PureWofD Exclusive Interview With Tap Dancing Champion And World Of Dance’s Kyle Van Newkirk (New Photos Included)

I was so blessed and honored most recently to visit with World Of Dance contestant and World Champion Tapper Kyle Van New Kirk and his Mom (and one of my oldest and dearest friends), Sue, at their lovely home and heavenly gardens in Morrill, Nebraska. As Kyle told me about his story, I was immediately sent back in time to when Sue told me (and another friend) she was pregnant with Kyle. Let’s just say, knowing Sue like we did and in an unexplainable way, we all knew this baby was going to be very “special”. Not only did Sue’s news send sparklies up my arms at the time, I had them again when I found out Kyle was going to dance on “World Of Dance”, and then once again as he played the piano for me at his house. Lots more below of this amazing story of Kyle making his dreams come true despite coming from a small town in Nebraska, all the other challenges along the way, the “defining moments”, and lots lots more. My husband and I and the people in the Wyo-Braska area where we live could not be more proud. New photos of Kyle, his lovely Mom, and their stunning gardens included too….

Hi Kyle! How are you? It’s such an honor to be talking with you about “World Of Dance”! You have made us Wyomingites and Nebraskanites so very proud as it’s not every day we see someone from our remote area make it on a National TV show. So, what was it like when you first heard you were dancing on the show?

Hey Lisa!!! Thank you so very much!!! I’m so glad to be able to chat a bit about “World of Dance”. When I first heard that I was able to perform on the show, I was ecstatic. I was so excited that I was able to perform on a national stage rather than performing on small stages around the world. So, you can say that I was definitely through the roof when I heard that I was finally on the show!

Take us back to the beginning of your dancing career. When did you start dancing? Also, have you always wanted to Tap Dance and was there a ‘defining moment’ when this happened?

When I started to tap dance, I was six. It took my parents, especially my father, a while to get use to the fact that I wanted to dance. But originally I did not want to make a professional career out of tap dance. I looked at it as a hobby at first, saying that it was so fun to be able to go into the classroom and bang on the floor. Except I fell in love with dance when I was seventeen. It was when I was making the decision of going to college at University of Lincoln Nebraska to be a pianist, when I found my love for the art form. I did not want to give up my dancing ability entirely to go to college. So that was my decision.

Speaking of “defining moments”, who are your mentors and why have they been significant in your life?

Two of the biggest mentors of my entire life, has to be, Anthony Morigerato and Tiffany Taskey. The reason of why these two mentors have been significant in my life as a dancer and an artist, is because they pushed me to my breaking point of where I wanted to give up on dance. Tiffany pushed me to practice constantly when I was a young kid and I was too hard headed to learn that by myself until I realized that I could do amazing things with this thing called practicing. So I give a big props to Tiffany for putting up with me as well as pushing me the way she did. Anthony, on the other hand, challenged me to create, and to push myself to work harder for steps, movements, and imagery. He was the mentor that helped me to shape the style that everyone sees today.

I was so blessed recently to hear you play the piano. It was such a beautiful piece. Your hands flew on the piano as your feet do when they tap. It’s hard to explain, but, it was amazing to see how similar they were to one another for the way you perform. Would you say playing the piano has helped your tapping to grow and vice versa?

Yes!!! Piano has definitely helped me with dance and vice versa. The major reason being the musicality that is able to shape the sounds as well as the movements. Saying, that learning the piano has shaped the way I hear and see with crescendos, staccatos, slurs, and musical ideas. But for dance to playing the piano, I would say that dance has helped incorporate the “feeling” that I was missing with my pieces as well as the fact that I have to fight for the sounds in my feet as well as for the sounds in my fingers.

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So, how did you put each of your World Of Dance performances together, how were you inspired, and how much time did you have to come up with them?

For the qualifiers piece, I was inspired from great tap dance artists of this generation. I wanted to show the world how each dancers thought would be shaped with the music as well as their steps. This piece took me approximately three to four hours to complete.

