Heart to Heart | Kathryn Grant
Getting to know Kathryn Grant...
Kathryn is very near and dear to our hearts. We share the dance floor with her, she is one of our first Motivated Brand Ambassadors, and is now our Copy Editor! This girl is a force to be reckoned with and we are beyond grateful for her presence in our community.
When were you first drawn to the Motivated Mover community?
I had the privilege of seeing Motivated Movers grow from its very first seeds of inception all the way into the full bloom of the wonderfully supportive, diverse, freeing community it is today. Knowing you (Elise), and knowing absolutely that you could and would accomplish anything you put your mind to, I always had faith in the complete success of any and all of your ideas. Because of your drive, passion, and business savvy, I knew Motivated Movers was going to be something special, and I was definitely going to be there when it came to fruition.
What were you looking for?
To be completely honest, I initially went to class mainly to support a dear friend and roommate in her new endeavor. Of course I thought it would also be nice to brush up on some dance technique as well, but that was about the extent of my expectation beyond support and curiosity.
What did you find?
The environment was supportive and relaxed. Other students felt comfortable to struggle, to not know, and to ask questions, so therefore I was comfortable to struggle and ask questions. Certain things were broken down for me for the first time so I could truly understand what was going on in my body when I put my foot here or there, when arms are in second, when you plié, etc. After experiencing that, I was hooked, and I knew this was going to be about so much more than supporting a roommate.
What new adventures does joining the Motivated Movers team bring?
There’re so many adventures coming my way because of joining the Motivated Movers team. Being a part of this community has already pushed me, allowed me, and given me the opportunity to do things I never thought I would be doing, such has helping plan the Meet and Mingle last year. I never imagined that I would be calling small business owners, asking them to support something I believe in, and organizing their presence in our community on that day, all the while taking a performance class where I had to, for the first time in my life, sing and dance at the same time (which I quickly learned was something I needed to work on a lot!) I’ve already had the opportunity to meet so many new people and do new and fun things, that now that I’m officially a part of the Motivated Movers team, I can only imagine where it’s going to take me from here. I’m just really excited to be a part of this team!
What are you most excited about?
As I become more connected with the blog, interviews from students, and other information MM puts out, I’m really looking forward to receiving feedback and hearing what everyone in this bright community has to say. I love hearing from other artists about their journeys and what they have to say about the industry.
What is your signature dance move?
When it comes to social dancing, I’m about as awkward as it gets! I usually just end up doing a silly step-touch with some pointy finger in the air or something stupid like that. With technical dance though, choreographed dance, I know it’s boring, but I feel like I’m at my best dancer when I can solidly land a double pirouette. I worked so long and hard to get it the first time, and it’s something I have to actively and consistently work on to keep. When I can do them relatively effortlessly, I feel like I can conquer the world and that I can rock any choreo you throw at me. It’s totally a mental thing, but it makes a huge difference for me.
How is movement incorporated into your every day life?
Living in New York City, you’re constantly moving just to get anywhere! It’s a common occurrence to walk (power walk, speed walk, jog, sometimes run if your train was delayed!) several miles a day, just to do your normal life things. As the busy, impatient, “I’ve got three places I needed to be yesterday” New Yorker I’ve sadly become, that often means performing exceptional feats of limber and deft movement in between people, poles, bikes, pigeons, rats, garbage and whatever else is standing in the way of you and where you need to be.
Do you have any unique stories about YOU and dance?
I’ve been dancing since I was six years old, so it’s difficult to think of or pick just one story. I think what makes me in relation to dance unique though, is that I am pursuing a career as a TV/film actor, not musical theater and not dance. So my journey with dance, and the reason I dance, has very little to do with my career. I danced recreationally my entire life growing up, but when I first moved to New York, I was so busy trying to figure out how to just do the very basics of life, that I didn’t dance at all for almost 6 months. What that time away taught me is that I need to dance. In order for me to be my most full, centered, joyful, compassionate, satisfied human, I have to be dancing. Just for me. Of course I have high standards for myself and I always want to do my best in anything that I do, so I do work on technique and constantly try to improve, but ultimately, I dance because I miss it and I don’t feel like myself if I don’t.
