Sep 10, 2019
This week on 5.6.7.EIGHT, Aleksandra sits down with Kathryn Morgan, an accomplished ballerina who, in spite of an autoimmune illness, has become a multimedia dance superstar — running a YouTube channel nearing 160,000 subscribers, recording her own podcast, and writing a regular column for Dance Spirit Magazine. Kathryn studied at the School of American Ballet, danced for the New York City Ballet, and is currently a soloist at the Miami City Ballet. Morgan also serves as a judge for the Youth America Grand Prix.
Kathryn’s story is one filled with determination, perseverance, and reinvention. Kathryn, who saw an early rise to ballet prominence, was hired onto the New York City Ballet at the young age of 17, but just years later, she was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder that forced her to step away from the stage for 7 years. However, in her time away, Kathryn birthed an incredible online presence and has ultimately now found her way back to the stage. On the podcast, Kathryn walks through her entire journey and recaps incredible lessons that she’s picked from her eventful life, which are many.
“[With critics] you have two choices. You can either agree with them or disagree with them. And it’s a matter not of what they think but of how you react to it."
“Don’t let other people put you down… It’s not me trying to prove [my critics] wrong. It’s me trying to prove to myself that, no, I’m not any of that. And I have more to offer. And that’s no matter what field you’re in."
“I know so many people have big ideas and goals, and yes, you need to think positive. But if you don’t act on those goals — if you don’t go for it — you can’t just wish things into happening.”
“[In auditions], the judges only see 50 percent of your solo. Because during the other 50 percent, they’re looking down, writing. So, if something goes wrong, don’t let it throw you off… Mistakes don’t necessarily count against you. It’s how you handle them."
“If you want to be a dancer, you have to have the proper training. It’s not one of those careers you can wish to happen. You’ve got to put in the work for it."
[On overcoming adversity] “I didn’t want to tell that little 3-year-old me that you’re done. I’ve worked my whole life to be in this industry, and just to have it end was not an option for me. So, I was going to try and stay relevant however I could."
Bullet Points (w/ timestamps) - Highlighting key topics discussed:
2:16: Kathryn walks through her entire story, from her quick rise to her sudden fall to finding unforeseen success in a new arena to being reunited with the artform she loves.
11:24: Kathryn speaks on the origins of her personal branding and discusses how her YouTube topics come to be.
13:10: Kathryn describes the mixture of emotions she felt as she, after 7 years, made her return to dance with the Miami City Ballet.
14:52: Morgan discusses how she stayed in dance-ready shape through her time away from the ballet spotlight.
17:10: Morgan shares what she believes may be the source of her entrepreneurial “go-getter” spirit.
18:38: Kathryn discusses what she hopes others will learn from her incredible life journey and gives some wise words on fighting back against adversity.
21:37: Kathryn shares a hilarious story about an on-stage blunder during a rather emotionally-charged scene.
24:37: Kathryn gives some details around her quarterly subscription box, full of themed ballet goodies.
27:52: Kathryn shares some tips on leaving a lasting impression in the audition process, including one extremely valuable piece of advice that she has learned since being in the judge’s chair.
33:47: Morgan, who has traveled quite a bit, gives some advice on staying healthy and dance-ready while enduring long bouts of travel.
41:56: Kathryn rounds out the podcast by discussing what people can do, practically, to achieve their dreams in dance or in entrepreneurship.
Bullet List of Resources –