We had the good fortune of connecting with Savea Kagan and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Savea, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Though it’s as beautiful as it is terrifying, risk is an indispensable part of creating the most pivotal changes in life. Change is inevitable, and I’ve particularly learned during these uncertain times that it’s how we choose to react to change that determines our futures. Risk has played a huge role in my life from a young age. Amidst a global pandemic, I received the Holland scholarship and moved to the Netherlands the day after my 18th birthday to study dance at Codarts Rotterdam University of The Arts. I knew this was the perfect fit for me to further my artistic development and goals to use dance and choreography to create social change. Moving to a foreign country alone as the only American in the program full of students from all over the globe was daunting and exhilarating, I was “nervouscited” as my little sister would say. I quickly overcame any doubts once I met my incredible CODARTS peers and faculty. I instantly felt at home and knew what I was destined to do was meant for something greater. From here I aspire to travel through Europe dancing, choreographing, teaching, and doing interdisciplinary work, and eventually directing my own professional dance company and studio. I know my passion for art is stronger than any fear of failure. Risk is the only way to change, learn, and truly live. I learned early on with great risk comes great rewards. This evidently has carried me through my career teaching and choreographing for my peers and younger generations at Degas Dance Studio since the age of 15. From there, putting my work into the world has led to flying to Miami as a YoungArts finalist in Modern/Contemporary, receiving Honorable Mention for Music Center Spotlight non classical dance, being featured on the cover of Ventura Blvd Magazine Top Ten Teens Issue, and attending summer intensives such as JacobsPillow, Hubbard Street, Paul Taylor at USC Kaufman, and BODYTRAFFIC. Above all of these experiences, I’ve created bonds with diverse groups of wonderful artists I wouldn’t have met if I hadn’t taken the leap of faith to jump into something new and uncomfortable at times. If you’re always comfortable, you disable the opportunity for infinite growth.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I first discovered my passion and love for dance after my mom opened a dance studio when I was seven years old. Growing up as an introvert, dancing helped me find freedom to be my authentic self unapologetically in a safe environment. Though my mom never expected me to be a dancer, I stood in the back of every ballet class I could possibly take as I would flail wildly around the room. From there, my path was a result of a lot of trial and error, and a desperate desire to fit into a certain mold as a dancer training 35+ hours a week. But I realized if I can’t find a path where I feel accepted to flourish, I can make my own, which sparked my creative love for teaching and choreographing as well. Since then, I spent my summers choreographing over 20 pieces, which later received top awards at competitions such as Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP). I love dance because it’s alive. As it evolves, I aspire to use its impact to change people’s perception of beauty and enact social change in the world. I love to break social constructs and the barrier between artist and viewer in my work any way I can; infectious joy, fury, irony, or even confusion. I also try not to limit my inspiration to a studio. The world is my playground and everything I choose to see can bring infinite possibilities in dance, leading me to explore in a foreign country to pursue my art. I hope to continue using art’s undeniable power to shift perspectives of beauty and most importantly make people feel connected. Afterall, what’s our purpose without connection?
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Los Angeles is such a colorful and eclectic mix of cultures and experiences that can easily become exciting yet overwhelming if you’re new to the city. Of course there are the famous restaurants, amusement parks, and sightseeing locations, but there’s so much more beyond that. If you’re looking for some unique choices of food, I highly recommend Grand Central Market in Downtown LA for different tastes of the city, Urth Cafe as a somewhat trendy yet delicious spot, and Uba Tuba Acai Bowls for the best brazilian smoothie bowls perfect for a warm day. If you’re interested in art and fashion, or even simply beautiful picture locations, I recommend going to LACMA, The Broad, or Melrose Trading Post, which has beautiful music, affordable trifting, and an overall amazing ambiance. One of my favorite spots growing up is also Malibu Creek State Park where you can hike, camp, or even just have a picnic. Not to mention, it’s only a short drive to the beach from there. Lastly, if you’re looking for a unique and stress relieving activity, I highly recommend checking out Crumbs and Whiskers on Melrose where you can simply have a coffee and play with cats in the cutest area near many shops and thrift stores.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I am beyond blessed to be immersed in such a loving community and support system. I dedicate this shout out to my family for their unconditional love of art and learning, even during trying times. They are my biggest inspirations and remind me of all the reasons to smile at the world. In addition, I’d like to thank my YoungArts, JacobsPillow, and Codarts family for contributing to some of the most influential stepping stones in my career, and making unforgettable memories while doing so. I’d lastly like to acknowledge all of the fellow students and faculty of Degas Dance Studio for their incomparable loyalty, kindness, and wisdom that has shaped my path since the age of 7. Everyone at the studio has hearts that speak volumes, creative minds with bright futures, and friendships that will last a lifetime. Degas will forever be my home.
Facebook: Savea Kagan
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