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POSTCARDS: Broadway Veteran Laurie Kanyok on the Kanyok Arts Initiative

POSTCARDS: Broadway Veteran Laurie Kanyok on the Kanyok Arts Initiative

By Laurie Kanyok

Published on April 29, 2023
Photos Courtesy of Kanyok Arts Initiative

Celebrating Five Years and Our First Ever Gala Performance on Sunday April 30, 2023

WHEN: April 30, 2023

WHERE: The Ailey Studios, 405 West 55th Street, New York, NY 10019


Hello from KAI!


We  are in the studio preparing for our first ever gala and self-contained presentation of work to celebrate our fifth anniversary at The Ailey Studios on April 30, 2023!

The evening features performances from students and guest artists, festive cocktails, light bites and silent auction to raise funds for the future. (For tickets, click here | For silent auction, click here | To donate, click here)

Photo courtesy of Kanyok Arts Initiative

Dance and performing is in my blood, and the ability to pass on my knowledge and life experience to young people is a privilege. I am fortunate to have retired from Broadway at a time of change and have a very clear vision of what we can do to help carve a healthy and strong path for generations to come. It has been an interesting first five years! When I think about it, the program was very young when the pandemic hit. I say it often, but I'm grateful and very lucky to have survived it. Along with my incredible faculty, we managed to keep the dancers engaged and really took advantage of the intimacy of online instruction to focus on the finer details within their technical training, and voila! They came back to the studio stronger and ready to rock!

Additionally, during the pandemic we engaged in film related performance opportunities and are grateful to be back live in front of audiences. Our philosophy is to nurture the artists from within, we give them a well rounded curriculum not only in dance but an education in all aspects of what a career in the arts could look like.

Our program is unique and necessary in that we encapsulate classic dance techniques in the weekly curriculum as well as current commercial dance styles along with voice and acting training weekly. I believe this is imperative not only for a performance career, but to really prepare students for college applications, auditions and interview processes. Our focus is training, education, and performance.

The late and great Chet Walker coaching KAI students; photo courtesy of Kanyok Arts Initiative

As we are working on presenting a tribute to the late Chet Walker and works by acclaimed dancemaker Fredrick Earl Mosley, Broadway’s Tyler Hanes, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater artist, Clifton Brown, alumni and student choreography, acting and vocal performances, I can say with a huge smile that the future of KAI is bright! This year we started a pilot program for kids ages 9 - 12, and we’ve had much success with that and will definitely be expanding that curriculum in the fall of 2023.

Additionally we will be launching our full daytime program titled The School @ KAI, this will bring a full daytime class schedule and mentorship with our incredible faculty and friends to high school students with academic flexibility. 

Photo courtesy of Kanyok Arts Initiative

As I watch my incredible students, who are so dedicated to realizing their dreams, I find myself reflecting upon the last five years. Each year has looked so different and has brought something unexpected and special. It would be difficult for me to single out one moment over another. My students' success onstage, in college acceptances and professional endeavors mark my best memories, watching them achieve their goals is magical, and seeing them shine on the stage at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall in David ParsonsNascimento was truly incredible.

Photo courtesy of the Kanyok Arts Initiative

What does our next 5 years look like?

We are growing so fast and outgrowing our home here at 160 Broadway! We are raising money for a new facility to support all the arms of the program, and the ability for expansion for outside rehearsal space needs and specialty classes. We are building a home for all artists to create, share experiences and give back to the younger generations.

It’s all very exciting to me, I hope you will come along for the ride! See you on April 30!

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