INTERVIEW: Kelley Abbey

DanceLife Unite National Ambassador

DanceLife is proud to announce KELLEY ABBEY as the official Ambassador of our National DanceLife Unite Competition!
While Kelley has been involved with DanceLife Unite for many years as an adjudicator and inspiration to young dancers around the country, she is now pleased to champion this positive competition for artists in an official capacity.
I am proud to be the National Ambassador of Australia’s DanceLife Unite. I consider DanceLife Unite to be a unique dance competition that centres on giving kids an opportunity to hone their performance skills, as well as nurturing their self-esteem and furthering their dance education. It is a warm environment where they are exposed to industry professionals and encouraged to have FUN! said Abbey.
What is your experience of dance competitions?
“I grew up doing dance comps as a child and, in hindsight, see them as a really valid part of my love affair with dance. They were a stepping stone in building my technique, body awareness, confidence and learning how to work as a team player. More importantly it gave me a sense of belonging to a dance community … which became my family!”
“I would really like to see more people and groups coming together as a dance community. I did comps from a very young age, I was ‘miss comp queen’! I just loved doing them and loved being in such a like-minded setting where other people were just as passionate about dance as I was. I was never really focused on the trophy, I just loved the community and I loved what it gave me which was just this enormous performance confidence that I would have never got anywhere else.”
Why do you think competition experience is valuable to young artists?
“There is nothing like getting out on stage and performing. I believe that a lot of top dancers these days wouldn’t have gotten as far as they have in their careers if they hadn’t gained the confidence and experience from getting out on stage and doing these comps.”
“I think that comps are such a valuable experience for building your confidence and your performance skills and gaining a real sense of community. I always try to bring that essence into all of my work wherever I go – a real sense of supporting each other and not competing against each other. This is why I want to be a mentor and a guide in supporting DanceLife Unite as a great, loving, learning dance community experience.”
Now in its third year, DanceLife Unite’s National Competition in 2015 held regional events in 9 locations around Australia and New Zealand seeing thousands of troupes compete live. This is in addition to the several thousand entrants participating as soloists, duos and trios via the three heats of DanceLife Unite’s online competition.
A modelling competition is also held as part of DanceLife Unite in conjunction with Capezio and their search for four dance-models for their range in 2016 in Australia and New Zealand.
This year has also seen the introduction of a vocal category in DanceLife Unite for aspiring singers.
Why is vocal training important for dancers?
“It’s the most important thing for a dancer to learn to sing, because they are just that much more employable. There is such a big bridge that dancers believe there is between them and singing … but it’s just about building that bridge.”
“In the professional musical world, in this country, I am only allowed one or two A-grade dancers that don’t sing; that’s all I can have! Everyone else HAS to be able to sing. Being able to sing as a dancer is SO important! Even the best dancers I can’t use in these circumstances if they can’t sing. Especially if you want to perform in musicals somewhere like The West End, you have to be able to dance and sing LIVE.”
“You can’t just specialise in one thing, you have to be able to do everything. By learning these other skills you are just going to become a better performer all round.”
“What we really want to nurture is that triple threat mentality.”
What makes DanceLife Unite unique?
“Aside from the positive energy at DanceLife events, what’s great about DanceLife Unite is that there are such educational prizes on offer for the child’s growth and for them to look toward pursuing the arts as a career. These prizes enable them to go overseas and experience America and all the classes … it’s just an incredible, incredible opportunity for these kids. It’s Amazing!”
Kelly Abbey is passionate about performers being in the best position to gain work professional in the industry. As such, she has introduced her new ‘Empowering the Artist’ programme that offers One-on-One Personal Mentoring and Healing for Performers. With more than 30 years’ experience as a dancer, singer, actor, choreographer and director, Kelley Abbey has remarkable insights and perspectives to share in these personal sessions
Why have you started your Empowering the Artist Program?
“The entertainment industry offers the potential for enormous satisfaction and fulfilment. It also requires great courage and resilience. Through personal experience I have developed a unique philosophy to navigate the challenging path of an artist.”
“In these personalised sessions I aim to support and in turn empower the individual performer to be their authentic, artistic and powerful self.”
“I look at setting career goals, nurturing creativity, emotional strategy, dealing with rejection, breaking through boundaries, diet & exercise, body maintenance & injury recovery, working with your uniqueness, motivational & inspirational guidance, establishing holistic & spiritual practices, energetic vibrational healing, and artistic empowerment.”
“Life is full of challenges. Creativity is using them.”

Kelley Abbey will be at this year’s DanceLife Unite National Finals taking place at Sydney’s Luna Park from 25th – 28th September in her role as Ambassador. Kelley will be on the look-out for a very special dancer at the Grand Final on Monday 28th September to be the lucky recipient of her first ever ‘STAR POTENTIAL’ award. The winner (17-21 years) receives a free personal Empowering the Artist mentoring session with Kelley Abbey.