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Tiare Keeno Loves Creating a Safe Space Where Dancers Can Explore

Photo by Samantha Clink. Courtesy of BODYTRAFFIC

Tiare Keeno successfully straddles the worlds of concert and commercial dance. She began her training at one of the country's premier competition studios, Center Stage Performing Arts Studio in Orem, Utah, before eventually transitioning to a top-notch classical conservatory, Classical Ballet Academy. All the while, she kept a close relationship with the razzle-dazzle of conventions, attending many each year before joining Nevada Ballet Theatre in 2012. "I've always said I wanted to stay open and try new things," Keeno says. After graduating from The Juilliard School in 2016, she moved to Macau, China, to work on the creation of a new Cirque du Soleil show, and performed in Al Blackstone's Freddie Falls in Love at The Joyce Theater in 2019, before landing her current position with BODYTRAFFIC for the 2019–20 season.

On keeping her feet in both the competition and concert worlds "Dabbling in multiple areas has opened doors for me. While it can be motivating to be focused on one very specific goal, it can also be helpful to broaden and see what other possibilities might be around you. I took voice lessons and acting lessons throughout my adolescence, and I found common threads of information through that and the different genres of dance I do. You never know where your career is going to take you, and it's important to have a wide set of tools to pull from. Even if your professional career keeps you tied to a classical company your whole life, you're going to have choreographers come in and challenge you with new ways of moving. Expanding your training will only make you more prepared."

On doing concert work in the heartland of commercial dance "L.A. is so big in the commercial scene—that's what it's known for in the industry—but when I moved out here, I realized how many dancers and choreographers are actually invested in the concert world, as well. People are moving out here to cultivate a new concert community. I personally really love it, because it shows that multiple fields of the same industry can co-exist in the same area. One doesn't have to be dominant over the other. Just because you live in L.A. doesn't mean you're pigeonholed."

On her teaching emphasis "I try to create a safe space where dancers can play and explore. I love when dancers are open to new things, to scary things, to weird things. I love when I see their fear, and then watch them channel it into their dancing. These moments are when immense growth happens. Diving into an exercise that doesn't feel quite right on your body is preparation for professional work. I help them feel comfortable by being open about my own fears. I put myself in their position and let them know that I'm scared, too, and this is how I'm dealing with it. When they see that in their instructor, it's a bit less daunting."

Training: Center Stage Performing Arts Studio (1999–2002); Wasatch Dance Center (2002–08); Classical Ballet Academy (2008–12); The Juilliard School (2012–16)

Professional: Nevada Ballet Theatre (2012); Al Blackstone's Freddie Falls in Love (2019); BODYTRAFFIC (2019–present)

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Scott Robbins, Courtesy IABD

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