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Apr 19, 2023

This week on 5.6.7.EIGHT, Aleksandra interviews Kevin Jenkins, Founder and Artistic Director at Ballet Counterpointe. Kevin’s choreography, which Dance Magazine has praised as “riveting,” has been featured at dozens of dance companies, including State Street Ballet, SUNY Purchase, and San Diego Dance Theater. He has also served on faculty at Boston Ballet School, Joffrey Ballet School, and several other esteemed institutions.

Early in his dance journey, Kevin knew he had a passion for choreography. So he decided to take the plunge — to follow his passion, even if it didn’t “pan out” in the world’s eyes. Thankfully, Kevin has been successful, but he knows that’s not the story for everyone. Yet, even so, Jenkins believes following one’s passion is worth the risk. On the podcast, Jenkins talks all about passion, but sprinkles in some insight into choreography, social media, and building a business.


Moving Quotes:

"Choreography 'success' is not monetarily based. And while there are more things you can do to make more money at it, I think you still have to be realistic. It has to be about the art. Sometimes the income will follow, and sometimes it won't. And that's okay."

"The downside of interviews with successful artists is that you're hearing from interviews with people that have made it. And for every one person that made it, there are 99 people that didn't make it."

"I only recommend a career as choreographer if you are really really strong and really really ready for lot of hardship. Because it is incredible, but it is like climbing up a hill every day."

"Chasing what other choreographers do is okay to a certain extent. But, at the end of the day, you still have to find your unique voice and how you can do something original. Because that's what is going to make you stand out. That's the best chance you have."

"I'm fascinated by the business side of the arts because I think it is the future of the arts. If we can't pay for the arts, then they will die. So, while I love choreographing, the thing I think about most days is how do we keep this going."

"On social media, you have to believe in what you're putting out there. You have to be as true to your authentic self as you can be. Because, at this point, we can all smell someone who's phony."

"On social media, you have to strike a weird balance where you have to try to put something out there that will do well and, at the same time, not care if it does well and do what you believe in."


Bullet Points (w/ timestamps) - Highlighting key topics discussed:

3:16: Kevin discusses his company — Ballet Counterpointe — and how he grew to love the business side of the arts.

7:15: Kevin discusses the importance of corporate sponsorships and how they could be critical to the future of dance.

9:10: Kevin, a social media maven with six-figure Instagram followers, gives some practical advice on building a social media following.

11:59: Jenkins describes the origins of his company’s name and gives a brief history of his company’s performances.

15:29: Jenkins discusses the joys of working alongside his spouse, who is also a part of Ballet Counterpointe.

18:34: Kevin walks through his dance career, including his late start to the stage and his early affections for choreography.

24:37: Kevin advises aspiring choreographers to follow their passion, even if they don’t achieve much “success” as the world defines it.

29:31: Kevin offers some predictions on the future of the dance industry and how companies will need to adapt. 

31:58: Jenkins discusses his aspirations for his own company in the next 3 to 5 years.

33:55: Kevin ends the discussion by encouraging listeners to chase their passions.


Bullet List of Resources – 

Kevin Jenkins

Ballet Counterpointe