Published on October 27, 2011
Nicholas Edwards

Raja Feather Kelly Shares His Words With The Dance Enthusiast...


 for The Dance Enthusiast

I am ready to announce that the most influential movie I have seen this year is Jason Reitman’s Up in the Air starring George Clooney.
The words alone, up.in.the.air, relate to so many parts of my life- for the past two and a half years I have been dancing for 5 companies, living between New York City and Seattle. Exclusively in this month, I will have toured to 8 cities.
It may seem that dancing for 5 companies is wildly impossible but the reality is simple- right Tim Gunn?- make it work! But really, I'm incredibly lucky and I have a very large appetite for dance.  
One month looks sort of like this: 2 concentrated weeks in Seattle with company zoe | juniper then back to NYC to split a week and a half of daily rehearsals with Christopher Williams Dance, Malcolm Low/ Formal Structure, thefeath3rtheory (my work) and David Dorfman Dance-which will also take an extended weekend in Connecticut at my alma mater Connecticut College where I also connect  (tee hee) with Race Dance , the first company I joined, directed by Lisa Race.
Raja Feather Kelly , Photo by Nicholas Edwards

Scheduling is the hardest part of all, however, my day job (because I have bills to pay), is managing operations of Race Dance and zoe | juniper and a large part of that job is scheduling. Zing!
It is important for me as an artist to fulfill my needs while I work to meet the requirements of the choreographers I work with. The demands of jump here- leap there- imagine this and what do you think about that keep both my body and my mind afloat. Chin up, stomach in, exhale the inhaled air-and that's where I live.  
So, like Mr. Clooney, you've got to have rules for a lifestyle like this in order to make it through and most importantly to make it fun. That's what I've learned. And Up in the Air has taught me the first steps in doing that:

Ryan’s Rules of Travel

1. Never get in the TSA line behind people with infants. I’ve never seen a stroller collapse in under 20 min.
2. Never get in the TSA line behind the elderly. Their bodies are littered with hidden metal.
3. Don’t spend a nickel of per diem unless it somehow profits your mileage account.
4. Never check a bag. It adds thirty minutes to your flight.
5. When packing. Roll your shirts. Tuck socks in shoes. Fold your suits inside out.
6. Aisle seats are for those in control of their own destiny.
7. If you’re paying to upgrade, then you’re doing something wrong.
8. Why do you have liquids? The hotel provides those gratis.
9. Wrist watches don’t set off the metal detector. Stop fumbling with yours.
10. The red carpet is for those with status. Here’s a brochure. Please step aside.

Raja's Rules of Travel:

1. Get to New York City Plane Stations early. Sweating is for dancing only.
2. Check in online and bring a printed boarding passes. Line and Public technology are not your friends.
3. Move fast through the airport, touch no one. Serves as choreographic research and device.

4. Only check a bag if there are more talk-backs than performances. Right?

5. When on tour, you are what you pack. Pack wisely.

6. Sleeping on a window is better than sleeping on a stranger.

7. Less children fly red eye. Just a thought

8. If they airline doesn’t have what you want, tell them another airline does.

9. Bring brochure’s of your show with you, hand them out. best publicity.

10. Where there are people, there is an audience. Practice makes few mistakes. Merde.


After 9 amazing weeks of touring up and down the east and over to the west, This fall I take down the south.
Follow The Dance Enthusiast   to find out more about dancing, touring, and how Up in the Air beat out Black Swan and Crazy, Stupid, Love. I will be making my way for the first time through NC, SC,TN, and MD on tour with David Dorfman Dance- hear the news- smell the scoop, and  feel the blues as I slide down into the splits (:-/ ) and fly Up into the Air.


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