Kelli is a vibrant personality in uptown Saint John. She is a trained dancer and is both exhilarating and soothing to observe. She is very generous in sharing her talent and many people of all ages have benefited from her workshops and gained a renewed appreciation for music and dance.
Learn more about Kelli and her dance workshops:
Some fun with Kelli:
Where were you born?
I was born in Bathurst, New Brunswick. But Fredericton was really home for me. Lived in Ottawa during my late teens to mid twenties. This city will always hold a place near and dear to my heart.
Do you have any formal training?
I began training with Fred Astair Studios in Ballroom and Latin dance. Feeling as though I was in a box, I started busking using my own style of Interpretive Dance and performed for two summers in Ottawas City Market. From there Ive taken workshops in African, Modern and Belly Dance, and have always enjoyed yoga, its a good stretch! Most recently Im doing Tai Chi classes, its a beautiful form of movement and very relaxing. Its always been important for me to continue my growth.
What was your breakthrough moment/favourite performance?
My breakthrough moment was watching Billy Elliot on a return flight from Mexico. A true story! Its an incredible movie and the boy dances with an abundance of heart and passion. Seeing that was a jumpstart to follow my own passion in dance. I got back, gave notice with my government job and searched for opportunities to learn and perform.
Where do you work?…and for how long?
Since moving to Saint John in 2006, I facilitate Release To The Beat, movement workshops for kids and adults – Kids Moovin & Groovin and Meditation in Movement. These are weekly drop -in workshops held in Uptown SJ on Germain Street (St Andrews & St Davids, upstairs gym) where no experience is required, simply a love for music and dance. Its really been great and very liberating. I also perform in multicultural festivals, weddings, as well as collaborating with other creative artists. Rehearsals are underway for the next upcoming project, written by Clyde A. Wray, Excuse Me Lord But I Didnt Hear you at the Imperial Theatre this fall. Ive been very fortunate.
What do you like best about uptown Saint John?
I love living in Uptown Saint John. I can just step out my front door and its all there! Kings Square, City Market, entertainment on the boardwalk just to name a few of the obvious. But theres the Heritage and beauty, the Art Galleries, the Imperial Theatre, NB Museam. Its all so great, and such a welcoming community.
Who is your favourite musician/performer?
I cant say I have a favourite. Facilitating movement workshops I am open to just about everything and listen to so many, many great artists that its hard to choose. I feel connected with African Drumming. And I will say I am a huge fan of music from the 80s but thats all Im saying! In terms of dance performance, Isadora Duncans philosophy and style is a great inspiration for me.
What place on earth inspires you?
A moment of tranquility with my dark chocolate.
Do you have any pets?
Wally Oliver Newton Banana Wray (just the one feline.)
What do you like to eat for breakfast?
Ohhh how I could go on. A toasted English muffin, spread with hummus, toped off with an egg over easy. That or a huge bowl of cereal with fresh fruit, yogurt and honey.
What is your favourite drink?
Must have my coffee, usually with one eye half-open! A nice glass of red wine to relax.
Spring? Summer? Winter? Fall?
Again, hard to choose a favourite. Smell of Spring rain, Summers hot sun, first Winters snowfall, crisp Fall air, plus I love Halloween. Do I really have to choose just one?
Do you have a nickname?
You dont want to know, or I dont want to repeat it.
“Dance is the revelation of ones soul. The light of truth shining bright within the flow of movement.
What is your favourite hangout uptown?
I cannot say enough good things about our local Library.
What book are you reading right now?
The Book of the Shepherd Joann Davis. Also trying to practice my French skills again and reading Le Petit Prince Antoine De Saint-Exupery. As well, I have two lovely daughters so theres always a childrens book in hand!
What is your favourite thing to wear?
My pink leopard striped pj bottoms.
Describe yourself in three words.
Artistic. Flexible. Earthy.
Kelli Wray. Try one of her workshops. Go to one of her performances…watch for “Excuse Me Lord But I Didn't Hear You” coming to the Imperial Theatre this fall. You will be glad you did!