Kristi Griffith is a KU alum from Colorado Springs, CO who graduated with her BA in Dance. She currently works various jobs in commercial dance and aerial work mainly in L.A. Learn what she's been doing since graduation and what you as students can do to prepare for this profession.
What professional work is most memorable to you?
I do various dance jobs from commercials to music videos and from live stage performances to aerial work. My most notable commercial dance jobs include working with artists like David Guetta, Helene Fischer and FKA Twigs. The director of the David Guetta music video is my favorite director I've worked with, and she gave me some creative liberties to move however I wanted in the video. I've never felt so supported and hyped up while being in front of the camera. I've also performed in commercials for Skechers, Muscle Milk and Buick. I really enjoyed my Skechers shoot. I didn't entirely know when I was in school that commercials were a lucrative avenue to go down as a dancer. My professional start is a wild story. The day after I graduated from KU, I went on tour for the German artist Helene Fischer. Throughout our European adventures, I had made up my mind that I was going to move to L.A. after tour, and I did!
How did KU prepare you for your current dancing career?
Dancing at KU improved my range of movement and style that has helped me through tough auditions. I auditioned for Madonna using flamenco, so you never know what styles will end up helping you. KU also helped me hone my ability to improv and choreograph. Improv is huge in any and all auditions so walking in with that tool in your pocket is invaluable. I can't stress the necessity of improv (or freestyle) enough as a skill and resource.
What tips do you have for handling rejection?
Dealing with rejection within the industry has been one of my biggest challenges while transitioning from academic to independent life. You are in control of going prepared to the audition, committing and giving 100% while learning the routine. After you finish the audition, it’s helpful to not over analyze every element. Reflect and know what you can do better next time, but leave it at that. Dealing with rejection gracefully and not taking it personally was in and of itself a skill I had to learn quickly.
How do you replenish your creativity and stay healthy?
I take as many dance classes as I can throughout the week as well as finding creative inspiration from other dancers and music I hear. I take advantage of workshops. It’s important to go to class, find different ways to express yourself and be vulnerable in your art in order to be seen. I take yoga and go to the gym several times a week. I also eat healthy foods and make sure I know that what I'm putting in my body is only aiding my physical lifestyle. Being out in nature and going on a hike is always beneficial for my soul as well!
What advice/encouragement would you give college-aged artists today?
Figure out how you can dive deeper into your own uniqueness and just heighten what you already are presently. There are too many people copycatting and regurgitating what they see on YouTube and Instagram. You have to have your own voice. Take advantage of studio space and create as much as possible while space is free. I would start collaborating and making your own dance concept videos even just on your smartphone. Instagram is like a dancer's business card these days. Start building that now. Make it fun, but don't obsess. There is always a need and demand for artists. I believe there is enough room for everyone in the industry; you just have to be patient and know it takes time to build. I'm still considered "new" in some circles, and I've been there for years! You have to invest in the long haul. And save as much money as humanly possible before moving to any city so you aren't stressed beyond belief to get a job right away.
View Kristi’s demo reel.