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Meet Kim Weiss

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kim Weiss.

Hi Kim, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
As a young child, dance was a major part of my life. I trained multiple days a week, auditioned, and performed throughout my childhood and teenage years. I continued training as a young adult at Debbie Reynolds Dance, Joe Tremaine’s, B&B Dance Studio and was on scholarship at Roland Dupree dance studio, along with being a full-time college student. My focus changed to wanting to be a teacher with dance becoming less of my priority although I continued to train multiple evenings a week. I continued to audition but I found myself more interested in the teaching/ choreographing aspect of dance. Outside of college, I worked at different studios, parks, and recreation centers teaching studio dance- ballet, jazz, tap, and musical theatre including Madilyn Clark Studios, Debbie Reynold’s Dance, and Millennium. This was so rewarding that I found myself eager to pursue this as well as work toward my teaching credentials. I graduated from CSUN with multiple credentials including one that qualified me to teach dance K-12 and adult education.

In addition, I am also credentialed to teach students with learning disabilities K-12 and adult education. Throughout all my teaching positions dance and musical theatre have always played a significant role in my teaching. I would always put on musicals for the school, dance concerts, and talent shows. I continued to teach at dance studios, summer intensives, and conventions. My dream position came 14 years ago when I was offered the position of teaching dance for Millikan Middle School Performing Arts Magnet for LAUSD. With the combination of both my expertise in teaching and dance, I was beyond excited for this teaching opportunity and have continued to bring these qualities to hundreds of students eager to learn dance. Thirteen years ago, I started a teen dance kompany called OUTTA DA BOX DANCE KOMPANY. My vision was to provide students the opportunity for more professional training with not just myself but with other choreographers to train and perform. OUTTA DA BOX DANCE KOMPANY consists of a group of LA’s most talented and ethnically diverse teen dancers from ages 12 through 20 years old. Kompany has been together for 13 years, and all the dancers attend or have attended Millikan Middle School Performing Arts Magnet.

As the Director and Choreographer, I believe that all teens who love dance should have the same opportunities as their peers, regardless of their socio-economic differences. I selected Kompany dancers because I saw their potential, spark, and passion for dance. Under my tutelage since sixth grade, they are all classically trained in ballet, jazz, hip hop, tap, and gymnastics. In addition to being honor students, the Kompany dancers devote multiple hours a week to training and rehearsals. They give up their social life and their weekends to rehearse for upcoming events. Kompany has performed in multiple venues such as World Of Dance, City Walk, Universal Studios Hollywood, Staples Center for halftime for the LA Sparks, Special Olympics, Choreographers’ Ball, Glendale College Dance Festival, Disney California Adventure Park and many more venues. Even with the pandemic, Kompany continues to train on zoom with multiple choreographers, aside from myself. We continue to create choreography and share it with everyone through our Youtube Channel, Instagram, and Facebook Page showing that, pandemic or not, OUTTA DA BOX DANCE KOMPANY is thriving and eager to perform on any platform. And this is how I got to where I am – perseverance, passion, talented dedicated students and alumni who come back to train, perform, and choreograph, and the continued support from my family, my dancers;’ family and my guest choreographers and support team that make this dream continue to happen.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
The road has had its share of bumps. Dancers move on, which is expected with college etc., so choreography has to be reset or changed altogether. Sometimes the level of the dancers are not exactly the same, and that can create some struggles with more challenging choreography. We also encountered a new set of challenges during the pandemic in finding new ways to continue to dance but strictly through online learning. Overall, whatever struggles we have encountered, I work to find solutions because the priority for me is for these talented teen dancers is to receive exceptional training and most important to be showcasing and performing.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
As a teacher for over 28 years, I specialize in being an advocate for my students. Regardless of the subject, I am there to give them my expertise, experience and to listen to their needs. I’m most proud of my Kompany – this legacy is 13 years old and in the beginning, I never would have believed that my original crew members would still be part of my life. But they are and so are all the other dancers who have been involved and performed and trained with me. When the pandemic closed school last March, and we were thrown into this world wind of remotely learning, I was amazed that I had close to 100% participation in my dance classes – these classes are close to 50 students! But we did it – and we are still doing it – dancing on Zoom – training – performing – ballet, jazz, hip hop, contemporary and it’s beyond exciting to see my students grow and develop their dance skills. At the end of last school year, one of my eighth graders said to me – ” You aren’t any different on remote learning than you are in the classroom – you make us feel good about ourselves with your positivity, humor, and big smiles – you listen to us and hear us – you respect us and we love you for being that one of a kind teacher.” It doesn’t get any better than this for me.

Are there any important lessons you’ve learned that you can share with us?
Throughout my career as a teacher, I’ve learned to always have patience and listen to your students with respect. I set high standards for my dancers because I don’t underestimate a dancer, everyone has an opportunity to improve and grow. I always reflect and ask myself how would I have taught this differently? What worked? What didn’t? So that I can bring the best to them and get the best out of them.

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Image Credits:

Outtadabox Dance Kompany Wise Owl Media Group Glendale Community College

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