Kelli Gautreau is the New York-based founder of Dancing 4 Change (www.dancing4change.com), a group of artists and dancers working together to create thought provoking dance videos to help raise awareness for charitable organizations around the world.
With Emmy Award-winning composer Jeremy Lamb and YouTube legend Todrick Hall lending their support to Kelli and the dancers at Dancing 4 Change, we caught up with her to find out more and how important fashion exactly is to everything she does.
- How would you describe your own personal style?
I’m somewhere between hipster and military-esque. I’m obsessed with boots.
- Does what you wear while dancing / in your charity videos differ from your everyday attire?
Yes. The fashion in our films has ranged from sweat pants to jeans and t-shirts. We try to keep our casts looking as much like every day children as we can. We want to children in the films to be relatable to the children watching the films.
- How important is Fashion to helping tell the story in your very visual Dancing 4 Change videos?
Very important. What the actors/dancers wear sets the tone of the film and the story we are trying to convey. We work very hard at getting the right look for each film.
- Is it hard to find outfits that are both visually effective and allow you and your group to move around freely in as dancers?
Sometimes yes, but usually we are okay. I like to have an idea of what the kids are going to wear before I even start the choreography. Each character demands a different style of clothing and then outfit indicates the style of choreography used.
- When attending red carpet events or galas, what is your usual “go-to” outfit? Any favorite designers?
Whatever I wear, I don’t like to look like anyone else. When I was a kid I used to use my dad’s ties as belts. I wear pocket watches on my pants. I was the kid in kindergarten wearing rubber boots and my dads t-shirt as a dress. I love when I can make fashion my own. I gravitate towards anything that I can sport my red plaid/gold studded doc martins or furry boots with spiky heels.
- In the dance world, who do you look up to?
Mia Michaels. I love her work.
- What is your advice to others who are wanting to pursue dance as a career?
You are going to hear a lot of criticism. You have to have tough skin. Learn time management. It’s a skill that will come in very handy. NEVER STOP TRAINING. Don’t compare yourself to others and never give up on yourself.
- What is your ultimate goal for Dancing 4 Change?
We want to use our films to change the narrative. We want to get people thinking differently. Our films are dancing public service announcements. Every film has a message. We hope our films help people who need it most.
- What upcoming videos for Dancing 4 Change are you working on?
We are currently working on a #MeToo dance film. The film was made to encourage kids to tell someone if they’ve been sexually assaulted and not to keep it a secret. The film shows that even though they may feel alone there are many out there just like them. We are hoping to use this film to get kids talking.
- In your opinion, who is the best dressed dancer of all-time?
I like Misty Copeland. I think she is a great influence on young dancers. She is confident and beautiful and all about breaking barriers.