Let’s hear it for this boy! (I’m sorry, I could not resist…)
Kameron N. Saunders was born in St. Louis, MO. He is a graduate of the Conservatory of Music and Dance at the University of Missouri-Kansas City with his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance. He graduated from Metro Academic & Classical High School while doing his dance training at COCA (Center of Creative Arts). There he studied ballet, modern, jazz, hip hop, and choreography as a part of their Pre-Professional Program. His performance experience includes UMKC’s Conservatory, Webster University, and two of COCA’s student dance companies. Kameron is currently a principal dancer with Afriky Lolo; a West-African dance company in St. Louis, MO under the direction of Diadie Bathily. He has also performed as a guest artist with Störling Dance Theater in Kansas City. Kameron has worked with renowned artists such as Alicia Graf Mack, Anthony Redd Williams, Antonio Douthit-Boyd, Tommie-Waheed Evans, Sally Bliss, Christine O’Neal, Kirk Peterson, Michael Uthoff, Jon Lehrer, Kate Skarpetowska, Kirven J. Douthit-Boyd, Edgar Anido, Ray Mercer, Sabrina Madison-Cannon, Gary Abbott, DeeAnna Hiett, Lara Teeter, Lee Nolting, Frank Chaves, and Ron K. Brown. Kameron has choreographed for the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Washington University, Missouri Contemporary Ballet, The Big Muddy Dance Company, Consuming Kinetics Dance Company, MADCO, and COCA. Kameron has presented several of his works at festivals including Modern Night at the Folly in Kansas City, APAP in New York City, Spring to Dance in St. Louis, and Deeply Rooted Dance Company’s Emerging Choreographer’s Showcase in Chicago. In the spring of 2011 Kameron entered the National Society of Arts and Letters “Art of the Solo” choreography competition where his work ‘Runner’ won first place locally and fifth place nationally. He has also choreographed for Tony award-winning actor Ken Page for his original play for dance, Sublime Intimacy, which premiered in December of 2015. In January of 2017 Kameron started his own project-based dance company, Kambré Contemporary Dance Company. In addition to that he has returned to COCA to teach dance and now serves as the student company Rehearsal Director to former Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater principal dancers, Antonio and Kirven Douthit-Boyd.
Q: What was your first experience in theatre?
I would say the first experience I had in theater was my 8th grade year of middle school when my dance teacher, Tina Parker, put on a production of The Wiz. She cast me as a dancer in several main scenes like “No Bad News” and the Green, Red, and Gold scenes at Emerald City. She also cast me as the actual Wiz himself which was a huge deal for me. I had to act over a pre-recorded track of Richard Pryor from the actual movie. I had a wig and everything. I remember being at home in the living room going over my “lines” and how I was going to deliver them and how dramatic I was going to be. My mom and grandma still talk about that performance to this day.
Q: What is the best piece of career advice anyone has ever given you?
Some of the best advice I’ve gotten comes from my mom. She keeps me humble and hungry to keep going. When I run into conflict or get a little down in the journey of dance and choreography she always says “not everyone will like you. Not everyone will root for you. But if you honestly love what you do that’s all that matters! You will always work because you love it and the doors will open eventually!”
Q: Tell us about a backstage or onstage mishap you lived through.
My senior year of high school I did a piece by freelance choreographer, Kate Skarpetowska. It was a cast of 4 girls and 1 male. The lead/male role of this work did a lot of running in this piece. I sweat profusely! After dancing and running there’s a part where the male just sits in one spot of the stage in a specific position not moving while the ladies dance. I was wearing all white and my costume was soaked and I could feel and see the sweat dripping off of my nose as I sat there. When it came time for me to dance again I had to get up and start running in a circle yet again. I started to run and got to the part of the stage where I had been sitting…. and sweating… and slipped on my own sweat. I didn’t fall luckily but had to steer clear of that part of the stage for the rest of the piece. It was embarrassing to say the least.
Q: What is your dream role/show?
I would love to be in Lion King on broadway. Been a dream of mine for a while now, and my best friend actually just booked a dance ensemble role and hopefully I’ll be joining her soon.
Q: What is your current guilty TV Pleasure?
Currently Grace & Frankie is what I’m obsessed with. That show is hilarious!
Thank you Kam!
Grace Austin is an STL area director and educator.
See her work at gracemaustin.com