Personal Wellness

A Conversation With Kyle Livsey: Dancer And [solidcore] Coach

Apr 29, 2021
Last Updated May 20, 2024

This International Dance Day, we sat down with Brooklyn based dancer, choreographer, movement director, and [solidcore]coach Kyle Livsey

Kyle Livsey is a multi-disciplinary artist and based out of Brooklyn, NY. He creates in collaboration and independently as a dancer, choreographer and movement director for various projects, ranging from music videos and campaigns to live performances and studio classes. Prior to the pandemic, he worked with photographer Ryan McGinley as movement director for the Calvin Klein Pride Campaign as well as curated and choreographed his first multi-medium, evening length show with his dance company, pinkydance. As of recently, he has worked heavily with film, shooting several passion projects over the past few months. Check out his work hereand follow him @kylelivsey

First things first, how did you discover dance?

Photo Credit: Kyle Livsey

Livsey: Dance has always been a part of my life, though I did not start formally training until my senior year of high school. Before that, I watched shows like So You Think You Can Dance, competed in talent shows, took hip-hop classes on occasion, cultivating a passion for dance but never committing out of fear and the stigma surrounding male dancers. Thankfully, I crossed paths with a hip-hop instructor, Autumn Laufer, who saw that love for movement and encouraged me to start training in 2014. A year later, I would move to the city to attend New York University and eventually work as a dancer and choreographer. 

How has teaching at [solidcore] informed your dance career?

Livsey: Coaching at [solidcore]continues to inform and intersect with my work as a dancer and movement director. The most obvious relationship exists with my body, building strength to better perform and train healthily. As [solidcore] aims for muscle failure and a breaking down of slow-twitch muscle fibers, I have noticed a significant difference in the way my body performs and recovers, prioritizing strength and endurance over appearance. It truly is the toughest, but most effective workout I have ever done and I do not say that as a coach (haha).

In speaking about facilitating class and interacting with clients, [solidcore]has and continues to push my communication and patience. As a movement director, I find myself working with people varying greatly in body awareness. Whether they be a model, actor, dancer, lawyer or accountant, each individual has a unique body that I am responsible for. Therefore, it remains imperative that I am attentive, patient and supportive when clearly communicating movement and body positioning. Lucky for me, I practice that constantly as a coach, making sure an entire class of clients are in proper form for a complete 50 minutes. My facilitation of exercises correlates immensely to the effectiveness of the workout as well as injury prevention (which is key when someone trusts you with their body). 

Photo Credit: Kyle Livsey

For example, you would honestly be surprised by the number of people that do not know their left from their right, especially when under pressure, so knowing and speaking consistently to visual cues with patience goes a long way. Creating images for clients puts them into proper form while also making the work less daunting and more accessible. I always strive to provide a motivating yet relatable environment, valuing a connection to my clients that will ultimately build strength. The more they trust me, the more comfortable they feel pushing further each time they enter the space. 

This directly works into movement direction, utilizing visuals and humor to better relate and communicate what is needed. Not everyone understands how to engage their oblique, but telling someone to “squeeze a lemon between their hip and rib cage so Beyonce can make her 2016 album” will get them there. Moreover, I love leaning into humor in both careers, again building connections while easing any anxieties or stress. We can take the work seriously, but not ourselves. I have always found that to create the best experiences as well as the best results.

Do you think there are similarities between taking a [solidcore] class and dance training?

Photo Credit: Kyle Livsey

Livsey: Though I believe there are parallels between the two, I feel as though dance classes could learn from the practices and environment cultivated at [solidcore]. First, [solidcore] promotes strength and health over appearance, which often cannot be said in dance spaces. Whether it is industry standards or toxic traditions perpetuating such standards, dancers are too often motivated by appearance. Ballerinas need to be thin, but not too thin. They need to be extremely flexible so they can kick their face at any moment. We know the stereotypes because we all continue to uphold them, which is why an environment like [solidcore] is so necessary. A place that prioritizes the feeling over the look. Strength over appearance. Building a healthy connection between the body and mind.

Furthermore, I believe dance training could learn from the encouragement provided in spaces like [solidcore], holding people  accountable through inviting challenges, as opposed to forcing them. Phrases like “if this feels accessible to your body” paired with instances of “yes this is heavy, but you are capable of more than your mind wants you to believe. stay in it!” nurtures a strong yet gentle approach to accountability. Dancers should be motivated and push themselves in their training, though instructors need to consistently practice providing instruction that acknowledges each unique body and mind to better foster that motivation.

And lastly, [solidcore] takes every exercise slow, no matter the loud music, obnoxious coach on the BRITNEY microphone or extremely tough work. Not to get all deep (but yes to go there), I feel like everyone can learn to better be patient with their body and experiences, moving slower and feeling everything deeper. If quarantine has taught us anything, it is to value moments with self. To be present in a space, in a body and in a world ever changing and moving. 

From [solidcore] to dance cardio, Wellhub has a way to sweat for you. Find your plantoday and see where your wellbeing journey can take you. 


Wellhub Editorial Team

The Wellhub Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.


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