This week’s #FEMMEFEATUREFRIDAY is someone very special to us: the one and only KELLY KONNO. Generations and generations of Canadians have been inspired by this Canadian role model. Kelly has truly paved the way for so many artists because she fearlessly went after her dreams in a time where it seemed so impossible for a Canadian to work as a professional dancer in LA. She served as the perfect example of dreaming big, and she showed that it’s possible to accomplish your biggest goals regardless of what obstacles may stand in the way.

Kelly Konno has been working professionally in the entertainment business for the past 25 years. She has worked with some of the most iconic artists such as Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, Prince and Justin Timberlake to name a few. Miss Konno is also one of the most respected choreographers in the industry, and her choreography credits include Canada Sings, Janet Jackson, The Aaliyah Biopic, and the 2010 Winter Olympics. On top of that, she is avidly pursuing a career in acting, and she can be seen on episodes of the hit television series Motive, Once Upon a Time, and Fringe.

In addition, Kelly is the co-founder of one of the most influential dance conventions out there: TRIPLE THREAT DANCE. It is unreal how many dancers she and her business partners Carolina Lancaster and Dorie Konno have motivated over the years! We applaud them for creating a company that educates, inspires, and encourages the next generation of dancers.

There is no denying how talented Kelly Konno is, but the best part about this woman is that she’s unbelievably sweet, humble, open, and generous. She is always ready to help others in any way she can. Interviewing Kelly was such a delight because she has strong values and morals in life, and her beautiful heart and spirt are what make her a positive influence for so many. Thank you Kelly for opening up about your experiences in the industry, and for always reminding us how important it is to have strong work ethic, self-confidence, and a positive spirit.

Artwork by Chloe Bruderer (@chloeheartsart)

Artwork by Chloe Bruderer (@chloeheartsart)

As one of the first dancers to move from Canada to Los Angeles, what do you think was your most important asset that helped you thrive? 

Besides having approx. $8000 in my pocket from a movie I was lucky enough to be a part of that was shot in Vancouver prior to my move (let’s face it, you need $… & a decent amount of it, when moving down to LA on your own)…. I’d have to say my biggest asset was the unconditional support I got from my mom & dad.  Without them believing in me, not questioning me (too much) & just being there for me in general, I knew I could move there & make them proud.  The deal was, when I ran out of the $ I had saved up for my move, I’d have to come back (as they didn’t have the means to help me too much financially), so that was great motivation as well. 

We love that you started Triple Threat Dance Convention at such a young age. Can you tell us about how this experience shaped you as a woman?

Starting Triple Threat Dance Convention in Canada was such a crazy idea, but with the knowledge I & my 2 business partners, Carolina Lancaster & Dorie Konno had about conventions & the dance world I had full confidence that we could pull it off.  Having a strong connection & friendship with 2 other women I looked up to (Dorie & Carolina) & knowing that our 3 minds could achieve anything we wanted, really made me feel unstoppable.  Our vision of wanting to bring conventions back to Canada like we had growing up was so strong that we just put in the work & made it happen.  Over the past 19 years of TTDC, there were times where people we’ve dealt with look at us like “these ladies are too young to be running a biz” or we’ve been treated in a disrespectful way just because we were young business woman.  I think this had a part in shaping us to who we are today & not letting people like that get us down.  If anything, it made us stronger & more determined to put on the best darn dance convention we could.  Being able to be confident in what we were offering also gave us strength.  TTDC has showed me that you must put in the work (long hours, meticulous planning, maintaining strong relationships with the dance community) in order to be successful.  It doesn’t come easy.  It really was the greatest lesson in integrity, communication, dedication, hard work, as well as a wonderful reminder of the value of family & friendship. 

If you could give your younger self some advice, what would it be?

I’d tell my younger self to not worry so much about reaching the top or getting to your ultimate goal, but to enjoy the process along the way more.  Life is all about the ‘process’ & we need to embrace the times in our life where it feels a little uncertain & scary & trust that if you are putting in the work something will come of it. Maybe not when you want or expect it to, but it’ll happen if you have patience.  If you are a good, humble, non selfish person, good things will follow.  I’d also tell myself to be easier on myself in regards to what I look like.  I was never the smallest & I fought with my weight for most of my late teenage years into my mid 20’s.  I’d tell my younger self, “don’t worry so much… you’ll go through this stage where you have a lil baby chub left to shed & soon it’ll disappear or you’ll embrace it & figure out a healthy maintainable weight & it’ll all be good!”  

What woman inspires you the most?

Ooooh that’s a hard one…. there’s so many.  My mother, Joan Konno, is the first that pops into my mind.  Then my sister Dorie.  I guess it always comes down to family for me.  The things my mom gave up for for both my sister & I & the values that she taught us in life are what made me the person I am today.  Her care, love, strength, support, & guidance is the reason I am where I am today.  All my success I can thank her for.  My sister Dorie I look up to because of the super mom that she is.  She is pure goodness & I can rely on her for anything I need in life.  She’s always supported me & been there for me too.  We don’t have to speak every day but just knowing that both of them are reachable gives me a sense of peace & calm.  The way they both have lived their lives is something I look up to.  

What’s your definition of a YGTGirl?

A hungry, ambitious, good hearted, confident, humble & talented young girl! A girl who has a strong mind with thick skin, as well as the training & knowledge to back it up. Kim & Mel are the perfect examples. :)