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Meet Devyn Kawata of Amaya Absynthe in Hollywood

Today we’d like to introduce you to Devyn Kawata.

Devyn, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I love and have always loved, performing. I grew up dancing in living rooms, my own room, and the occasional dance studio. I started taking pole dance lessons (with my mom!) in January 2012. Pole dancing was a fantastic way to unwind and build strength. My boyfriend at the time haaaated that I took pole classes, and used to constantly berate me before and after each class. Despite his constant efforts to get me to quit, I took about a class a week for around six months. When I couldn’t afford to take classes anymore, I started to practice on my own.

In December 2014, after I moved to LA, I took a chance and auditioned for the Brazen Booties Burlesque and Variety Troupe even though I had never done burlesque before. I told them that I had some hip hop background and that I was a pole dancer, and they told be they’d love to see me despite my lack of burlesque experience. I made it in the troupe and performed my first show (with tassle twirling and all) with some of my family members in the audience. It was quite an experience.

Today, I’ve been burlesque dancing for four years, pole dancing for seven, and now I’ve been doing aerial lyra for one year. I’ve made some tremendous friends in the LA burlesque community, and I wouldn’t change my experiences for the world. In 2016, My burlesque troupe and I won “Masters of Amazement” at the California Regional Burlypicks competition on a number that I choreographed. In 2018, I personally won the “Master of Assels” medal at the CA Burlypicks, and this year, I’ll be traveling to Oakland to compete for “Master of Ceremonies” and “Master of Improv”. Five or six years ago, If you would have told me that this would be my life now, I wouldn’t believe you. I’ve come a long way for being chastised for doing what I love, and I don’t plan on stopping for anyone anytime soon.

Has it been a smooth road?
Honestly, after I left my ex and got into a healthy and supportive relationship, everything kind of fell into place. Now I’m just taking everything one step at a time, and reminding myself that I can grow at my own pace.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Amaya Absynthe – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of and what sets you apart from others.
I’m known for being a pole dancer and an energetic burlesque performer. When I choreograph my numbers, I try to make sure each move is deliberate, instead of moving just to fill time or travel across the stage. Having a dance background has definitely helped me in that aspect. Whether on the pole, lyra, or on the ground, I make sure to choreograph plenty of transitions to make sure every number is as fluid as possible.

I think I’m most proud of myself for having the guts to do what I do. It can be really intimidating to get up in front of a bunch of strangers and create such an intimate form of art, but I think I’m managing quite well. And even though I’ve only been doing burlesque for four years, I already have two medals, so that’s pretty neat.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
You know, people talk badly about Los Angeles all the time, but I love it. I mean, the traffic sucks depending on the time of day, and parking is horrible virtually all times of the day, but it’s still pretty neat! I grew up in the suburbs of Riverside (Corona/Eastvale in the HOUSE), so LA was this distant cool city that I only visited occasionally. You can get just about anything you want here, and you can also get it DELIVERED! That blew my mind five years ago. Have I ever gotten frozen yogurt delivered to my house at 3a? No, but just the fact that I can make me extraordinarily happy.

I do wish LA appreciated more of its history though. I love history. It’s really unfortunate that we seem like we’re in such a rush to knock down old buildings and replace them with yet another hotel or apartment complex. It’s nice that Hollywood has important sites marked with signs with pictures and informational blurbs on them, but I wish we would have preserved the structures. There are definitely more repurposed buildings downtown, and that makes me happy. Oh man, I LOVE all the art deco and art nouveau buildings downtown. Every single one of those buildings are probably haunted, but I don’t care. Save all the old buildings!

Contact Info:

  • Email:
  • Instagram: @devynleah

Image Credit:
Markus Alias and Sventure Snaps

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