SHUT UP & DANCE

Kyla Blacksmith is a sassy and sexy cham­pion of body pos­i­tiv­ity, whose moves are in­spir­ing ev­ery­day lo­cal women to shake it off

Northern Rivers Style - - STYLEQUEEN -

AFEW years ago, Kyla Blacksmith, was look­ing through some old pos­ses­sions and came across her child­hood jour­nal. In it, she had writ­ten ‘I want to be a dance teacher when I grow up’.

That dream has been ful­filled. Kyla, aka K-dizz runs That’s My Jam Dance in By­ron Bay and the Gold Coast. These are not your or­di­nary dance classes. These are cel­e­bra­tions of dance, self ac­cep­tance and body pos­i­tiv­ity.

“When I dreamt up That’s My Jam Dance, I en­vi­sioned hold­ing a space for women to re­dis­cover their love for dance, a place with­out judge­ment of skill or im­age,” Kyla says. “I wanted it to be a com­mu­nity of sup­port and danc­ing, with peo­ple who have an un­der­stand­ing on the im­por­tance of hav­ing fun and savour­ing child­ish en­thu­si­asm.

“We have a good time but it’s also a place where we can work hard to achieve goals that in­spire us be­yond the stu­dio.”

Al­though Kyla be­lieves she was des­tined to work in dance

(“We al­ways come back to our truest self,” she says), the path wasn’t sim­ple or easy.

“I went straight into work when I left school,” Kyla says. “I at­tended an au­di­tion when I left school to do a full time dance course, but the whole process felt ego­tis­ti­cal, judge­men­tal, and cut throat and I knew it wouldn’t suit me.”

It would, how­ever, be an ex­pe­ri­ence that would stick in her mind and later help in­form the type of dance class ex­pe­ri­ence she wanted to cre­ate for oth­ers.

“I have dab­bled in a few dif­fer­ent things to find my place, and even­tu­ally worked for a magazine and stud­ied film – which have both been quite handy in run­ning my busi­ness.

“Dance came back into my life about six years ago, thank god! “I got to a point a cou­ple of years ago where I was ready to work hard for a life that I loved ev­ery day and had a strong vi­sion of what I wanted it to look like.

“I think it’s our duty to share our gifts with the world and if we don’t there’s al­ways a nig­gle in­side that leaves you feel­ing like some­thing is miss­ing or a cer­tain kind of sad­ness.”

Kyla says it was an oth­er­worldly ex­pe­ri­ence that put her back on the path that she had imag­ined as a child.

“I vis­ited a bril­liant psy­chic/life coach and she asked me what I most thought about – and of course the an­swer was dance.

“I chore­ographed, at­tended classes of­ten and had a strong de­sire to be up the front of class lead­ing. I wanted to cre­ate some­thing of my own and had a deep de­sire to be part of a dance space that felt in­clu­sive and that would leave stu­dents feel­ing loved and nour­ished. This is al­ways the core value of what I do.”

Kyla de­scribes That’s My Jam as “su­per fun and in­clu­sive dance classes for women”.

Vary­ing in style (but mostly sassy hip hop, and gen­er­ally at a begin­ner level), the classes en­com­pass the phi­los­o­phy that every­one can dance.

“Our bodies are beau­ti­ful and we’re here to lift and in­spire each other. There is loads of laugh­ter, amaz­ing and di­verse women and high en­ergy move­ment. I like to keep things cre­ative and ex­cit­ing,” Kyla says.

Talk­ing about body pos­i­tiv­ity and in­clud­ing it in her work is hugely im­por­tant to Kyla. That ded­i­ca­tion comes from a very per­sonal place.

“I have suf­fered eat­ing dis­or­ders and body shame, and pretty much ev­ery woman I know has gone through the same or is still suf­fer­ing,” Kyla says. “I loathe that the me­dia gives us only one ex­am­ple of the way women should look. The bil­lion dol­lar beauty and fash­ion in­dus­try is built on sham­ing women into feel­ing they’re in­ad­e­quate.

“The av­er­age woman in Aus­tralia is a size 14 and yet the ma­jor­ity of fash­ion brands don’t in­clude this size model in their cam­paigns. This makes us feel like we need to lit­er­ally ‘fit’ in to be ac­cepted by so­ci­ety.

“We need to give thanks that our bodies work, eat the food that make us happy and do ex­er­cise that nour­ishes our soul rather than purely do­ing things to look a cer­tain way.

“Our bodies are per­fect as they are and ev­ery wrin­kle, roll and unique mark is a re­minder that we are hu­man and di­versely beau­ti­ful. Age­ing is an­other thing we need to em­brace – it’s in­evitable and a priv­i­lege.”

“We need to give thanks that our bodies work, eat the food that make us happy and do ex­er­cise that nour­ishes our soul rather than purely do­ing things to look a cer­tain way.”

PHOTOS: THATS MY JAM

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