Dance Mogul: What inspired you to start dancing?
Kiira Harper: I actually started dancing at the age of 7 years old. My father put me in dance class after moving from LA to Long Island, NY and realizing that I did not enjoy playing soccer in the cold months of fall. My parents were firm believers if a child having no idle time. So I joined the Venettes Cultural Workshop, in Wyandanch NY.
Dance Mogul: What hardships did you encounter pursuing your passion?
Kiira Harper: One of the hardest things I’ve had to encounter while pursuing my passion, is learning to take rejection with a grain of salt, and maintaining your confidence throughout. As a dancer, you are constantly auditioning, and constantly being judged not only on your dancing ability, but on how you look, and things that you physically can’t fix because it just is who you are. Being told “No” or not being booked for reasons beyond one’s control can definitely take a toll on one’s self-esteem. For example, you could simply not book a job because the girl next to you is a half inch taller. I had to learn that hearing “NO” does not mean failure. “No” means its not you, and that you are one step closer to the things that are for you. I had to grow a thick skin, and be confident enough in who I am, holding my head high and giving my all.
Dance Mogul: When was your big break?
Kiira Harper: I have been a working professional since August 2013, however, I would have to say that my biggest job that sort of put me on the “map” would have to be SUPER BOWL 50 with Beyonce and the “Formation” music Video.
Dance Mogul: How do you maintain in an industry with no guarantees?
Kiira Harper: I truly believe that everyone has their own specific journey in this industry. Some lessons that I have learned and are still learning today, MANAGE YOUR MONEY! When you get a big check, invest, and do what you can to invest in yourself. Some dancers have a side hustle that helps make ends meet in-between gigs. I personally have a passion for teaching, so I teach Heels Classes between 2-4 times a week locally, and travel teaching in different states, and at different studios.
Dance Mogul: What advice do you have for young women looking to pursue dance?
Kiira Harper: BE CONFIDENT IN WHO YOU ARE!! KNOW YOUR WORTH, KNOW THAT YOU ARE ONE OF A KIND, AND WORK DAMN HARD TO MAINTAIN THOSE THINGS THAT ARE SPECIAL ABOUT YOU. Have an open mind, remain humble, and always remember that as a dancer your job is to give to your audience. Give them a show, provide them with a feeling, and heal them through movement. BE A GIVER! LOVE YOURSELF, and remember FIRST, ALWAYS the reason why you dance.
Dance Mogul: What was it like to perform at the 2017 Soul Train Awards?
Kiira Harper: I LOVE BEING ON STAGE !! Its always a rush of emotions, nerves, but right before that music begins its almost a calm serenity and a sure feeling of being READY and invincible. Dancing alongside the other beautifully talented girls, Aliya, Joie, and Aryan we were so pumped. Especially since you don’t normally see Tank with dancers during his performances these days. I guess I’m trying to say it was Super exciting, and fulfilling to be able to be my authentic self, and a real WOMAN on stage behind a man who appreciates all of us as his dancers and as artists.
Dance Mogul: Is there anyone you would like to thank for helping you on your journey?
Kiira Harper: I have such a huge support system, and I truly believe, I wouldn’t be anywhere near where I am today without them. Thank you to my PARENTS and my brother for sticking with me even after finishing college. My best friend Shantel Hubbard, my first Mentors/dance teachers, Karyn Kemp, and Vanessa Baird- Streeter. The Venettes Cultural Workshop for their continued support, and my very first professional Mentors, Luam Keflezgy, Jose “Hollywood” Ramos, and Torey Nelson, for giving me that real but tough love while still encouraging me to keep fighting, keep learning, and keep loving through the process.