[Interview] Kennedy Brown: “I’ll Be Dancing The Lead in A&A Ballet’s Production of ‘Cinderella'”

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Meet Kennedy Brown!

Recently, BTSCelebs interviewed a shining star in the Midwest. Dancer Kennedy Brown responded to a few questions about her past and future in the ballet. The young star, who was awarded Chicago’s Outstanding Dancer for NYCDA, was also granted a scholarship to Complexions Contemporary Dance in New York City. I think it’s time to meet this rising new star in A&A Ballet now.

BTSCelebs: Who is Kennedy Brown?

Kennedy Brown: My name is Kennedy Brown and I am the youngest of three sisters, born in raised in Chesterton, IN. Originally a competition circuit dancer, I moved to Arizona at the age of 14 to focus exclusively on my ballet training. Back in the Midwest, I am now thrilled to be furthering my technical training under Alexei Kremnev and Anna Reznik with A&A Ballet. Despite my ballet heavy training in the past 4 years, my heart and soul remains in contemporary. I hope to one day be a part of a contemporary company, such as Alonzo King Lines or Hubbard Street. Aside from dancing, my interests include traveling, antique shops, music, and coffee!

What piqued your interest in dance?

My interest in dance started with my first dance class at 7 years old. I was inspired by my older sisters, always striving and pushing to dance up to their age level.

Tell us about your most memorable recital.

My most memorable recital was back in 2011, my studio presented a recital using music exclusively by The Beatles and Tara Drew choreography. This production was important to me because Tara Drew was my first instructor and has always given me some of my favorite choreography. I also love The Beatles and that era of music in general.

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Who is your role model in the world of dance?

My role model in the world of dance is definitely Dusty Button from Boston Ballet. I identify with her because, like myself, her origins are in the competition dance world. I admire her not only as an incredibly talented ballet dancer, but as a human being.

If you could dance in any classic musical or Broadway play, what would it be and why?

Although it is not a “classic”, my dream Broadway role is Lise in American In Paris. I first saw the production two years ago in New York City and fell in love with the role.

What productions should we expect to see you in 2017 – 2018 season?

This season, I will be dancing the lead in A&A Ballet’s production of “Cinderella”. I am honored to have been selected for this role and to be a part of A&A Ballet’s debut season and first full-length, classical ballet.

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Learn more about A&A Ballet through the following link: aacenterfordance.org

* A Special Thanks to A&A Ballet for the interview and images*

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[Interview] 8 Questions with Conrad’s Jennifer Karum

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Chicago represent!

BTSCelebs was recently given the golden opportunity to virtually interview an incredibly talented person in the entertainment industry, who just happens to hail from Chicago, IL. Writer and actress Jennifer Karum is excited to break into TV with her very own crime series that is sure to rival your favorites. But don’t take my word for it….I’ll let Mrs. Karum speak for herself.

BTSCelebs: Who is Jennifer Karum?
Jennifer Karum: I’m an actress based out of Chicago and a writer and I created the Conrad Series, focused on Women Empowerment. I’m someone who believes in something and going after it without letting obstacles hold you back.

How did you get your start in the entertainment industry?
Ever since I was little I was interested in pursuing an acting career. I’ve been enrolled in dance and singing classes, and it was just something I became passionate about. I have always auditioned for shows and plays and it’s great to be a part of something creative.

What inspired you to create “Conrad”?
It’s funny, I auditioned for it when it was a 2 page script, and I got cast as the lead. You’re going to laugh, but I’ve been inspired by “The Blacklist”, “Dexter”, “House Of Cards”, I just find these shows motivating, and I always made the joke how I wanted that “bad-a** ” detective role. But, at the end of the day, it just happened. I saw the 2 pages and asked if there was more and offered to write it, and the next night I was up all hours of the night just writing… until “Conrad” was born.

What is the “Conrad” story all about?
It’s essentially a journey of a woman’s need to prove the innocence of her dad’s death and in doing so, discovering her past and life wasn’t what she really knew it to be. She encounters many crossroads in which she has to make decisions to fight and keep going forward. She’s confronted with doubt, betrayal, deceit and pain, and overcomes obstacles she never thought she would have to experience. Ultimately, she really discovers who she is in a steadfast man’s world. She fights to be strong and doesn’t allow anything to stand in her way. She learns more about herself as she unravels her past. She has to succomb to life changes, while empowering herself to stay strong and keep searching to find out answers about her life.