As for the duels round… HA… That was another story… I wanted to go into the round with heavy hitting rhythms as well as just being all tap. That backfired on me. When I knew I was going up against “Les Twins” I knew my style would not be enough to go head to head against them. So this piece was inspired by Fred Astaire’s “Puttin’ on the Ritz”. Because I understood that I had to be an all around entertainer that meant not just using my lower body but using everything. This piece took me a week to put together. Honestly, I’m not kidding.

It was so cool that you used a “cane” in your duel performance too. The cane looked so cool as if it was alive. It was like a wand and you were the magician for how you worked it on stage. The performance only left us all wanting MORE from you. So, how did you come up with the cane that you danced with? Is there a special story behind it?

Yes!!! So the special story behind that cane was that I made the decision at last minute to bring in the prop. I was listening to the music one night and thought, how cool would it be if I was able to incorporate a cane. That was definitely a great idea. So I decided that I was going to look for wooden canes all across the area and I happened to be in LA. It was almost impossible to find a cane in that amount of time. I couldn’t send anything from amazon and have it arrive in time for the show. That would not work whatsoever. So I made the decision of get a dowel. Yes, a dowel. That was my last minute idea to have something that looked similar to a cane. I would literally go through three through a rehearsal. So I had to duct tape the cane that I used and called it good. It was sturdy enough to bang off of the stage and was perfect for the look.

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I’m a total shoe freak, so this question is “a must”. Ha! Ha! 🙂 How many tap dancing shoes do you go through in a year? Do they have to be made by someone? Also, how long does it take to break them in?

So I go through three pairs of tap shoes a year. That is me practicing for two-four hours a day. But if I practice beyond two hours a day and I dance extremely hard, to the point I feel the heat in my taps. I can go through them in either a week or two. As for who makes my shoes, they are made by the Dancing Fair, and they are Capezio K360’s. As well it takes me a couple of days to completely break in a pair of K360’s.

Here are more questions from Courtney:

Kyle, do you have any favorites still remaining in the competition? Are you rooting for anyone in particular to win?

So my favorites that are still remaining in the competition are, Luka and Jenalyn, DNA, Fik Shun, Pasiòn and Les Twins. I’m not rooting for anyone in particular to win. But everyone is absolutely amazing.

Do you see yourself dancing professionally? What is your ultimate goal with your tapping?

Yes, I definitely see my self dancing professionally. But, the ultimate end goal that I want to achieve with tap dancing is to show the world that tap is still alive and progressing and it is still relevant in todays society. So I want to see more tap on film, tv shows, and on stage, as well as in schools. That is my ultimate goal that is one that I’m trying to progress towards.

Is there anyone you would like to collaborate with in the future?

Oh absolutely yes. I would definitely love to collaborate with other artists of a different genre rather that tap dance, so saying like, Fik-Shun, Luka and Jenalyn, as well as Les Twins. Definitely would love to be able to work with those guys in the future for sure.

Back to Vogue:

Is there anyone you’d like to thank for the incredible journey you’ve had so far? Also, what advise would you give to young talents out there…especially those living in remote areas of the world who won’t try to make their dreams come true because of it?

Yes! I definitely would love to thank four people in my life, my Mother, Uncle Alex, Tiffany Taskey, and Anthony Morigerato. But the advice that I would give out to talents is that you need to push your limits with your body, as well as learning from everyone that you can. Nothing great can be achieved by sitting still, you need to push your limits until you achieve success. Do not let anyone tell you that you can’t do something or to fit you into a stereo type. You are better than that and you can be the best that you can be. You don’t have to please everyone, you just have to please yourself and that is it.

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Lastly, what are your plans next? Will you dance in the “World Of Dance” Tour? We look so forward watching your career. You are a innovative and unique FORCE out there for how you are making your own individual mark with tapping in the dancing and entertainment world. We hope to see you on stages and all over our tv and big screens again soon. We wish you all the best. Thank you for taking time for us.xxx

So I will be doing the World of Dance tour. I will be going to a couple of cities this August as well as October. I also will be performing at the Dizzy feet foundation in LA at the end of July for National Dance day. But thank you so much for this interview as well as your nice comments!!! Definitely was fun to give my two cents with the behind the scenes of everything 😉

Follow Kyle and his Career at:
His Official Site
You Tube