We had the good fortune of connecting with Kevin Jenkins and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Kevin, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking

I have always sought risk. It’s terrifying but behind that door lies all the elements I want in life: a flexible schedule that I control, artistic opportunities, personal fulfillment, financial security, etc.

When I was 18 I took my first dance class. I loved it and realized that if I had any chance of making it a career I had to give it my all. So I dropped all my academic classes in college and took a full load of dance classes while also enrolling in a local studio. I went from not dancing to dancing 8-10 hours a day. I found out quickly that I had a knack for it, so the risk paid off.

Later I was considering getting my bachelors and going onto a masters program, in case I couldn’t make it as a choreographer and needed to teach. I wanted to be able to secure a good job at a university. But I was making that decision based on fear and so I gave it up and freelanced as a choreographer, steadily building my portfolio until I was getting hired consistently doing the job I wanted, rather than my backup job.

Every time I take a risk I know that it might not end well. I have been incredibly blessed that many of my biggest risks have paid off but the truth is, even when they don’t, if you view risk as a learning opportunity rather than an end goal, it’s always worth it.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.

I am a ballet choreographer. What sets me apart is that I started in jazz and hip hop so my work is influenced by those genres and doesn’t fit into the typical ballet mold. I was also a pianist and composer in my teens so I carry that love of music into every work. While not everyone loves dance, you are hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t like music. I try to use great music that anyone can enjoy as a way to connect with people who don’t normally watch dance.

Becoming a choreographer who works consistently has not been easy. About 1% of artists can say they make a living doing their work and I’m privileged to be one of them. It’s involved a lot of hard work, staying up till 3am sending marketing emails, creating social media posts, and planning for rehearsals. It’s hard to describe the pain and toil that goes into it but any entrepreneur will appreciate what you must do to build a successful business from scratch. There are rarely full weekends off. I often work 16 hours a day. What I do is not understood by the average person in America so I learn to live with that.

But being in the studio and getting to create beautiful dances is all worth it. Not everyday, but about once or twice a week, I’ll have a rehearsal that blows my mind. I’ll find myself in the zone and what I create surprises even me. That’s what I do all the work for. It satisfies a craving that is always there, the desire to see something beautiful being created and knowing it came from me.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.

The best things to see in San Diego are:

La Jolla: the Coast Walk Trail isn’t well known so it’s usual quiet. It takes you on the cliffs above La Jolla Cove and I like to sit there and stare at the ocean. The Torrey Pines Gliderport is nearby and you can watch people in hang gliders and parasailing.

Top Of The Hyatt is a great bar downtown and has the best views.

Coronado has the best beaches and really cool houses to see as you wander the neighborhoods.

Julian is a beautiful mountain town with the best apple pie in the world.

Temecula has an amazing wine scene. My favorite to go to is Europa Village.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
“The Artist’s Way” changed my life. It helped me work through so many personal issues every artist deals with and often keep us from creating our best work. Julia Cameron has influences so many artists with her book and I am happy to be one of them.

Website: www.kevinjenkins.org

Instagram: www.instagram.com/kevin_jenkins_choreographer

Image Credits
1000Words by Ryan Carla Alcantara Joel Thomas Liz Tan

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutSocal is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.