Meet Kira Dimartino.
Now that you know her name, let's talk about why this professional dancer & choreographer is still at the top of her game after 20+ years in the dance world. With no plans of stopping, this talented & inspiring instructor is ready to gracefully leap into the next level her industry has to offer. Thankfully, she wants to take young, aspiring dancers with her.
Charlotte's Little Web: Dancing is obviously not something new to you. In fact, it's your LIFE. How did you get into dance?
Kira: When I was 7 years old, I was enrolled into dance by the recommendation of a doctor. I had some major turnout issues with my hips and feet and he suggested it as a helpful solution. He was right.
Charlotte's Little Web: Obviously. You carry yourself so well!
When did you know that this wasn't just going to be something you did after school once in awhile?
Kira: From the very first day, I just knew that it was for me. It came naturally and I remember thinking that this would be something I would always want to do. Then once I joined the company class at my studio, it sealed the deal.
I also became one of the few company dancers to be allowed to instruct warm-ups and the chance to choreograph on a higher level. I was always willing to practice with the other dancers and they turned to me with a lot of their questions, even some that were older. It was an honor.
Charlotte's Little Web: I bet! Were there any particular accomplishments or milestones you achieved that began to help your career stand out?
Kira: I was awarded Student Choreographer of the Year by so and so and that has always held a special place in my heart. I was a Phoenix Suns Dancer when I was 18 and 19 which was so much fun. Oh, and now my daughter is on the Phoenix Suns Dance Kids squad and she loves it!
I also danced professionally for Royal Carribean Cruises. That was really neat because I got the chance to travel in a cool way and do what I love.
Oh, and I auditioned to dance in Super Bowl XXX and made it. I got to wear a cow vest and dance my heart out. It was awesome.
Charlotte's Little Web: Super Bowl, dancing AND a cow vest? Yep. That would be listed as my #1 accomplishment.
What is the general reaction you get from people when you tell them you dance for a living? Any labels you'd like to clear up?
Kira: Well, everyone thinks it means I am an exotic dancer which is pretty hilarious. That kind of thing just comes with the title, you've just gotta laugh it off. Honestly though, most people respond positively. They think it's cool that I get paid to do something I that I love. I think it's cool, too.
Charlotte's Little Web: Hell yeah, it is. You're living your dream. That's amazing!
So, what is the style of dance that you prefer for yourself?
Kira: Lyrical. Which, surprisingly, a lot of people are unfamiliar with. While growing up, my mom listened to a lot of Barbra Streisand and Jane Arden whose songs are esssentially love balads with a lot of emotion and sadness. These moves always came easiest for me. It's a style of dance that tells a story. I love it.
Charlotte's Little Web: And where do you find inspiration for your dances?
Kira: Mainly from the music. Whenever a great song comes on, I can almost instantly imagine the moves and dancers I would use. I immediately know I want to use the song because of it's personality. I am constantly looking for good music.
Charlotte's Little Web: What about people. Who is influential to your personal dancing?
Kira: Definitely John Crutchman. We met on an elevator after I had just taken a class of his and he told me how beautiful my dancing was and that he had never seen someone react to his teachings with such emotion the way that I did. We worked together after that and he told me that I had made him feel a way that none of his other students had. To have someone like him believe in you that much is inspiring on its own. Especially at such a young age.
A huge inspiration to my choreography is Travis Wall. He is just hands down the most amazing choreographer that there is out there today.
Charlotte's Little Web: What about celebrities? Tell us who you think has the smoothest moves in Hollywood.
Kira: I love me some Beyonce. I'm not sure she has the smoothest moves but she's got a big booty so that helps. Definitley Britney cIirca 1999. She was killin' it in the I'm a Slave for You days. Oh and Usher can definitely work it.
Charlotte's Little Web: Brit-Brit is my girl! I think we all pretended to have a python around our necks in front of the mirror at some point. Shoot, I still do. Don't judge!
Any dance styles that you'd rather not partake in again?
Kira: This is going to sound ridiculous, but, clogging for sure. No offense to all of you out there in the clogger world! Don't hate me, I got love for you. It's just that it was what my first judging competition was based on in the middle of nowhere Texas and I had no idea what to say when they are done. I am sure there is a lot to be said about the art of clogging, I am just not the one to say it.
