KESLEY ANG, Class of 2019
Tell us a little about your career trajectory since graduating. How do you feel your undergraduate experience prepared you for your career?
My dance career has involved multiple roles from performing, choreographing, marketing, teaching, directing and running my own business. After graduating, I was freelancing in LA and performed with choreographers such as Toogie Barcelo and Jay Carlon. During that time I also worked as a Marketing Associate and Dancing Through Parkinson’s Teaching Artist with Invertigo Dance Theatre.
Just after graduating I also started my own business - SHIFT Dance. SHIFT Dance is an international dance platform creating rich arts experiences to connect movers worldwide and shift the landscape of contemporary dance in Asia. It started as my dance senior thesis project and is now a business with several programs including a summer intensive, a contemporary dance pre-professional program, and open workshops. Our summer program, SHIFT Dance intensive, is the only contemporary dance intensive for youth in Hong Kong taught by international artists. We have hosted companies such as Akram Khan Company and BODYTRAFFIC, and artists from around the world based in LA/ California, Germany, the Netherlands and Australia. During the pandemic, I moved back to Hong Kong and started another program, SHIFT Dance Project, to offer contemporary dance training, photoshoot and dance film opportunities, creative projects and mentorship to young dancers.
In Hong Kong, I have been exploring dance for different platforms - stage, music videos, events, film, commercials. I have been working on my own projects and collaborations with filmmakers, fashion designers and music artists. My recent dance film series "Night Market" was presented at the Along the Edge Arts Festival (HK) and will be in MashUp Dance’s upcoming International Women’s Day Dance Festival (LA). On the commercial, corporate event and music video side, I’ve performed and choreographed for Hong Kong music artists and brands such as Joyce Cheng, Robynn Yip, and AIA Vitality. I recently also directed a fashion video campaign involving dance for a major Filipino brand, Plains and Prints.
While performing and choreographing, teaching has been a significant part of my work. In addition to SHIFT, I have taught and choreographed for studios, schools and universities in Hong Kong, Singapore and Indonesia.
The holistic and well-rounded education I received at LMU has been extremely beneficial in preparing me for my career. A dance career can be so varied with the different roles you take on. It is so important to be versatile and adapt to different situations. My path since LMU has constantly been changing and whether I am performing, choreographing, teaching or running my business, LMU’s diverse education has prepared me to navigate a creative career path and pursue different opportunities in the dance world. At LMU, I was also able to meet such great people. Connections to artists in the LA dance scene, support from teachers and CPD, and meeting students and alumni have been instrumental to my career post-grad.
Tell us a little about your concentration in Dance. And did you have a second major or any minors?
The LMU dance major gave me such amazing classes, performance and choreographic opportunities that helped me grow as an artist and as a person. The LMU dance program also helped me develop skills and knowledge through classes such a teaching for dance, careers in dance, senior thesis project etc. My senior thesis was a summer dance program that eventually turned into a business that I am still running today!
My second major at LMU was Marketing. I learned more about business strategy, marketing, and the advertising and entertainment industries in this program. I love that at LMU I was able to double major so I can integrate skills and knowledge from both programs.
What was your favorite aspect of the LMU Dance program?
The people! The LMU Dance program brings in incredible dance companies, choreographers and guest artists to work with students. As a student at LMU, I was able to learn from and connect with leading dance artists in the concert and commercial dance worlds. The faculty are so generous and really care about the students. They believe in the students and see their full potential. I am grateful for their mentorship and encouragement that inspired me to follow my passion for dance. Everyone in the dance program is so supportive of each other. The LMU Dance program is really like a family and the relationships I made during my time at LMU still continue post-grad.
What do you miss most about LMU?
I miss the LMU community, being surrounded by so many inspiring people and dancing with my friends every day.
Do you have any advice for current or prospective LMU Dance students?
Make the most out of all the experiences LMU offers. Be open to all the opportunities, absorb the information and learn as much as you can. Utilize and make the most out of all the resources that LMU has to offer - take classes; choreograph for the student concert; talk to the faculty, guest artists, fellow students. Also collaborate and get to know students in other departments such as music or film. You never know when you’ll need a composer or filmmaker for a project in the future.
Were you a scholarship student? If so, what scholarships did you receive?
I was an LMU Presidential Scholar. LMU really supports students’ interests and I am grateful to have also received grants and funding for certain projects and learning opportunities. I received the LMU Honors Program Community Project Grant, LMU Honors Program Research Grant, LMU Dance Program Summer Study Scholarship and funding from the Career and Professional Development Department to support my summer internship.