Dance Mogul: What inspired you to start dancing?
Aahkilah Cornelius: I honestly think movement was born within me. From when I was 2 years old shaking my hips on the bathroom counter to my Mom’s beatboxes to being 12 learning my older sister’s step and dance routines. Dance was apart of my self-discovery.
Dance Mogul: How did you pursue training to develop your craft?
Aahkilah Cornelius: When I was about 12 I decided to quit competitive gymnastics and really focus in on dance. I started taking ballet and jazz classes then joined a professional dance troupe in Florida. Soon after, I went to an arts high school that really pushed me to advance my technical training.
Dance Mogul: When was your big break?
Aahkilah Cornelius: My big break happened in 2016 when I met Anthony Burrell at the NAACP Act-So competition. He featured me in his piece then gave me a scholarship to his summer intensive, Breaking Barriers. Immediately after the intensive, Anthony asked me to come to New York and workshop some movement and it ended up being for Beyoncé’s 2016 VMA performance!
Dance Mogul: How have your maintained progression throughout your career?
Aahkilah Cornelius: I’ve fortunately been able to maintain progression in my career by being myself. I’ve connected with artists, dancers, and choreographers on a level deeper than the job and it’s been beautiful. In addition to being a consistent and professional artist, knowing that your best is enough makes progression natural.
Dance Mogul: What are you up to now in 2019?
Aahkilah Cornelius: So far, 2019 has been busy and I’ve been fortunate to dance on an episode on Empire, do the Grammys with Janelle Monae, and work with Ciara for the first time. I definitely plan to continue dancing and sharing more of my movement and concepts this year.
Dance Mogul: What advice do you have for the next generation of dancers?
Aahkilah Cornelius: My advice to the next generation of dancers is to trust yourself, trust your movement, and what you bring to any room. Everyone is going to have an opinion on every part of your existence. Invest time in both training and your mental security.
Dance Mogul: Where do you see dance and yourself in it in the next 5 years?
Aahkilah Cornelius: I see dance continuing to evolve and am excited to be apart of its evolution. I plan to expand the reach of technical movement to the Caribbean islands through a movement exchange program. I also plan to continue building relationships and continue the transfer of inspiration through dance and other forms of art.
Dance Mogul: Is there anyone you want to thank for helping you on your journey?Aahkilah Cornelius: I want to thank my sisters and Dad for loving me unconditionally and my Mother for supporting me in the many adventures I’ve decided to go on and being such a rock. I want to thank Sasha Mallory for encouraging my transition into this career. I also want to thank every dancer and choreographer who I’ve gotten to work with, talk to, and trust to share moments of creation with so far. I’m forever shaped and changed by each interaction.