Today we’d like to introduce you to Kai Lin.
Kai, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I started off in NEW YORK CITY, born and raised in the infamous QUEENS, NY. At nine years old, I was a hyper kid and got into a lot of trouble so I was put into dance with my younger sister Cara at a local studio. I hated it at first because I was bullied for dancing but through the guidance of my first two teachers, Jay and Nat, I loved dance by the end of the two years. I continued my training and connected with my community in Queens to learn how to freestyle and do Hip Hop. Eventually, I auditioned for LaGuardia high school, one of the top-performing arts in New York City as a Dance major and my life changed forever. In that program, I trained heavily in ballet, modern and also had two semesters of studying “choreography/stage work”. At LaGuardia is also where I met my crew who Two of the best street dancers I ever seen. Troni “Wiz Kid” Powell and Eli “Esolo” Soto took me under their wing and along with the rest of the crew, we learned many dance styles that came up in the “current” times of street dance in New York. We were fortunate enough to be apart of one of the first generations to learn a popular dance style today known as Lite Feet and through our crew, I was connected to The Bronx, Harlem, and Brooklyn where most of the dances were being created and cultivated.
My four years at LaGuardia were very intense. The program at school, the training and events with my crew and also competing with the studio on the weekends took up most of my life. Upon graduating, I decided to dedicate three more years to learn everything I could about dancing in the commercial/ entertainment industry. I used that time to network, train, and learn the business. It was also the time I learned about House Dance and the roots of Hip Hop dance from the OG’s in New York who were still educating the Youth. After signing with Clear Talent Group and doing various work in New York for two years, I moved to L.A. it’s been five years and since my move, I’ve danced behind many artists, tours, music videos, had some experience in commercials, etc. I teach regularly and have some choreography work here and there. The journey has been a long one but even though it feels like I’ve been at it for a long time, I’m only getting started.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
As far as the road being smooth, it usually only happens every couple of weeks, at most for two months. The industry can be very difficult and through experience it gets easier. But there has definitely been a lot of struggle along the way. Most dancers, before they are established or create a business for themselves, struggle with financial stability which can be very hard on your mental health. Growing up in New York City, along with being in a very demanding industry also made it very difficult. There are so many doubts and so many No’s, and it gets very competitive. Many dancers struggle with these things and so did I at many different points in my life. Along with all of those struggles, I had a hard time trying to find my voice as a young kid and teen because all I did was dance and train and had many different negative influences in my life. But through sheer willpower and determination, I ended up creating a lane for myself and turned my passion into a business.
We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
What I’m most known for is Proficiency in Dance and my versatility in different dance backgrounds/ styles of dance. As a dancer, teacher and a choreographer I’m proud to have my own voice and identity amongst other artists in the industry and I have worked in The Commercial dance scene, the Concert/Company dance world and have made a name for myself in the NYC street dance scene through Lite Feet. I’m very hard on myself but I can say I’m proud of myself for those accomplishments.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
I’ve had so many mentors over the years, there are way too many to name. To name a few, Jay and Nat Mossa for starting me in Dance, Esolo for introducing me to New York Street dance and Lite Feet, Mr YouTube and Chry Baby Cozie for allowing me to be apart of Lite Feet Culture and keeping me out of trouble and off the Streets. Kyle Preiser and Theresa Stone for helping me Learn the ropes about the industry. Sekou Heru who helped me find a deeper connection to dance and sharing House dance with me. George Jones Jr for allowing me teaching me how to navigate in the industry in L.A, and my brother Anthony Sugarmann who I came up within the game and is a consistent inspiration because he created his company “Artefakt” and we’ve been putting each other on in this game since we both moved out here in LA.
- Instagram: @kingkai.official