Kurtis Sprung, Two-time Mr. Dance of New York
Published: Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, February 19, 2013 23:02
Kurtis Sprung was only 3 years old when he began to dance. When most other toddlers were running around on the playground, Sprung was honing his own dance skills, tackling genres like ballet, rap, jazz and gymnastics, just to name a few.
Today at 19, the sophomore dance and math major competed in countless dance competitions, winning the title of Mr. Dance of New York twice and finishing in the top five both times he participated in Mr. Dance of America.
Although some might use these accomplishments as an excuse to slack off, Sprung only uses his successes as fuel to improve. He hopes to join the Bad Boys of Dance before he graduates, a company known across the world for electrifying performances and inarguable talent. And even if he is recruited, his plans for the future don’t end there.
Sprung’s ultimate goal is to start his own dance company, much like the creator of the Bad Boys did.
Though a passionate dancer and hard worker, Sprung appeared laidback and peaceful when The Spectrum sat down to speak with him this past Sunday.
The Spectrum: What is it about dancing that you love?
Sprung: I was in the studio just the other night and I had the music on and I was just kind of dancing and, all of a sudden, the music ended and I didn’t remember anything I did. And I didn’t know how it happened or what it felt like, but I just know that it was perfect. It’s a feeling when the music’s there and you feel the beat and you know what you’re capable of doing and just going out there and enjoying what you love to do.
TS: Do you think the ability to dance is something you’re born with? Or can you develop it?
S: Some people say you’re born with it, however, my feet were turned in and I didn’t even know what turn out meant. The only way to move is to finally say, ‘I’m going to let my arm just flop.’ And then, there’s a sense of finding a technique, and that’ll make it pretty, but anyone can move as long as they can relax – they’ll find a way to move. Everyone moves differently… our bodies are designed so much differently. Some people’s hips don’t open as far as others … my split is not going to be like any of the girls that are in there, but I’ve found where it works. And I feel like anybody can move; they just have to take the time.
TS: Who are your idols?
S: My sister. She was a dance major here then she graduated. She’s done a couple cruise ship jobs all over. She was just in Dubai yesterday looking at pyramids. I want to be like her. I want to see the world … Other than her, there’s a man named Albert Cataffi. He’s doing the Cirque du Soleil Love show and he’s trying to get me a job there. He’s also helping me out with the Bad Boys and he was a choreographer when I went to Teen Mr. Dance of America … he was the first person who showed me contemporary dance, and he kind of molded me into who I am today.
TS: As a dancer, how do you feel about dance shows on television like Dancing with the Stars?
S: I like Dancing with the Stars. I like So You Think You Can Dance. Some of the kids who have won it are in the company that I want to get into … it’s unbelievable how good they are. [Dance Moms], however … [Abby Lee] is a friend of my teacher and we’ve worked together so we know her, and she’s nice. She’s not even mean. But that’s the drama. That’s more of like a soap opera to me. Those dancers are very good. I just feel like they shouldn’t be subjected to that as a child. That’s a little crazy to me.
TS: Do you have any other interests you wish you could dedicate more time to?
S: Guitar. It’s definitely one of my favorite hobbies. Even when [dance] gets stressful, that takes me even further away because you’re creating your own music. You’re grooving to what you feel inside. My roommate plays guitar and we’ve got a friend that’s a drummer and we always go down and find an empty lecture hall and just … we forget whatever’s outside the door, and we just jam. We love the music. Creating our own music, that’s something I love to do. And I’ve found that not trying as much [and] just enjoying it has just progressed me so much further than anything else.
TS: What tips would you give an aspiring dancer?
S: Don’t forget why you do it. We have girls in our studio – these girls know they’re good, and they’ve lost why they dance and they’re stuck in this world because they hang out with Abby Lee’s students … They know how good they are and they take it for granted. And I would say don’t take the ability to move for granted, because it may not be there [in the future.]
Sprung and his colleagues will be performing in the upcoming Zodiaque Dance Company production in the CFA the next two weekends.