Spotlight Session: Kamryn Vaulx
What are the Spotlight Sessions?
I was the child who asked “why” 150 times in a row, to the dismay and occasional annoyance of the adults around me. That curiosity and need for discovery grew with me and became a guide on my artistic path. Determination, inquisitiveness, and the drive to connect with others led me to write, dance, choreograph, produce, and educate.
I started my company, Six Degrees Dance, with the mission of creating community. Embodying the theory that all people are connected through a social network of 6 or fewer degrees, we collaborate in an environment where the exchange of ideas is the building block for innovation and growth. We approach dance making with the belief that the contribution of the individual benefits the group, and results in a body of work reflective of the sum of its parts.
To that end, we have developed several initiatives that connect artists with audiences and with each other, maintaining the idea of six degrees of separation as the foundation for those connections. Our annual showcase brings together national and international choreographers, most of whom have never met. Our Choreographic Commission series allows the dancers of Six Degrees to work with a variety of choreographers in different styles. In The Spotlight Sessions, I will present a different artist each cycle, and through interviews, short feature articles, previews, and capsule reviews, offer a behind the scenes look into their work and their process. I hope you enjoy getting to know these unique, talented individuals as much as I have, and continue to follow them on their creative paths.
Kamryn Vaulx is a multifaceted dancer currently living in NYC, by way of Memphis, TN. She is a graduate of Marymount Manhattan College where she earned a BFA in Dance with a concentration in Choreography. In Memphis, TN, Kamryn began her dance training at 3 years old. She has trained for years in styles such as jazz, contemporary, hip hop, tap, ballet, modern, West African, and flamenco. She is currently dancing with Project Tag New York, a contemporary company under the direction of Iraq native, Hussein Smko. Kamryn is also set to tour this fall into 2024 with choreographer, Dianne McIntyre, performing her new work, “In the Same Tongue”. She is also a part of other companies in NY such as SHINSA, under direction of Korean native, Bo Park, and LA based dance company, The Motus Company, under the direction of Portugal native, Diana Matos. Kamryn has worked with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Bill T. Jones/ Arnie Zane Company. Kamryn has also had the opportunity to work with other choreographers such as Ronald K. Brown and Fredrick Earl Mosley. She’s performed on stages like AFRO PUNK and SummerStage Festival NYC with pop artist Rodney Chrome and also dances for Brazilian pop artist, Tatiana Lima. With her love for direction and choreography, she has presented original pieces such as Or•chard at Arts on Site, and acted as choreographer and set designer for the immersive show, LIMBO, presented by SHINSA Company. Kamryn has also had the opportunity for her choreographic concept to “BLACK FOLK” by the New Orleans Band, Tank and the Bangas, featured on the Steven Colbert show in 2022. With her versatile dance background and curiosity for the art of creation, Kamryn aspires to share the intersections that are within dance styles and cultures. She is passionate about the power of story telling and how healing it is for us all. Kamryn hopes to continue grounding herself in what makes her story special, while enlightening others to tap into what whats their story special.
1. How did your artistic journey begin?
I am am originally from Memphis Tennessee, and my family always tells me they had a feeling I would be a dancer because I was born with really long limbs. I started dancing really young at three years old with creative movement classes. Later my training started developing into ballet, a lot of tap training and jazz and hip hop training. As I got older and more interested in dance, I started to explore more contemporary and modern styles of dance. Once I got to college, I knew I wanted to pursue dancing, performing, and creating, as well as becoming a choreographer. My family gave me a lot of space to explore dance because they believed I was excelling at it, and I was passionate. Dance was always a natural art form that I gravitated towards. I also give a lot of credit to Memphis because the city is just so full of music and creativity.
2. What drives you as an individual artist? What do you hope to express/convey to the world through your work?
Specifically in high school, it was very hard for me to share my opinion on a lot of things and to speak up and to feel confident. So I think that shift for me was like okay, dance seems like it's the only thing sticking. Dance allows me to speak somehow, and it feels natural, like moving my body or creating a piece of work that involves the body. Dance allows me to say everything I need to say, even if someone still does not understand. Telling my story and asking questions and being curious allows my curiosity to just flow through movement.
3. When do you feel most powerful?
Right now I'm finding a lot of power in taking back control. This happens in so many ways. Currently I'm moving out of my Brooklyn apartment that I've been in for three years since the pandemic. When I moved in here I felt powerful because I was taking control of life even though I was so unsure about where money was gonna come from, what jobs I was going to book, and what communities I was going to be a part of; all of the things I don't have control over. Even though this is not dance related, creating a home that feels like it belongs to me somehow gives me that control and that safety net that I need, especially being far from home.
4. What has been your biggest challenge and your proudest moment during your artistic growth?
I have so much to share and people want me to be a part of it. But it's hard for me to let others be a part of my world. So that's a challenge and maybe also has to do with the pandemic, specifically coming out of college and having to now enter into adulthood and a career in this timeframe where we spent so much time alone at home. A lot of us were grieving people that we were losing and environments that we were losing, but then having to go back to normal and make a new environment. It's been scary for me and very challenging. I have to push myself to allow new spaces to come to me.
I choreographed for a performance which showed four times a week. I was so proud of myself and I was proud that I was able to watch the show as an audience member because we had different cast members. Someone went in for me the very last show and I got to watch the closing night. Just to be able to sit back as an audience member and see the visuals that I was able to create with the immersive show was amazing. I was crying the whole time because I was so inspired by all my peers. We were all very exhausted because we were doing so much, but it was beautiful to be able to sit back and finally get to feel like, wow, I created a space for not just myself but others as well.
5. Can you describe your creative process?
I would say my creative process is very intuitive. I can sit on an idea for a very long time and something I listen to, whether it's a podcast or I read a book and there's usually one line that finally inspires me to act on the idea that I've seen. I just go with it. My intuition pushes me to make decisions even if they're not fully developed. I allow things to come to me naturally because I don't ever want dance to get frustrating for me. I don't ever want to lose my passion and what feels so natural. When I think of movement and how music moves me, I visualize certain songs and energies. I take pride in my creative process.
6.What do you do when you are not creating? What things outside of the dance industry inspire you and fuel your creativity?
I became interested in doing hand poke tattoos. I saw it on YouTube and became really fascinated with the history behind the traditional hand poke tattoos. I studied that and just practiced a lot on myself and some friends that were willing to let me practice on them too. I'm also interested in interior design and love to cook. I think my interested in interior design goes back to being a homemaker. I just really love being home. I love feeling like my space is cared for because it's cared for.
7. What is next for you?
I will be on tour with dance company and choreographer Diane Macintire, which has had different residences since last summer. In September I will start touring work, including New York’s Apollo Theater. I’m always finding and following my own rhythm.
A quick look at Kamryn Vaulx's Work