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Dancer Zachary Kelley Taps Into His Full Potential

Imagine wanting to dance and feeling like you are an enigma. That was six year old Zachary Kelley, when he realized dance intrigued him. 

"I would watch my sisters' dance recitals and think, this is something I really want to try. However, male dancers weren't plentiful in the small town of Washington I grew up in so it took two years to convince my parents," Kelley said.  

Kelley started at the age of 8 years old at a small studio in Bonney Lake called Michelle’s Studio of Dance. He credits this studio with cultivating his passion for tap. He trained at the studio for many years, finally transferring to the nationally recognized Allegro Performing Arts Academy in Kent. He continued to train in dance into his college career at Grand Canyon University where he graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology with an Emphasis in Pre- Medicine and a minor in dance education.

"During my second year at the University I started taking master classes/workshops all over Phoenix and was spotted at a master class where I performed a tap piece. After that night I started getting calls from local studios in the Phoenix area to work for them and was regularly asked to teach and choreograph. This was not a part of my plan at all, yet it felt exactly like what I needed to be doing. This turned into me working on small conventions, tap festivals, and performing with the Tempe Dance Company all over Europe, successfully kicking off my international work experience. I  was even asked to have my most advanced kids (a tap trio) compete against the kids of Lifetime's hit show, Dance Moms. I now work with child stars, some  of which have been seen on World of Dance, So You Think You Can Dance, Dance Moms, The Radio City Rockettes, as well as being accepted to prestigious colleges such as Juilliard, PACE, and NYU. I love knowing that I was the person who helped guide them; I pride myself on providing the tools to set them up for success."

Tap dance has always made sense to Kelley, who loves to use rhythm to bring a modern day vibe to the classic form of dance.

Some of Kelley's greatest accomplishment came at a young age, competing in a variety of forums such as Jump, West Coast Dance Explosion, Spotlight, Starpower and Showstoppers. He was chosen to represent Grand Canyon University in 2014 at ACDA (American College Dance Association) with a tap solo. This was a notable moment in his career, as tap almost never is seen at this event, being largely replaced by contemporary and modern. Kelley recently competed at the IDO World Tap Dance Championships with Team USA, winning Gold in the Adult Formation titled ‘Aladdin’ and therefor making Team USA the world champions. His Adult Group titled ‘The Wikked’ won Silver and his Adult Solo titled ‘Moanin’ made him 11th place in the world.

"I love that tap dance is an unmastered art form. No matter how good you are, there will always be something to work on and get better at. To me, its a challenge, and I accept it everyday. I also see myself as an athlete, and I love how it keeps me physically and mentally strong."

Kelley has lofty goals for 2020. He will be appearing at small dance conventions, judging competitions, and teaching classes with some very talented dancers. He is currently looking for largescale conventions to be a part of as well, a goal he has had since high school.

"I currently have been working on an international project for over a year now. I will be able to showcase this in 2020 and share what I have been working so hard on. Keep your eyes pealed, I plan on shaking things up in the dance community this year."

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