What is your favorite dance audition outfit?
Well as I just said, I very seldom actually dance in my auditions, so I guess I’ll answer this question two ways. My favorite outfit for my TV/Film auditions is my purple scoop neck peplum shirt from Express, with my good jeggings and Steve Madden boots. It looks good on camera and I feel great it in! My favorite thing to wear to dance class though is black capri yoga pants with my gray, loose fitting tank, and then a brightly colored work out bra for a pop of color. The way it’s really loose and hangs down pretty far on the sides shows just enough skin to make me feel confident and a little bit sexy, but the casual overall style makes me feel too cool for school ;) Oh and I always dance bare foot if I can!
What music pumps you up before an audition?
Once again, I’ll answer this in two ways. The kind of music I listen to before a TV/film audition completely depends on what type of sides I’m about to go do and what the circumstance of the scene is. For example, I’m taking a class at Stella Adler right now, and we just had to do sides that were about a girlfriend finding out that her boyfriend has cancer and only has a year to live. Of course I had done all of my homework to make sure I could react appropriately when that information was revealed to my character, but at the top of the scene, you had to start off ridiculously happy and in love after having one of the best nights of your life. I listened to the song “Catch Me” by Demi Lavato to take me to that place. I’ve been obsessed with it for years, and it’s one of those songs that just instantly transports me to a very specific place that I knew would work for that scene.
To get myself pumped up and ready to dance before class, I like listening to super mainstream pop stuff like “Locked Out of Heaven”, “Starships”, “Summer”, and “I Don’t Like It, I Love It”.
Have any great audition stories?
I do have a great audition story that even includes dance! This was years ago, before I had really nailed down that I truly wanted to solely pursue TV/film. I was auditioning for a show that would perform at Disney Tokyo, and it was the dance call. As I had never really attended a real dance audition before, I didn’t know what the heck I was doing, and I showed up dressed completely wrong! Seriously, I won’t even tell you what I wore out of sheer embarrassment, but let’s just say that it was definitely not anywhere near what would remotely be considered a dance appropriate outfit. I also didn’t own character shoes (still don’t actually) and so I was the only one in jazz shoes. We learned the combo and it was pretty easy, but I still felt super ridiculous dressed the way I was and knew I was sticking out like a sore thumb. Oh well, free dance class and then move on, right? I’ll know better for the future. And most importantly, still an opportunity to perform and do what I love to do best, right? So I thought about what it means to dance at Disney World, whom you’re dancing for, and why you’re doing it. You’re doing it to inspire all the little girls out there who are looking up to you! You’re creating a magical, joy filled moment they get to share with their parents and siblings, putting a smile on their face, and making them laugh. I have been to Disney world with my nieces several times, so I know first hand what this looks like. When it was my group’s turn to do the combination, I put my little niece in the audience, and I danced for her. I danced to make Lilyana smile and for no other reason. I got so caught up in my imagined connection with her (and I’m sure nerves had something to do with it too) that I totally got lost, turned the wrong direction, and basically just screwed up a combination that was honestly very easy for me. Well darn it now, I’m just the biggest mess there is. Not dressed properly, messes up an easy combo? I just have to look like the biggest, most horrible amateur who truly doesn’t belong here, right? I got called back. Me, along with 5 other girls, got called back out of a room of 60, despite not being dressed properly and despite not even getting the steps right. I know for a 100% fact that the reason they called me back is because they could see the genuine love, passion, and connection I had with my niece while I was dancing. I nailed the callback and it ended up coming down to me and one other girl before I was finally cut. The moral of the story is that it’s not always about doing every thing right. If your inner life is cultivated and you are being the best, fullest human being you can be, people will see that light and respond to it.
What inspires you?
