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Meet Cecilia Kempe

Today we’d like to introduce you to Cecilia Kempe.

Cecilia, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I grew up in Falun, a small town in Sweden where I started dancing around the age of seven. As soon as I finished high school, I moved to Stockholm, the capital, to study and pursue dance as a career. After going to Los Angeles a couple of weeks in the summertime to train, I felt so drawn here and I just knew this is where I need to be in order to become the best version of myself as a dancer. I moved here on a Student Visa and studied and trained for two years, during those years, I started to realize I could actually do this! Meaning, if I work really hard I could be a working dancer here and dance for artists that I never thought was possible before. I have now been living in Los Angeles for close to seven years and it has definitely been a roller coaster. I have worked extremely hard, gotten a lot of no´s but also gotten to dance with some of my favorite artists and choreographers! I am still working hard and have more goals to reach but I am so grateful for all the amazing experiences I have had so far.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It has definitely been a long road with lots of ups and downs. Moving to another country where you don´t know one person is not easy. Not to mention I didn´t have work permission for my first two years since I was on a Student Visa. Once I finally got work permission it took time before I booked my first job. I already knew the industry was going to be very competitive and filled with rejection but I wasn´t quite prepared for how much other factors such as look and height etc. mattered. But I have come to learn that there is a place for everyone, as long as you really really want it, work really hard and just keep going! You have to have patience even when it´s hard. I was injured for close to a year! It made me really stressed and I had to find other ways to make money during that year. That was a big struggle for me, but I got through it, learned more about my body and I am stronger now!

It is a sacrifice to leave friends and family behind to pursue your dream. I sometimes miss big life events that are happening back home. But following my dream has also led me to so many wonderful things, I´ve met the love of my life, made life long friends from all over the world, and been to places I never would have dreamed of.

Please tell us more about what you do, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
I am a professional dancer. I love performing and I take my craft seriously. I have trained a lot of different styles to become a versatile dancer and I am always ready for anything! Us dancers are like superhumans, we are artists and athletes and after doing a lot of challenging jobs I have learned to adapt fast and I´m always excited for new challenges. I have danced for artists such as Jennifer Lopéz, Ariana Grande, French Montana, Snoop Dogg, Dr. Zeus, Dawn Richard, Katrina Stuart and more. I also teach Hip hop at Edge Performing Arts Center at 2.30 pm on Thursdays.

Something a lot of people don´t know about me is my second talent, painting. I´ve always had a natural talent for painting but during the year which I was injured, I painted more than ever before and developed my skill. Now, it is a great way for me to wind down but I also take commissions and sell some of my paintings.

What has been the proudest moment of your career so far?
I have a lot of wonderful moments from performing on stage and being on set. Some of my proudest moments was performing at the VMA’s with Ariana Grande last year at Radio City Music Hall in New York and more recently dancing in JLo’s Music Video ”Medicine”.

But I am also proud of myself for my personal growth and determination. Every time I do something, I ‘m scared to do, that is a win for me. And a lot of those wins happened in the dance studios, at auditions, and at jobs.  Everyone’s journey is different but if anything I hope I inspire other artists to never give up!

What’s your favorite memory from childhood?
Oh, I have so many it´s hard to choose! I loved when my family would go on ski trips just a few hours north of my hometown. There was always a lot of snow there and it made the landscape look so magical. We would go skiing, snowboarding and cross country during the day, and play board games in front of the fire in the evenings. Another thing would be just hanging out and swimming in the lakes during the summertime. Our lakes are very clean in Sweden and it doesn´t really get dark at night during the summer. One of my favorite things still is to go for an evening swim, it’s very liberating and something that I truly treasure whenever I go home to visit.

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Image Credit:
Kaitlin Bauld, Stephen Mandujano, Troy Ramirez, David Jacowbski

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