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Cecly Placenti, Artistic Director

  • Writer's pictureCecly Placenti

Spotlight Session: Lloyd Knight

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 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.


Lloyd Knight was born in England and reared in Miami. Has a BFA from the New World School of the Arts under Artistic Director Daniel Lewis. Mr. Knight joined the Martha Graham Dance Company in 2005 and was promoted to Principal in 2014. He has had ballets choreographed on him by Nacho Duato twice, Andonis Foniadakis, Larry Keigwin, Doug Varone, Lar Lubovitch, Kyle Abraham, Liz Gerring, Michelle Dorrance, Anne Bogart, Pontus Linberg, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Pam Tanowitz, Hofesh Shechter and Mats Ek. Dance Magazine named Mr. Knight as one of the “Top 25 Dancers to Watch” in 2010. He partnered with New York City Ballet Principal Wendy Whelan in Graham's "Moon Duet" and with American Ballet Theatre's Principal Misty Copeland in a Graham’s "Letter to the World". He was picked Best Performer of 2015 by Dance Magazine. Bessie Nominated for best Performer in 2022, performed “State of Darkness” by Molissa Fenley as well as a Guest Principal Dancer for Twyla Tharps City Center Season in 2022. Most recently he was a guest Principal artist for The Royal Ballet of Flanders.

1. How did your artistic journey begin?

In middle school my home class was in the dance studio. It was a magnet arts high school but I wasn’t in the program. One day I was dancing around with some others and the teacher asked me to stay after to try out some moves. She took me into the program that day. From that point dance always stayed with me. I had a break for high school but I knew I loved it because it’s all I could think about. So I pushed for it. 

2. What drives you as an individual artist? What do you hope to express/convey to the world through your work?

My deep love and commitment to the art form. I want people to watch me and really feel what I feel. To walk away going on the journey I made. 

3. When do you feel most powerful?

When I’m clear headed and respected for what I can I provide as a person and artist.

4. What has been your biggest challenge and your proudest moment during your artistic growth?

Accepting where I am in a particular moment and being happy with it, accepting there’s no just thing as perfect and to strive but also have patience. My proudest moment was when I started to get lost in my performances. It’s when I forget about the technique, the spacing etc and just fully gave in to my character and lived on stage.

5. Can you describe your creative process?

Depending on what I’m working on it can be very different. But some kind of class is always necessary. Feeling inspired, so that can be seeing shows, museums, writing etc. 

6. What do you do when you are not creating? What things outside of the dance industry inspire you and fuel your creativity?

My friends inspire me, the beach, particular places like Paris inspire me. Music, museums.

7. What is next for you?

Developing a one person show at the moment. Besides that I want to continue to grow. The Graham company has our season this year at New York City Center in April which will be very exciting! 

8. Is there a piece of advice you'd give to emerging artists? Is there anything you'd like to share which you specifically advocate for in the performing arts field?

Always stay open, push yourself! Get out of your comfort zone and explore. Sometimes you will hear no’s but just know there are so many other opportunities in the world and people who will truly appreciate you and your gifts. Stay inspired and hungry for the art.

See Lloyd in action!

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