Ailey Senior Dances to Her Own Beat

BFA Dance Major Kara Anthony Talks Technique, Style and Inspiration


Published: October 7, 2010

Kara Anthony, Fordham College at Lincoln Cemter (FCLC) ’11, not only dances a full class load at the Alvin Ailey School of Dance but is also completing her first year of graduate school in Fordham’s education program. The Baltimore native choreographed her own piece for this year’s Ailey/Fordham BFA Senior Choreography Concert, which she will perform on Oct. 21. The Observer recently sat down with her to discuss her piece and her passion.

Observer: How did you become interested in dance?

Kara Anthony: Honestly, in first grade my friends danced in after-school programs and I just wanted to be where my friends were. Then at six or seven, I started movement. After that I started taking technique classes at 11 years old because my dance teacher saw that I was focused in class. She then recommended I participate in a more advanced program called TWIGS at the Baltimore School for the Arts, and that’s where I did my high school program.

Observer: How did you become interested in Ailey versus other universities’ dance programs?

K.A.: I was looking for a place that had a strong dance program and a strong academic program. Fordham/Ailey is the best of both worlds. There wasn’t much competition.

Observer: What kinds of dance do you do and which is your favorite?

K.A.: At Ailey we study every technique: ballet, Horton-Based Modern, Graham-Based Modern, hip-hop, jazz and West-African. My favorite type changes from year to year but this year it’s Graham because I’m in a stage where I can understand where the movement comes from. My instructor says it’s a visceral technique, and I can finally understand what she means.

Observer: How did you prepare for this upcoming performance?

K.A.: I started by thinking about who I wanted to represent on stage, and the influential women who have inspired me. So this piece is for remarkable women developed from a book called “12 Extraordinary Women.” These are women from the Bible and I chose [to represent] Eve, and my four dancers represent my mom and my three aunts.

Observer: Who or what else inspires you?

K.A.: I’m searching for inspiration every day. Some days I’m inspired by professional dancers, other days by peers and other days by encouraging teachers who I’ve had in the past.

Observer: What styles of dance are utilized in your piece’s choreography?

K.A.: A little bit of everything: African and Horton, my own natural movement, whatever felt good and what I progressed with.

Observer: Was there ever a point where you thought you weren’t ready to perform your piece?

K.A.:  Well, I just finished my piece so it’s still in a raw stage, but I didn’t feel as though it would get done. I feel pretty confident because I have very productive and supportive dancers.

Observer: Do you ever get nervous before going on stage?

K.A.: At this point in the game, not really anymore. I think I’ve developed a performance attitude. I’ve learned to channel nerves into energy.

Observer: What are your plans after graduating?

K.A.: I plan to work with a company or on Broadway, whichever comes first. I’m also going to be finishing up grad school in the education program.

Observer: Do you have any advice for younger, aspiring dancers?

K.A.: I advise them to stay in there; perseverance matters in this business.