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How Kenny Wormald Discovered What He Calls His "Fred Astaire with Sneakers" Style

Music has always been the driving force behind his dancing, Kenny says. Photo courtesy of Wormald

Following his undeniable excitement from attending a New Kids on the Block concert at age 6, Kenny Wormald's parents enrolled him at the Gold School in Brockton, Massachusetts. Since then, whether he's teaching at a NUVO or Break The Floor convention, running his new studio, Playground L.A., or performing on "Dancing with the Stars," it's fair to say that for the former Justin Timberlake dancer, the music has always been the driving force behind his dancing.


"I'll play the song over and over again, really studying the music, and then it's easier to pick out a snare, or a high-hat or a kick drum," he says, which helps create his dynamic choreography.

Photo courtesy of DTS

This attention to detail and the development of his unique smooth style was solidified in 2007. "Dancing with a live band on Justin's tour was the pinnacle for me," he says. "Since then I'm a huge fan and teacher of what I call the 'Fred Astaire with sneakers on' style." He defines this as a hybrid of the traditional hip-hop style and the street—less-perfect hip hop—plus incorporating all the technique he's had his whole life: tap, modern and jazz. Wormald's dedication to inspiring his students stems from the amazing teachers he grew up taking lessons from. "If I can just challenge one student to work harder, even for one day, that's what really motivates me," he says.

Kenny's latest project is his new studio in West Hollywood, Playground L.A. Photo by Hedi Slimane

With so much music to choose from today, whether it's for a convention class or choreography, he credits Spotify as an invaluable music source. "I have access to almost any song and a lot of new artists," he says. When picking music for convention classes, the song is vital. "There's sometimes 400 to 500 kids in a room, and if they're not motivated by the song, it's hard to get students to attack the choreography the way I want them to. I love when the whole room connects."

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