experiences and take away as much as you can from every opportunity you are given.
9. What is it that you love about dance so much?
I am happiest when I am dancing. I love that I get to do what makes me happy everyday and challenge myself in so many different ways physically, intellectually, and emotionally. I also love how dance has so many forms and ways of reaching out to people. There is something for everyone to relate to, and through dancing we are always creating and communicating. I love what makes me so happy can be something so meaningful to so many people.
10. What is next for you?
I’m looking forward to the rest of the season at Minnesota Ballet! The next full-length ballet we are performing is Coppelia. We are also currently working on a Celebrity Dance Challenge, some school performances and the ballet Old Turtle.
Bio: Kelanie Murphy who grew up dancing, acting and modeling, is originally from Crystal Lake, Illinois, where she began her formal dance training at Judith Svalander School of Ballet. Kelanie continued her training at the University of Missouri Kansas City’s Conservatory of Music and Dance, where she earned her BFA in dance. She attended summer programs at Kansas City Ballet and Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet. While at UMKC, Kelanie had many performance opportunities including dancing in classical works such as the Grand Pas de Deux from Don Quixote as well as in pieces by guest artists and UMKC faculty; and she was an apprentice with Wylliams/Henry Contemporary Dance Company, performed annually with Kansas City Ballet in Todd Bolender’s Nutcracker, and danced in Kansas City Ballet’s production ofGiselle in 2011. Kelanie is currently dancing in her first season with the Minnesota Ballet as an apprentice.