Andrea Kelly believes that dance helps women’s self esteem. In this exclusive DolceDolce interview, the dancer and choreographer discusses her life in Atlanta as the “Ex-Mrs. R. Kelly". She has divorced the R&B superstar, R. Kelly, who gave her her first job. Now she is on her own, and excited about her new, fun, and sexy show The Pink Kitty Cabaret. Don’t miss a word of our exclusive interview with this very interesting lady of dance!
DD: When did you first become interested in dance?
AK:My parents say I danced before I could walk. I’ve been in love with dance all my life, I couldn’t imagine not dancing; it brings me the ultimate happiness.
DD: When did you begin dancing professionally?
AK: I got my first professional job with my now ex-husband R. Kelly when I was 20 years old. That was my first national/international tour.
DD: What and who has inspired you as a dancer and choreographer?
AK: Alvin Ailey and Bob Fosse inspired me as a dancer. Their work is timeless. I believe that they were innovators in the dance community. They forever changed the way choreography was created and how stories were told through dance.
DD: What has so far been the high point of your professional career?
AK: Starting my own dance companies, Andrea Kelly Dance Theater I and Andrea Kelly Dance Theater II and my show The Pink Kitty Caberet. It’s beautiful when my vision becomes choreography, and the choreography comes to life.
DD: Has it been difficult to establish your own professional identity after being married to and working with your husband, R. Kelly, for so long?
AK: I never looked at it as being difficult; I’m simply coming out of his shadow.
Because my career as a choreographer and a dancer was hidden doesn’t mean it didn’t exist. I am now showing the world what I have been doing before, during, and now — after our marriage has ended.
DD: Why did you choose to come to Atlanta? Did your children come with you? Are they excited about living in Atlanta?
AK: I have always loved Atlanta and after doing a lot of research I found that there is a void for the type of dance/choreography that I create. So it made perfect sense to bring both of my companies Andrea Kelly Dance Theater I and Andrea Kelly Dance Theater II and Le Pink Kitty Cabaret classes andmy show The Pink Kitty Caberet here to Atlanta.
My children often visit; we have a second home here. I am very excited about living here. This is a blank canvas that I get to paint my picture upon. There is so much room for growth in this dance community.
DD: How can dance classes help women’s self esteem?
AK: Dance builds women’s self esteem because it forces you to look at your entire body in a mirror in front of others, which many women try to avoid. Because you are focused on the beauty of the dance, your flaws disappear into the background. At least this is what it does for me. As you are learning and getting stronger, you’re proud of your progress which in turn builds your self esteem.
DD: Can you talk a bit about your new dance show Le Pink Kitty Cabaret, and also a bit about your new reality show?
AK: Le Pink Kitty Cabaret is an urban Burlesque dance company; it is Soul Train meets Bob Fosse featuring the Pussy Cat Dolls. My reality show is about life after my divorce as well as bringing my dance companies south to Atlanta.