My name is Gabriella Kennedy and I am 14 years old. I dance at Dance Productions Unlimited.
Can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I am the baby of the family. After three boys, my mom was determined I would be a cheerleader or dancer. She started me in dance at 18 months old, and yes, she had to be on stage with me at that time. By the time I was 4, I got the hang of it and fell in love with the spotlight. At 5, I was asked to join the competitive dance team. And that got me to where I am today.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Not at all. I work my tail off in the studio and at my studio in my house. I am constantly striving to be better and make myself a stronger dancer. If I have downtime, I’m running my solos, training on new choreography, or working on my own choreography. I’ve had the heartbreak of struggling and the feeling of winning. Either way, I persist through and do the best I can and be the best me that I know how to be.
What personal limitations if any did you go through in your young career?
I used to not be flexible and was terrible at leaps and turns. I had to take a ton of technique classes and leaps and turns classes over the years to get me to where I am now.
Has anybody ever tried to limit you on what you could do? If so how did you fight it?
I’ve had former teachers not advance me because of my age. However, when my studio owner bought out the studio, she began to push me because she knew I was capable of so much more than where I was.
How do you conquer negative talk?
Honestly, I ignore them because I know I’m a good human and kind soul. There will always be someone jealous of you. You can let it impact you negatively, or you can continue to be you and kill them with kindness.
What is your favorite quote?
"In this world you either crank that Soulja boy, or it cranks you." - Soulja Boy
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
I recently had the opportunity to design dancewear for Soel Dancewear which I am so excited about. I’m also attending ASH and Intrigue nationals, where I will try out as an assistant for both. I will be entering my sophomore year in high school, where I am a varsity cheerleader. I plan to attend Mizzou University, so I plan to attend several cheer camps over the summer.