Photo Credit: @underground_nyc from @kyliesheaxo on Facebook
Last week, I discovered dancer, actress, and content creator Kylie Shea on Instagram because her videos do a brilliant job of bringing the art of pointe into today’s digital generation. Shea had a similar career trajectory of many other ballerinas, but she wanted the opportunity to bring dance to a larger audience. Now, with her video series Pointe Chronicles, she not only incorporates pointe into everyday life, but she also uses her platform to discuss body image and weight issues.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Shea began her training in classical ballet at 8-years-old, where her first dance teacher, Mrs. Stander, started training Shea to someday dance professionally in a company. She went on to spend four years as a principal artist at Donald Byrd’s Spectrum Dance Theater in Seattle, but in 2013 she left the concert dance world to move back to her hometown of LA and pursue her dream of being an actress and dancer in the entertainment industry. While doing this, she turned to Instagram to create her own space in the dance world.
In 2016, Shea casually started Pointe Chronicles with simple improv foot-training exercises at the barre, but technology like social media and video helped to propel her into viral stardom. With millions of views across multiple social media platforms, Pointe Chronicles covers everything from pointe work to pointe-twerk. Within the video series, Shea brings pointe to a host of activities such as jump rope, swimming, walking on the treadmill, and playing football. Like many other dancers, Shea sees dance as a universal language and uses Pointe Chronicles to speak to people around the world through movement, with the goal to make everyone feel some type of emotion.
Recently, Shea was recognized by many press outlets for addressing body image issues within and outside of the dance industry. In one particular picture from her Instagram, she let the world know that she too has dealt with cellulite since she was a teenager. In addition, Shea also struggled with unhealthy eating habits over the years and wanted people who had those same issues to know they were not alone in their battles. “I am working towards self-love 100 percent of the time and starting today I’m challenging myself to banish any negative thoughts from my mind because there is no time for that nonsense,” Shea said in an Instagram post in 2017. She also commented that her body is at home when dancing and that ballet is just as mental as it is physical, so having a healthy body starts with a healthy mind.
Photo Credit: @kyliesheaxo on Instagram
Now as a freelance dancer, Shea's Instagram notoriety from Pointe Chronicles has led to performance work in music videos for Kygo and MAGIC, as well as TV appearances, and collaborations with global brands. Even though she has more creative freedom now, Shea believes that the hardest part of being on her own is knowing when her body needs to take a break. A lot of times, dancers tend to push their bodies to the limits, resulting in injuries, but now Shea is the only boss of her career and it’s up to her to keep herself in optimum shape.
If you don’t already follow Kylie Shea and Pointe Chronicles on social media, do yourself a favor and hit the follow button. In addition to Shea’s killer toe point, her videos and photos are always visually stunning. I feel like the art of ballet has struggled to look “cool” in the eyes of today's generation, but artists like Shea are making huge strides to show wide-range audiences that pointe can still be edgy and fun.
More: Persevering to a Pointe
Follow Kylie Shea on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @kyliesheaxo and Kylie Shea on Youtube. You can also follow Pointe Chronicles @pointechronicles on Instagram.