& TEACHING ARTIST
RESUME & BIO
KARA JENELLE "KJ" is a professional dancer, choreographer and teaching artist living bicoastal between Atlanta, GA and Los Angeles, CA. She earned her BA in Dance and a Minor in African American Studies from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and she recently received her MFA in Choreographic Inquiry from UCLA. Being a performer and arts educator, KJ found the importance of balancing her artistry in the classroom and in her career. Her journey in academia also includes coursework at North Carolina A&T State University and a semester abroad at The University of Cape Town in South Africa for Dance and Sociology. While at UNCG 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 initiate 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.
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. Over the past decade she has worked primarily as an educator for studios, non-profits, institutions and residency programs across the nation. She has been a faculty member at Dance Place, City Dance, PS Arts, Washington Performing Arts, Ladies of Hip-Hop Festival, Movement Lifestyle and more. Her affectious teaching style has also landed her as a guest artist in countries such as Taiwan, France, Spain, Portugal, Nigeria, Canada, Netherlands, and beyond! 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, and Will Smith just to name a few; 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 personal to 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 her voice and platform for representation and to influence change through dance.
In April 2021, KJ premiered her first dance film, ÌYÁguration which is her inaugural work, celebrating black women. This film was featured in UCLA’s Daily Bruin, The LIBERATION Juneteenth film festival hosted by SoCal Grantmakers and The Africa Channel. As she explores new projects and movement, KJ is focusing more on choreography, and she looks forward to the journey ahead. Kara Jenelle encourages all creatives to live 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 the National Council of Negro Women.