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NYCDA Winner Kaylin Maggard Shares Her Teachers' Gold-Medal Advice

Kaylin Maggard at NYCDA Nationals. Photo courtesy of Maggard

2017 was a big year for Columbia Performing Arts Centre alumna Kaylin Maggard. Not only did she graduate from high school in Columbia, Missouri, and begin her studies at Juilliard, she won the title of Senior Female Outstanding Dancer at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals, was one of 22 YoungArts finalists in dance and was named the Dance Spirit magazine Cover Model Search Winner. Now on tour with NYCDA, Maggard shares some of her CPAC teachers' best advice and training tactics that helped her achieve her goals.

Photo courtesy of Dance Spirit

How she built her solid technical foundation: "I trained a lot in ballet and had an amazing ballet teacher named Kristen Weiser. She is basically who I owe my technique to. She's really big on elevation, so she gave us a lot of jumps in class. She also stressed articulating the feet in class, so that helped strengthen my feet a lot."

How she learned to embrace her individuality: "Jen Lee is the director of our studio. She was so invested in who I was as a dancer and a person and didn't try to change me into anyone else. She fully believed in me. Her telling me to stay true to who I am helped me to fully embrace myself instead of trying to be like another dancer."

How she pushed her dancing to the next level: "Lauren Adams is one of my biggest mentors. She challenges me constantly to bring out the most she can in me. If she thinks I can do something well, she'll make it harder. The first solo I ever did with her, I was 13. I learned the whole solo, and then Kristen came in and said, 'It's really good. She has it.' So the next day Lauren changed it to make it a lot harder."

Watch Maggard's award-winning solo Smile, choreographed by Lauren Adams.

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