John Lim sits down with Kindred founder Caiti McDonald to talk dance journey and all things Kindred.
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Well, at it’s center, it started as a response to this question:
Why do you dedicate so much time and effort to dance teams?
Many of us are not in high school anymore.
This is more than just an “extracurricular” for us now, but we still are not industry dancers, nor do many of us have a desire to be.
Most of the time I pay to dance... not the other way around.
1) I learn how to “adult.”
I remember being an emerging dancer, fresh outta high school, joining peer-led dance teams in Chicago. Suddenly, I had to figure out how to be a dancer then leader among my peers. I was managing budgets, making logos, creating websites, resolving interpersonal conflicts, negotiating performances, booking rehearsal spaces, mixing music, as well as choreographing and dancing and teaching. I learned just as much, if not more, from my team than in class. And even now, I am constantly learning new things that make me a better person, and dancer.
But what if you were able to learn tips from seasoned pros? Trained mentors who have been at it for a long time. Kindred campers learn from company dancers dedicated to peer-led teams. They are here to give you the tools to be great leaders and teammates, as well as trained dancers. Why reinvent the wheel when someone can help you build it?
2) I make memories.
From rehearsals to performances, I’ve made countless memories and inside jokes. But my favorite memories involve traveling with my team; across the city or out of state, it never matters. But breaking routine (class, work, sleep, eat) with these special occasions make my life richer. These are the times I will look back on when I’m old.
Kindred is the ultimate memory-maker. Imagine spending a weekend in a cabin by a river with your team -- dancing, eating, sleeping, laughing, and talking together. Getting away from responsibilities and technology. Enjoying each other’s company, and creating moments you will talk about for the rest of the year, if not your life.
3) I surround myself with creativity.
Whenever I am at a loss for inspiration, dance is like a breath of fresh air. It’s rejuvenating, and exciting, to see a dance that makes you stand up and cheer! It’s a splash of color in what can be a gray world. Because dancers are artists, we absorb different styles, cultures, fashion, dialogue and art. And we surround ourselves with the people who create.
On the first day, campers will get access to our full catalog of dance classes and break-out sessions. Diverse curriculum is at the core of Kindred. Choose what you want to surround yourself with. Each of our teachers has a background in a variety of styles within hip-hop, as well as tips/advice on anything a dance team needs to know.
4) I dance.
Okay, I know this is a “duh” reason, but I think it’s an important one! Without dance teams, I wouldn’t perform, much less dance on a regular basis. This is just me, I know there are incredible artists out there who individually work on their craft through classes/workshops/projects, and find great success and joy. But there are plenty of us who have found dance teams give them a reason to dance, and a place to become better people... and I think that is just as life-changing.
Kindred is for those who want to become better dancers as well as teams. Our goal is for you to leave Kindred with countless dance tools in your pocket. Tips for blocking, choreographing, teaching, self-cleaning, dynamics, conflict resolution, confidence and communication are just a few of the many subjects aimed to make you a better dancer, with a team-oriented spin.
5) I gained a family.
My dance friends have become more than just “friends.” There’s a reason why many of us use the word “family” when describing our dance companies. We have our “Dance Fams,” “Brothers” and “Sisters”, “Dance Moms” and “Dance Dads”. Many dancers find lifelong connections through 2 am rehearsals and invigorating performances. I can’t imagine my life without the amazing community of individuals I have to rely on.
This is the number one reason for Kindred. We want to help you to grow closer together with other dancers. We have activities geared towards team bonding, learning more about each other, and just having fun. Kindred wants to provide the best environment for connections to be made. Experience Kindred and leave with new or stronger bonds!
I believe our fellow dancers become our kindred spirits -- strong human connections that enrich our lives. Find yours.
For more information including information on how to apply, dates/deadlines, and a sample camp itinerary, visit www.dancekindred.com or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Hello friends and family!
Where to begin! I've been working hard to bring something to life that combines practically every facet of my life thus far: events, marketing, outreach, education, nature, sustainability, and finally, dance. First, I want to start this with a few personal words on why I believe in the power of dance companies, and my own commitment to continuing the movement for the next generation.
In my life, dance has given me friends, faith, memories, and more. I can honestly say that I would not be where I am professionally or personally without it. Through UIC Primo Dance Troupe, Puzzle League, Ascension Performing Arts and many others, I met lifelong friends, future roommates, and even a long term partner. I've been exposed to diverse cultures and ideas and art forms that have inspired me in life and work. I learned how to be a functioning adult -- how to be accountable, work hard, tackle goals, all the while working on clear communication/managing a budget/creating a website/negotiating contracts. And all before the age of 25.
Personally, I don't have a desire to be a back up, commercial, or industry dancer. I think those aspirations are admirable, but are not my goals. So to answer the question so many company dancers receive, I dance because dance companies give so much more than just... dance.
I've seen a dance company become a family; supporting each other emotionally and physically. I've seen a company of 35 people cry, laugh, and love together. Sometimes it's hard to put into words just how impactful the connections I've made through dance have made on my character and heart. Dance has made me an honest, generous, eager, determined, capable, loving and open individual, not to mention countless professionally applicable skills (sorry, had to). I know how to stand up, communicate, multitask, create, collaborate, and even lead teams of 30 or more. And now, I'm 100% committed to instilling these qualities on the next generation of dancers.
Phew, okay. Now, what's next? How can we possibly combine everything into one, single entity, with the power to connect dancers closer together, and employ the top dance company leaders to instill their knowledge on this next generation? Oh, and also give individuals a new appreciation for nature and memories to last a lifetime. Easy (kind of) --
WHO WE ARE
A dance camp bringing kindred spirits closer to nature and each other.
Spending time outdoors, trying new things, and disconnecting from distractions create authentic human bonds.
Camp Kindred takes place at actual campgrounds. For three days and two nights, dancers will join others from across the midwest to:
- Learn from choreographers specializing in hip-hop dance
- Meet one-on-one with a mentor to improve
- Gain understanding on topics such as budgeting, leadership, conflict resolution, imposter syndrome, etc.
- Participate in team building activities like campfires, night hikes, canoeing or swimming
- Perform and compete in an all-camp showcase
- Connect with people both new and familiar
Enjoy nature. Bond together. Dance kindred.
Please consider helping launch this new organization. This is for all the current and future dancer *slash* lawyers, nurses, executives, programmers, business owners, engineers, receptionists, doctors, salespeople, and waiters out there. Kindred knows why dance is important to you.