Dancer Profile: Kelly Mayfield of Contradiction Dance

Kelly Mayfield

photo credit: Paul Frederiksen

Kelly Mayfield is the Founder and Artistic Director of Contradiction Dance, a company in residence at the Round House Theatre. A self-described ‘dance junkie,’ she learned the fundamentals of dance as a youth through ballet, gymnastics and jazz classes. From there, she fell into the pageantry world performing in Broadway style shows, half-times and parades.

Then she fell ‘hook, line and sinker’ for modern and contemporary dance spending six years professionally immersed in that world. When the abstract became too abstract, Kelly ventured back toward a place that blends styles from tap to hip hop to ballet to jazz with the contemporary modern to create something without limits. Follow Kelly on Twitter @kkmayfield and @lifeanddance.

Where do you usually take class? Who is your favorite teacher in the DC area?

I usually take class with the company at our studio located within Round House Theatre’s Education Center; but I give myself class daily. I don’t have a favorite teacher in the area – there are so many with great insights and perspectives to offer. We all need to take class from many to fully understand our own instrument.

How has dance changed your life? How do you feel when you’re dancing?

Dance keeps me sane. Our first language is movement. We rely less on non-verbal skills as we grow; but it is still a huge part of how we listen and respond to our environment. There are things that simply cannot be put into words. I am the most connected to my inner self, others, and the community when I am immersed in movement. Dancing connects me to my emotional self in a raw, yet objective way that helps me deal with the full range of human emotions without getting lost in it. While dancing, I am grounded, connected and free all at the same time.

Any advice for people who are interested in dance, but have never danced before?

The hardest part is walking through the door… wherever that may be. If you’re intimidated to go to a formal class, start in your living room. Then try a free class at a social dance scene – the salsa and swing dance communities offer a lot of these weekly. If you’re drawn to formal studio training, call or write to see what the culture of the studio/teacher are like and what they offer for absolute beginners. Most importantly – just show up. I always tell students, ‘85% of life is just showing up!’

Contradiction Dance

Contradiction Dance performs 'Living, Breathing, Human Organism?' (photo credit: Michael J. Avilez)

Anything you want to promote? Anyone you want to give a shout out to?

I’m surrounded by incredible people on a daily basis – their wisdom inspires me to keep putting dance in front of people – in class or in performance. The family of dancers, teachers, administrators, board members, students and supporters that make up the Contradiction Dance family provide me with guidance, purpose and responsibility. Also, Round House Theatre has been a huge source of support and advice – they provide us with space and expertise through our partnership. Without their support, the company would probably not have made it through the past year.

I’d be remiss not to promote our weekly classes and upcoming performances: We offer class to adults, teens, and children in a range of styles and techniques – from 80’s hip-hop aerobics to contemporary modern! The company will be performing a commissioned work at the Phillips Collection on March 24th. We’ll also be at Round House Theatre Silver Spring April 22 & 23rd, performing The Disorder of Things. Later in the spring/summer, I am choreographing Forum Theater’s upcoming production of BOBRAUSCHENBERGAMERICA and co-directing a 10-minute play for the Source Festival.

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