This week we have the privilege of getting to know the beautiful and intelligent Tanya Karn as our #FEMMEFEATUREFRIDAY! This Canadian bombshell is a professional dancer currently residing in Los Angeles, California. If you’ve met Tanya, you know just how eloquently her confidence radiates both on and off the stage. You definitely feel this girl’s presence when she walks into a room! What we absolutely love most about this amazing girl is how she knows her worth. Positively driven and incomparably focused, this girl doesn’t let anything inhibit her from keeping the bar set high. It’s also incredibly inspiring to see how she’s allowed the universe to lead her by keeping the bigger picture of her goals in mind.

Before moving to the Golden State, Tanya studied at Wilfrid Laurier University where she received a Bachelor’s AND Master’s Degree of Science in Kinesiology and Physical Education. This showstopper can be seen in movies including Disney’s Zombies, Camp Rock 2, Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure, Harriet the Spy: Blog Wars, Breakway and Dr. Cabbie. You might have also caught Tanya dancing on TV shows such has Make It Pop, Hellcats, LA Complex, Warehouse 13, 11/22/63, Suits, The Next Star, Bomb Girls, Murdoch Mysteries and Single Ladies. Additionally, Tanya has worked with an endless number of artists including Meghan Trainor, Jason DeRulo, Carly Rae Jepsen, Fifth Harmony, Psy, Ludacris, Ylvis, Shawn Desman, Ashley Tisdale, Tegan & Sara, Hedley, Serena Ryder, Anjulie, Danny Fernandes, Vita Chambers, Keshia Chante, Deborah Cox, Fefe Dobson, Kreesha Turner, Aleesia and Cascada. And that’s not all… Tanya is the Co-Owner and Director of Battle of the Next Generation, which is an event that strives to provide young aspiring dancers with the knowledge, experience, and opportunities they need to make it in the professional dance industry. Tanya’s love for teaching and adjudicating is one of the reasons why she also founded Education of the Next Generation. Her company provides curriculum-based dance workshops in the Toronto school board to educate, motivate and inspire young students through the art of dance. Needless to say… this girl is a boss!

Tanya is so motivating because she has found a way to successfully merge her educational pursuits with her craft and create opportunities not only for herself but also for her extended dance community. We hope Tanya’s story encourages you to find a way to bring goodness into the world through honest self-reflection and self-discovery just as she has done. It is so empowering to see how Tanya owns who she is and be unapologetic about what she’s here to offer. It’s clear that an unbeatable work ethic and unshakeable dedication is what continues to separate this girl from the rest. Thank you Tanya for being an all-encompassing role model and for reminding us that all of our dreams are possible!

Written by Alessia Rotino

Artwork by Chloe Bruderer (@chloeheartsart)

Artwork by Chloe Bruderer (@chloeheartsart)

Tell us about one of the hardest decisions you’ve ever had to make in your life? How did you know you were making the right choice and what is some advice you would give to someone who is standing at a crossroad?

One of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make in my life came at a point when I had to choose between continuing my education at home in Canada, or pursuing my dreams of dancing in Los Angeles. Throughout my professional dance career, I was able to simultaneously achieve both a Bachelor and Master of Science degree in Kinesiology and Physical Education from Wilfrid Laurier University. I was then offered a full-time position in the doctorate program: 4 years and I would have my PhD. But I decided to put my education on hold, risk everything, and take my chances dancing in LA. To this day, I still have no idea if I made the right choice, but I had to trust the universe. Every sign was pointing towards LA. Everything was falling into place so perfectly. And in my heart, I knew I had to take a chance on my dream. Education will always be there, no matter my age. 

To those young dancers graduating from high school thinking that you have to choose between dance and education, that you can’t achieve both at the same time, know that it is 100% possible! It is extremely difficult, and taxing both mentally and physically, but you are capable, you are strong and you are gifted. My advice to anyone standing at a crossroad similar to mine is to trust your instincts. The universe has a way of subconsciously guiding us towards the path that is right for us. And, majority of the time, your heart knows better than your mind, and your soul knows better than logic.

How has your journey in dance shaped you into the woman you are today?

Dance is responsible for every aspect of the woman that I am today. It was what kept me out of trouble growing up, and it is what has thoroughly influenced the woman that I have become. Dance has structured my personality by teaching me about artistry, expression, determination, hard work, passion, dedication, persistence, and unwavering belief in myself. It has brought the most incredible human beings into my life, and allowed me to travel to so many beautiful places in this world. And it has been an outlet for whenever I have been discouraged or experienced failures, pulling me back up onto my feet when I have been kicked down. My journey in dance has come with a life full of lessons that have structured and influenced the person that I have become. It is crazy to think about what and who I would be without dance in my life, and I am so grateful to have had it so thoroughly shape the woman that I am today.

Who was your biggest female inspiration growing up and why?

My mother. She knew exactly what she wanted in her life, she pursued it, and she achieved it. She graduated high school knowing the exact career she wanted, aced her way through post-secondary education, and is now extremely successful in her field. She also married an amazing man, and raised two children in a loving home, creating an inseparable family. My mother knew the life that she wanted for herself, and she manifested it. And all the while, she achieved these goals with kindness, grace, and positivity. She is one of the purest hearts I know, and she never lost that in her pursuit of her career and family goals. For this reason and many more, my mother is the woman that I’ve always and will always aspire to be.

What changes do you hope to see for women in the future?

As much as we have already taken leaps and bounds in this area, I hope in the future to see absolute equality for women. We are well on our way to living in a world where people are not referred to as man or woman, but as humans. Women are being given a voice, freedom, better pay, acknowledgment, power… and I hope these advances will continue to grow and prosper until equality is finally reached. Additionally, I hope the future holds more women empowerment. Still too often women bully and belittle each other, demeaning their accomplishments and life choices. Women need to understand that everyone has their own path, and none of us have the right to judge another woman for the path that they choose to take. I hope the future holds a world where women uplift and support each other, spreading positivity and love instead of judgment and hate.

What’s your definition of a YGTGirl?

A YGTGirl is a confident, goal-oriented, passionate female that knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to chase her dreams. She is building an empire, while inspiring others and shining her positive light on everyone she encounters along the way.