& TEACHING ARTIST
RESUME & BIO
KARA JENELLE "KJ" is a dance performer, choreographer and teaching artist based in Los Angeles, California. Being an East coast native, raised in North Carolina and bred by Washington, DC; she has always had a connection to her Southern roots and family heritage. Working primarily in dance genres connected to the African diaspora such as: West African, Dunham, Step, Hip Hop, Contemporary, Dancehall, Afrobeats and Afro-Caribbean techniques, KJ has curated her movement aesthetic with black dance at its core. Beginning her formal training at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, KJ acquired her BA in Dance and a Minor in African American Studies in 2010. Her undergraduate journey also included coursework simultaneously at North Carolina A&T and a semester abroad at The University of Cape Town in South Africa for Dance and Sociology. While at UNC-G KJ established her first organization, Delta Chi Xi Honorary Dance Fraternity, Inc. which focuses on academic excellence, community service, and artistic development for collegiate students of dance. This co-educational fraternity has since grown to over 350 members with chapters at 8 universities. Her passion for mentorship and guidance for young artists has been a primary intention throughout her career.
Over the past decade she has worked primarily as an educator for studios, non-profits, institutions and residency programs across the nation. From Dance Place, CityDance, PS Arts, multiple universities, Washington Performing Arts, Ladies of Hip Hop Festival, Movement Lifestyle and more, KJ has influenced thousands of dance students through her workshops. Her affectious teaching style has also landed her as a guest artist in countries such as Taiwan, France, Spain, Portugal, Nigeria, Canada, Netherlands, and more! Along with her tenure as a teacher, she has also gained much success in the commercial industry as a full out performer and choreographer. Gracing stages and video sets alongside Janet Jackson, Lauryn Hill, Black Eyed Peas, Beyoncé, Jidenna, Will Smith and more, KJ has used her success in the entertainment sector to highlight aspects of the diaspora on mainstream platforms. From ‘Black Girls Rock’ to‘Black Is King’ she is fully invested in working with the promotion of black artists in every capacity from praise, to personal and even political. With viral challenges (Black Panther Dance & Before I Let Go Greek Unity Edition) to civil protests (BLM & March on Washington 2020), KJ finds the importance in using our voices, platforms and influences to create representation and to evoke change at every opportunity.
As a current Graduate Fellow and MFA candidate at The University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), KJ is currently cultivating her new chapter in the contemporary dance world. As she excavates her new language and focuses more on choreography, she is looking forward to the new journey ahead and creating work of substance and value through the concert lens. As much as she has been able to find her voice and expression over the past decade, she is looking forward to exploring what’s to come for the seasons ahead. Kara Jenelle encourages all creatives to serve in their purpose and hopes to inspire the masses by leading as an example. Beyond her work as an artist, she also serves her community extensively as a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated and as a collegiate member of the National Council of Negro Women.