Source: Dance Spirit Magazine
Last year, when So You Think You Can Dance announced a new, younger format, I was one of the many skeptics. This was a show that had produced so many award-winning dances and dancers, and I wasn’t convinced that younger dancers could draw me in like the previous adult dancers did. Then, the world was introduced to 13-year-old Leon Akida Burns, otherwise known as Kida. As soon as I saw him dance, my faith was restored in the show. In addition to his dancing, it surprised me that I also related to Kida on a personal level.
Originally from Sacramento, Kida’s brother began teaching him how to dance when he was 4-years-old. Then at age 5, his mother put him in formal classes at Studio T Urban Dance Academy. From there, he furthered his training at Step 1 Dance and Fitness and Chapkis Dance Studio, where he still trains and competes. Outside of the studio, Kida has been a member of a dance crew, The ART of Teknique, for many years and they even had a short stint on season 6 of America’s Got Talent. In addition, Kida danced with other crews including Family First Crew, and Chapkidz, who are HHI World Champions. Most recently, he formed his own crew called New Generation.
In 2010, one of The ART of Teknique’s videos went viral and landed the group on the Ellen show. From there, Kida experienced Internet success when one of his dance battle videos hit 100 million views and he was invited to appear on The Queen Latifah Show and The Rachael Ray Show. Here is the battle video that launched Kida to Internet stardom.
Check it out here
While he was on the brink of success though, Kida and his family (he is one of seven children), experienced a great tragedy. Leon Burns, Kida’s father, passed away in 2014 from the H1N1 strain of the flu. Kida’s father was his biggest champion and a great dance inspiration to him because he introduced Kida to many great dance movies that showed him the magic of dance. Now, Kida’s life motto comes from a note that was found in his dad’s pocket after he passed away. It said,” Keep prayin, keep plannin, keep pushin.” Kida took this advice with him as he forged on to the next chapter of his career, So You Think You Can Dance.
On So You Think You Can Dance last season, Kida was paired with season 10 champion, Fik-shun, and had less classical training than any of the other top 10 contestants. The show’s executive producer, Nigel Lythgoe, told Dance Spirit Magazine that, “Kida epitomized that this show is a journey. It wasn’t just about building technique, though the show certainly pushed Kida outside his hip-hop comfort zone.” I think the moment I knew that Kida was going to win last season was the week when the contestants were tasked with choreographing their own piece and Kida’s piece looked identical to a seasoned choreographer.
Check it out here.
Source: Bustle Magazine
Now that Kida added “Champion of So You Think You Can Dance” to his resume, he’s taken his talents to the music industry and appeared in Usher’s “No Limit” video. Above anything else though, Kida continues to teach private lessons in his hometown and is well-known throughout the dance workshop/convention circuit.
Never in a million years did I think that a junior season of So You Think You Can Dance would introduce me to a young dancer that would inspire me to go after my dreams. I too lost my father recently, but I was much older than Kida at the time. Losing one of your biggest champions in life is a hard thing to persevere through at any age, but Kida is a reminder that we all should keep pursuing our goals in life because our time to shine could be just around the corner.