Kristin Sudeikis Contemporary Dance at Broadway Dance Center, New York City ...DANCE TEACHER MAGAZINE CALLS HER 'THE DANCE WHISPERER'.
Kristin Sudeikis has developed a following for her contemporary dance classes that borders on the devout. Studio owner Christy Curtis calls her class “soul Sunday, like church for dance.” Broadway Dance Center student Rachel Warren says, “I call her a missionary of movement.”
Indeed Sudeikis’ devotion to the craft percolates throughout our conversation on a fall weekday. She can’t wait for her afternoon class at Broadway Dance Center. She also teaches at Peridance in NYC, and she’s in demand as a guest artist at studios across the country and internationally. “I brought her in three times this year,” says Curtis of CC & Co Dance Complex in North Carolina, whose competition dancers routinely earn honors with New York City Dance Alliance and The PULSE on Tour. “I’ve never in my life seen someone who could teach a class and everybody walked out thinking they were the best person in that class. She was so motivating, it was incredible.”
In a genre that tends to emphasize choreography, Sudeikis’ classes are uniquely steeped in a solid base of technique. “On a physical level, it’s a demanding class,” says Warren. “Kristin calls technique our grammar. Once you have that foundation, you can dance from your soul.” Throughout class, Sudeikis gives students opportunities to make artistic choices, providing both structure and freedom. “She gives you the steps, which then you can interpret in different ways,” says student Adriana Recchia. “She shows it to you, but it’s up to you to make something out of it.”
A fountain of positive energy, Sudeikis finds unique ways to encourage dancers to develop their artistic voices. “Sometimes I have them close their eyes. It taps back into why we started dancing, which is because of how it felt,” she explains. “A tendu, how does it feel? Am I doing it robotically? Does that extend to my life—am I just doing what I’m told or what I actually want to do?”
One reason her classes resonate beyond the studio is that Sudeikis draws parallels between lessons in dance and in life. “When a dancer falls, I say, ‘It’s not about the fall, but how you get up,’” she explains. “Are you still worried that people saw you fall, or can you just get up and move again?” She leavens the emotional intensity with flashes of humor, asking the next group of dancers mischievously, “Will anyone mind if someone messes up? Will you tweet #theymessedup? My dad said, ‘Kristin, don’t worry about what other people think. They’re just worried about what everybody else is thinking about them.’”
Sudeikis, who started assisting at 11 and teaching at 13, is as emotionally generous as she is quick-witted and observant, and wise beyond her years. Students realize that they have her complete focus and respond in kind. “By being fully present in the room, it demands others to be present,” she says, noting that she can’t always explain the intense dynamics in her class. “Some of it’s a mystery. I notice people can get emotional. I get the chills when I’m talking about dance, too.” But one thing is clear. Dancers leave the studio feeling transformed. “When I’m in her class, she rocks my soul and rattles my cage in this incredible way,” says Warren. “When it’s over, I’m different.” —Caitlin Sims.