Today we’d like to introduce you to Ken Lasoul.
Ken Lasoul, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
My journey here in Los Angeles started from a doubtful “what if?” to a strong “I am.” I grew up with an “I can do that, too!” mindset which helped me dabble in many different art forms growing up. As a child who found it hard to express through words, I was inspired by anything that allowed me to feel and say whatever I wanted without saying anything! I had a strong imagination for fantasy and storytelling. I would daydream all day long, visualizing myself as whatever it is I wanted to be (no matter how absurd or crazy it seemed.) I started my artistic journey reading which led to writing my own books and poems, then hearing my dad play classical music in the car which then led me to learning to play several instruments, to drawing, to singing, to acting. Dance was the last of them. I was never serious about it until my senior year of high school!
I took dance as a P.E credit but instead of it being a school thing, it turned into so much more. I was creating and combining every art form I’ve learned into one and it felt absolutely wonderful. I then joined a dance company by the name of the Movement Project. At the time, I had no serious training. But I had a lot of loving teachers and friends supporting me and encouraging me to pursue my passion so I allowed myself to commit as much as possible not even knowing that by the end of the year, I’d be in Los Angeles, CA and making my dream into a reality. Convincing my parents to let me go to La started when I auditioned for AMDA LA for their dance program AND musical theatre program. I was denied because my technical ability wasn’t there and that came as no surprise to me.
However, I knew then that I wanted to dance more than ever and I was disappointed feeling like I blew my one ticket to LA. I was then introduced to the EDGE PAC scholarship program by a teacher at my dance company who had done the program herself. Despite my insecurities she helped physically and mentally prep me for one of the most nerve-wracking experiences in my life. I drove to Los Angeles with my parents determined that I wasn’t going to go back to Arizona rejected. This was my dream, and I’m staying. After a long audition process, it was clear I had the least training amongst a lot of dancers who had been training for years and were well versed in jazz, lyrical, and ballet. I had a big smile and a lot of energy. On our way home back to Az and picking up candy from a gas station (comfort food for the nerves in my stomach!) I scrolled through Instagram and saw the list on someone else’s page. Then I saw my name. And I couldn’t believe it! Through that year-long program, I worked my tail off, with the little training I had and can say I’ve grown to be my own kind of dancer. After being heavily influenced by the dance industry after about I year, I started drifting to more free movement styles like Nina McNeely’s ( an experimental contemporary teacher here in Los Angeles) that felt more like me. I had drifted away from myself and desperately needed to get to who I was meant to be.
After a lot of soul searching, training, and an influence of styles and personal experiences I’d say my style of dance heavily incorporates a change in perspective. I tend to deliver an energy of any emotion or story as a perspective that can heal and uplift others as well as feel seen and heard. There’s more to my movement than what I’d say fits the norm, and my whole life I’ve been breaking a lot of rules society has placed life itself on how things are “supposed” to be done. Having started with no training and been out here for almost four years, working with artists like Taylor Swift, Miguel, Prince Royce, Jody Watley, and many others, I can honestly say I am proud to be an example of someone who was considered talentless and unfit for the dance industry and has completely made her mark out here. I plan to share more of myself through choreography, short films, etc. All of this would not have been possible without the help of many beautiful people in my life. Today I am a dancer, I am an actress, I am a singer, I am a model and so much more. But most importantly, I am proud of myself!
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?
I’d say one of my biggest challenges was comparing myself to others and having to break away from a lot of limiting beliefs I grew up with. I found myself not being true to my purpose out here. Of course, there were other challenges along the way, but the one that hit the hardest was losing myself and losing touch with my inner child for a while. But when I found her again? I embraced her and it helped me grow into the person I am today! 🙂
We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I’d like to say I’m known for my long, spider-like fingers when I dance! This ties into what I mentioned about incorporating other art forms into dance- I started out by playing violin, piano, cello, writing, and drawing which I naturally put most of my feelings and passion into my hands to perform whatever inner story it was I had to tell! And to think I used to be embarrassed of them! (They’re pretty skinny haha) I’m most proud of my intentions in what I do. I’m very introspective and when it comes to exploring the dimension of “self” it was very clear to me that inwardly the search is limitless! Like I mentioned before, I love to change perspectives- to be able to reach someone in a way that they’ve suddenly felt a part of themselves they’ve never looked at before or may not have even known was an option only to find the push to find out or the answer in let’s say a 5 minute performance- I find that to be a beauty that defies the limits of the rules of “life” itself- all from me just choosing to be vulnerable. 🙂
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
I’d say the proudest moment of my career was when I booked the AMA’s with Taylor Swift with choreographers Nolan Padilla and Chris Scott. That was a very emotional moment to me because that was the first audition after a lot of audition rejections, and financial struggles, and wondering “what the hell am I doing out here?” that I finally decided that even if I don’t get this job, I’m still going to be proud of myself. And by simply transforming my attitude it made booking the job even more fulfilling! I felt like I absolutely belonged and it was the first big job I booked. Working with all these top industry dancers and being one of the youngest and the first on-site to book an award show, I felt like I was on top of the world! It was like the breakthrough of all breakthroughs for me.
And from then, I continued booking with more influential choreographers and artists. Booking that job changed how I viewed myself and auditions out here. I since then realized that what is for me will NEVER pass me by and stopped beating myself up for not getting EVERY job I auditioned for. None of the jobs I miss will ever be better than the jobs I get because they’re what I’ve actually worked for! So I take what jobs I go for as a way of progress and stopped taking any job just for the “opportunity”.
- Instagram: Okbutkentho
First image credit – Gap