From learning to dance at her mother’s dance studio in Liverpool NSW to gracing our screens every week as a dancer on XFactor, DanceLife caught up with Kaylie “in demand” Yee during her busy schedule. Kaylie chats to us about her journey to where she is today and what’s ahead.
1. You grew up at your mum’s dance studio and eventually took lessons there. How was the experience for you learning from your mum and being the “dance teachers” daughter?
Being the “principals daughter” definitely has it’s ups and downs! I was so lucky to grow up at the dancing school because I always had so many people around me who absolutely loved and respected my mum so I was always looked after so well. Dancing was more of a home to me and it wasn’t until I was a teenager that I started to take it seriously, but because I spent so much time there I was always watching the older girls in class so everything just kind of “sank in”. I guess there were a few times where I knew people were hating on me but like I said once I hit 13 I knew that I wanted to be a dancer and I started to work really hard. It was my determination that made me focus on my training rather than the people who thought that I was getting places just because of who my mother was.
If it wasn’t for my mum and her support I wouldn’t be dancing now, but I also worked my butt off to get here.
2. The last season of SYTYCD saw you get down to the final 50 contestants. It seems like after this you became one of Australia’s most sought after commercial dancers. How did this happen?
Auditioning for SYTYCD was definitely one of those memories that I’ll never forget. I missed out on the top 20 which was devastating at the time but it actually opened up a lot of doors for me. I think that the top 100 week was the first time that a lot of people actually got to see me dance on my own. I didn’t do a year of full time so a lot of people only knew me from “being around” and gigs here and there, but had never seen me dance. Word of mouth is the best self promotion in our industry because I guess once you work hard and do well for a group of people, especially in such a big forum like SYTYCD, then the word spreads that you’re around.
3. Ant and Ash from The Squared Division use you for a lot of work they’re involved in. What qualities as a dancer do you posses that makes you so employable?
I absolutely love working for The Squared Division because I always know that the job is going to be a complete production. It’s so much fun working for people when everything is accounted for- costumes, hair, make-up, props, scenery..!
And that’s just it…when they are so organised and prepared all you have to do as the dancer is to make their vision come alive.
When I’m in a rehearsal I just make sure that I listen and watch for the choreographers detail and take on the exact style that they are going for with that particular performance. There’s always room to bring your “own flavour” to the job but I think initially it’s so important to nail the choreographers style.
4. You were one of the regular dancers on the X-Factor last year and you are back this year. How does the rehearsal and performance schedule work for you? How long do you get to learn each routine?
Apart from the fact that X Factor is live TV, it’s also a great gig for dancers because its regular week- to- week income and a constant change of different routines and performances. Usually you learn the new routines on the thursday or friday, then saturday and sunday involves practicing with the Contestants, camera runs, costume fittings etc and Monday is the “Big Day” for live TV.
5. Are you interested in giving LA or London a crack like most Aussie dancers do or are you happy here?
Like every dancer, of course the thought of moving to LA or London is always there! It seems exciting and challenging to go to try out another industry with different opportunities, but at the same time I’m not sure that I need a change right now. I’m loving the opportunities that I get here in Australia and this year has really brought some big things to the plate so why would I want to start all over again? I’m not ruling the opportunity out but at the moment I’m very thankful for being in the Aussie entertainment industry.
6. Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
Gee that’s always the hard question isn’t it?! 5 years time is a lot of time in our world but I bet it’s going to fly by so quickly.
I definitely hope that I’m still performing on stage and hopefully I’ll continue performing overseas as well. I would love to eventually get into choreographing and directing my own shows, I think it would be so great to be on the other side of the stage or the camera. I guess it’s hard to say because I’m always open to new opportunities and you never know where this industry can take you- who would’ve known 5 years ago that I’d be doing what I am today? Not me!