Charlotte's Little Web: That's it. You've done it now. Cloggers everywhere are going to attack you.
Kira: I know, right? Don't do it-- I'm Sorry!
Charlotte's Little Web: Let's talk about your mini-me. Your daughter is an amazing dancer too. She obviously has a great teacher, but, how do you balance being her instructor and her mom?
Kira: This is something I think about constantly! It really is a struggle but it has become something I think I am doing pretty well with. When we get home, it is not about dance. We do fun things and build our mother daughter relationship. That is really important to me.
However, if she comes to me and wants to work on something then I am 100% there for her. I am blessed that she loves to dance as much as I do. It has to be her decision. I love helping her as a teacher but I will always be her mom first.
Charlotte's Little Web: Preach, girl! That's so good to hear! Especially because there so many negative stereotypes about dance moms now thanks to reality TV.
What would be your advice to any moms who are, or are going to be, considered a dance mom? How do they avoid becoming those stereotypes?
Kira: Trust your teachers and trust your children! Know that there will be tough times and even nights when they come home in tears, but you just need to know this industry takes hard work. And, if you have the right instructor, it comes from a place of love. We are fighting for them as much as you are.
Charlotte's Little Web: What would you say is the most positive characteristic your daughter, or any child for that matter, can gain by becoming a dancer?
Kira: Confidence! It's in everything from public speaking to social interaction, confidence is the biggest thing to gain and can be used in every area of their lives.
Oh, and you get to learn how to do the splits. And that's always a cool trick.
Charlotte's Little Web: Yes, the splits always gets the party started!
You can tell, just from the way you speak about dance, how incredibly passionate you are about it. In what ways do you think becoming a dancer and choreographer has impacted your life the most?
Kira: I feel like the fact that I get to reach out and touch so many different kids' lives is such a blessing. I really believe it is the reason why God has given me this gift. This isn't just something I do, it's something I love and believe in. My students know that they can come to me with anything, dance related or not, I am there for them. I love that they trust me enough to do that and know that I will always support them. Making them better, inspiring them and strengthening their talent is what I am here for.
1. What's your lucky number? My lucky is 11... Because it's more fun to be number one twice
2. What's your guilty pleasure? A glass of wine... or three.
3. What makes you feel sexy? I feel sexiest after a glass of wine with my hair looking real good and a group of baseball players nearby.
4. If you could switch lives with someone for a day (alive, deceased, or fictional), who would it be? Beyoncé. I'd love to be a famous, fun and awesome singer who could put on a show for hundreds of thousands of people and then go home and rap with Jay-Z!
5. It's 12 o'clock on a Friday night, where are you? I've usually just landed in a different state ready to teach a different group of girls how to dance. Crazy, I know!
6. What book, movie title, or television series best describes your love life? The movie title that best describes my love life is Failure to Launch.. Haha. I haven't quite figured out the whole love thing yet.
7. What #hashtag or social media slang drives you crazy? Almost all social media slang drives me crazy! I am getting old and do not know what a lot of it means!! It took me a whole year to find out what #Yolo meant.
8. Any superstitions? I'm very superstitious about my gum karma. Anytime I throw out gum on the street, I always end up stepping in it or it ends up all over my stuff.
9. If you had to pick one outfit to wear for the rest of your life, what would it look like? Cutoff jean shorts, Tory Burch flip-flops, a hot tank top and a bikini underneath.
10. Dog collector or Cat Lady? I am a dog collector and a cat lady. Throw in a camel, a squirrel, a horse or whatever and I will love it!
11. Mayonnaise or Miracle Whip? Absolutely no mayonnaise or Miracle Whip! I'm a ride or die mustard chick.
12. Penthouse in the city or farmhouse in the middle of nowhere? Penthouse in the city all the way. Give me tall buildings and an artsy surrounding and life seems perfect.
13. It's your last meal. What's on your plate? Give me some filet mignon, grilled chicken, all the different kinds of potatoes, a candy bar and a frozen yogurt station.