Kayla Tuggle is a student at Codarts Hogeschool voor de Kunsten. She has taken the courageous step to move to the Netherlands from in Illinois (US). She is delighted to be an intern at Conny Janssen Danst this season.

“During my solo I felt truly alive and gave every ounce of my body. It was exhilarating.”

Why did you start dancing?
“I first started dancing because my mother put me in as a social thing. I also had a problem with my left eye. The brain gave up on the muscle, so to speak, so they figured it would be good for me to dance and to have to be aware of the space around me. It worked, but also, from there on I got used to using the other senses of my body. After those years I joined competition with my studio, and really began to love dance. I did mosty hiphop, jazz and lyrical then.

When I was fourteen I decided that I wanted to pursue dance as a career. At sixteen I left home and moved to California, where I went to a boarding school for performing arts, Idyllwild Arts Academy. It was the only school in the States that involved modern, jazz, pointe and ballet. The other two schools were strictly classical.

I had a teacher there that came to Holland to work with Anouk van Dijk, and she told me that she thought Codarts (Hogeschool voor de Kunsten red.) would be a good fit for me. She said it was a really good school. And now I’m here. This is my fourth year in Codarts and I’m doing my internship at Conny Janssen Danst!”

What do you think about when you enter the studio in the mornings?
“I first think about what my body needs for the day, I think about how I feel. Then I try to be aware of everyone else, too. I try to get the vibe, to see how the atmosphere is that day, for us as a group.”

Can you recall a moment in a performance that really moved you?
“When I first saw Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, I was really moved by them. It’s a long time ago, so I can’t describe exactly what precise emotions I felt back then. All I can say is they captured all the emotions in my body. It was incredible. I was completely captured.

Some time ago we had a performance with my year and I performed a piece from Alida Dors (A hiphop dancer and choreographer, also artistic leader of Solid Ground Movement). It was a kind of hiphop, urban piece and I had a solo in it. That performance was the one time in my life so far that I felt really alive when dancing. I was so alive, I took the stage and gave every ounce of my body. It felt exhilarating.”

How would you describe your work at Conny Janssen Danst to your friends?
“It is hard to explain to people exactly what I do. The best way I can break it down is to explain that it involves classical technique, with some modern and contemporary as well. I think I fit the modern and contemporary dance style best because of my body type and the structure of it. I wouldn’t say Conny Janssen Danst is an entirely contemporary company, because we’re all so different. I think it is contemporary for a large part, because everybody adds their own individuality to the pieces. Everyone has their own input and we all create parts of the pieces, in a sense. The work becomes very diverse because of that, which I think you could see as contemporary.

I haven’t worked with Conny Janssen herself that much yet, but I really look forward to working with her because I hear that she really brings out the best in her dancers. So far it’s been good, it’s been really fun.”

After a day of rehearsals, do you take the work home with you?
“In the first week, definitely. I would go home and look on my computer to check the rehearsal videos, to make sure I got all the counts right. But now I just go home and relax, really. I go to bed quite early, because it’s still quite a lot to take in, starting in a new company. But no, I never really leave the dance behind. It goes home with me. In the evenings I still sing the music that is played during the rehearsals.”

What do you do when you’re not dancing?
“I like to read to relax, I’m into the Dan Brown books at the moment. I love my tv shows. I need to catch up on them, actually. I like to knit too, in the winter time. I also love cooking and baking, so on the weekends I often make bread and little pastries.”

What do you want to give to people when you dance?
“I always said I just want to give the people the happiness I get from dancing. I want them to feel how I feel when I dance, to experience the happiness I get from doing this. I don’t know if that’s always what they take away from it, but that’s ok, maybe they need other things from dance. I still try to get the happiness that I feel across to my audience.”

What is your dream?
“My dream was quite simple when I was younger: I just wanted to dance, period. I didn’t care where. But now that I’m older I know that it really matters where you dance. You don’t want to be unhappy in your career, with your dream. It is a dream: I think dancers are quite lucky, because they get to do what they love. I already feel so happy and overwhelmed that I’m dancing with this company now. I’m still trying to figure out the next step after this.”

Want to see Kayla perform in HOW LONG IS NOW? Check the English part of the website for tour dates.

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