Get To Know Millennium Dance & Conditioning Instructor Kelsi Darby
Name: Kelsi Darby
Dance and Conditioning Instructor
When did you start dancing?
I started dancing when I was 10 years old but I was a gymnast before that, which really helped me transition into dance at that point.
What do you love most about dance? I think it’s the overall feeling you get when performing for an audience that really makes me love dance. The opportunity you get as a dancer to help people “escape” their everyday lives and feel something raw and real is one of my favorite things.
When did you start teaching at Millennium and how is it different from other studios?
I lived in LA when Millennium Pittsburgh first opened so I was a guest instructor for a few years. I just started teaching consistently this past year after moving back to Pittsburgh. There is such a diverse community at Millennium Pittsburgh and so many ages, levels and backgrounds are represented in each class. As a choreographer, the community here gives you so much freedom to create and it keeps things fun and fresh because you never know who is going to walk into your class.
What are your classes like?
Different. My classes are different from many traditional contemporary classes out there today. In my lyrical classes, I like to incorporate strong technique and strength of stillness in order to tell a story. For my conditioning classes, students should be prepared for a totally unique conditioning class because I incorporate a lot of yoga. As a certified yoga instructor, I feel that yoga is hands down the best thing a dancer can do to strengthen their technique and lengthen their bodies. I also use weights in my class to help my students find that nice toned dancer body!
Describe the craziest dance experience you’ve had – other instructors you’ve met or people you’ve performed with?
The craziest experience I’ve ever had was dancing a solo for Nicki Minaj on live TV during the BET Awards. I was booked for the job the week of the show, had one rehearsal that was really just me listening to Nicki sing, and then the day of the show the choreographer told me to “just wing it”. I also got my costume 15 minutes before I went onstage but it was so fun and an opportunity I’m very grateful for and will never forget!
If you could give one piece of advice to anyone thinking about taking a class at Millennium, what would it be?
Do it. What do you have to lose? You’ll probably end up meeting someone really cool, see someone you already know or make a new friend, and if nothing more, you’ll get a great class.