My faith is extremely important to me and is one of the biggest parts of my life. Re-centering myself by remembering what’s truly important in life, why I’m really here on this Earth, and how and why I can even do what I love to do anyway, frees my brain up from all the other crap about success and validation, and inspires me to do my best, most joyful work simply because it’s my passion and because I can. Ways that I achieve this are by reading my Bible, praying, making real time to spend with good friends, and just being still for even five minutes and listening within and to the world around me.
The other thing that really inspires me to dig deeper and keeping pushing on is getting into class and doing really good work. When it comes to actually working in this industry, we rarely get to choose what preciesly it is we’re working on at any given moment in time. There are no guarantees that the script/story is going to be any good, that the director is going to know what the heck they’re doing, that your cast mates and scene partners are going to be feeding you at all times, or at all. All of these uncontrollable yet very possible factors lead to the potential of not doing the best work you know you can possibly do. The ultimate goal is to be able to do your most grounded, fully work despite these factors, but I know for me anyway that’s a work in progress. When you go to class, you’re in a safe, supportive environment where you know you’ll be working on solid, meaty, interesting material. Then I’m free to have these moments where I’m doing a scene and I’m just so present, I am full, and there are no blocks to expressing my inner life. Magic takes over, the magic of impulse and freedom, and I am truly alive with another human, creating a moment in time. That inspires me. Feeling that and knowing that that power to create is within me inspires me to keep pushing on so that I can have a moment like that again.
Who has had substantial influence on you as an artist?
Before I even came to the city, I was already working privately with Anthony Abeson, the most phenomenal acting coach anyone could ever hope to work with and learn from. When I did make the move, I joined his class, and I was so fortunate to immediately have a built in community of passionate, dedicated, kind, caring, generous, supportive, brightly spirited human beings. These individuals surrounded me, took me under their wing, and poured into my life as an 18 year old little girl in way over her head, and into the budding artist slowly making her way out and into the world. Anthony had a profound influence on me as he taught me literally everything I know about the technique of acting, as well as impressed upon me the value and sacred nature of acting as an art form. But also so many of my classmates and friends from those first few years influenced me every single day as I watched some of the most amazingly real, raw, honestly, moving work I’ve every witnessed, and also as I watched others struggle, learn, be vulnerable, and grow. There are so many people who’s openness in their own journeys deeply affected me, and for each and every one of them I am grateful.
Where do you go for rejuvenation?
I’m not going to lie, Netflix and chill times are a real thing for me. I’m the type of person who’s brain almost never stops going, thinking, planning, worrying, over analyzing, so one of the only times I can get it to just plain stop and I can relax is if I’m pulled into someone else’s world and I can zone out of my own for a bit.
We love quotes. Introduce us to one?
I was recently told this, and I absolutely love it. “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself less.”
What is one piece of advice that’s always stuck with you?
Something Anthony used to always say in class is that there is no change without understanding. This is a principle I have found to be overwhelmingly true time and time again.
If you could share one thing with the motivated mover community, what would it be?
Protect the child that is inside of you. We all got into this business for a reason, right? I think I can safely say for everyone that that reason wasn’t because we were all dying to see approval and validation from random people behind a desk, to kill ourselves working survival jobs only to get up at 6 am the next morning for yet another audition. These are all necessary evils that come along with pursuing what we love to do, but it is not what you love or why you are doing it. Make time to remind yourself. Whatever it was the inspired you to start doing this, whether it was at two, or eight, or 16, or 26, whatever fed you, inspired you, and filled you to such a capacity that you just knew you had to seek after feeling that way again, make time to take yourself back to that. It is so easy to get caught up in the business, or the need to make a living, or whatever, but if that is the only thing you ever think about and it’s the only thing you associate with your art form, it will choke you. It will kill that innocent little child from the inside out, and then what is left for why you’re doing one of the hardest things in the world? So remind yourself. Protect it. Don’t let anyone or anything in this industry, or family, or friends take your passion away from you.
Feel free to reach out to Kathryn at firstname.lastname@example.org