Tell us about the differences and similarities you share with your character, Katy Conrad?
It’s funny because the story truly parallels my life on an emotional level. I just turned it into a crime drama to engage in something more intriguing. Katy is someone who is steadfast, doesn’t give up and will find answers any which way she has to. She’s confident and strong and is able to keep herself focused.
I would say I am someone who doesn’t give up and will find a way to make anything and everything happen. Katy is more confident and willing to take more risks than I say I would. I wouldn’t be able to confront the most dangerous people, but I certainly wish I had her bad a** attitude 🙂

Are there any current TV shows you hope your series competes against when it starts airing on TV?
“The Blacklist” would be one of them, “Chicago Justice”, perhaps.

Besides Chicago, are there any other US cities you hope your production gets the opportunity to film in?
I think it would be really cool to film in China and overseas. There is a lot of reference to her father being overseas and jewels that were handed to her from exotic places, and I love new cultures. It would be really enticing to bring that to the camera and leverage that in the story.

What does “Conrad” have in store for crime drama fans this year?
Lots of twists, and turns that you wouldn’t expect. The minute you think you have it figured out…

Learn more about Jennifer and her “Conrad” series through the following link: Conradseries.com
*A Special Thanks to Jennifer Karum for the interview and image.*

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Theatre Review: The Joffrey Ballet’s “Game Changers”

Infra. The Royal Ballet. Photo ROH, Bill Cooper

Infra. The Royal Ballet. Photo ROH, Bill Cooper

BTSCelebs attended Game Changers at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University today. Unfortunately, we arrived late because of traffic, but I was able to see two performances in their entirety and the end of the first dance.

Wayne McGregor’s INFRA was an emotional journey that seemed to express human sexuality more than anything else. I was taken aback by the adult theme used to convey the daily emotions that lies within humans. I would never discredit the dancers for their hard work. The performers were amazing as always! I just felt the choreography was too graphic for a general audience. His way of communicating the London subway bombings of 2005 was more modern dance than ballet.

Company members Jeraldine Mendoza and John M…Cheryl Mann..jpg

Company members Jeraldine Mendoza and John M…Cheryl Mann..jpg

Justin Peck’s Year of the Rabbit explored the classical elements of ballet while incorporating fresh choreography. The majority of the performance  was bright, cheerful and anticipated a positive future. They used their bodies to imitate geographical figures and architecture. At times….. it seemed like a big celebration, while other moments were filled with uncertainty and yearning for tomorrow. I enjoyed Justin Peck’s positive outlook on a Chinese Zodiac year. I wonder if he will do a Year of the Rooster (2017) sequel.

Image: Anastacia Holden and ensemble in Year of the Rabbit. Photo by Temur Suluashvili.

Anastacia Holden and ensemble in Year of the Rabbit. Photo by Temur Suluashvili.

The end of Christopher Wheeldon’s Fool’s Paradise looked like a dance inspired by the desert and other natural landscapes. They were suppose to resemble sculptures, and I could definitely see the inspiration.

Fool's Paradise_Photo by Cheryl Mann.

Fool’s Paradise_Photo by Cheryl Mann.

Game Changers is all about finding out which dance speaks to you.  It runs thru February 26th at the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago.

* A Special Thanks to The Silverman Group for allowing BTSCelebs to review the ballet*

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BTSCelebs to Review Julianna Deering’s “Murder on the Moor”

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It’s murder mystery time!

This week, BTSCelebs received Julianna Deering’s latest edition in the Drew Farthering Mystery series. I’ll be starting “Murder on the Moor”over the next few days. The story is set in the eerie Bloodworth Park Lodge where crime has been plaguing the area and…. of course a horrific murder appears out of nowhere.

Stay tuned for the complete review in the coming weeks.

*BTSCelebs thanks Bethany House for the complimentary copy of the book.*

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Review: Chicago Auto Show 2017

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This year’s Chicago Auto Show was slightly scaled down. I assume the extra test tracks are the main reason for the downsizing. When BTSCelebs attended opening day, thousands flocked to McCormick Place just to get a glimpse of automobile future. The majority of the vehicles looked the same as they did the past few years. (With some stunning exceptions, of course). The only brand that stood out to me the most was Mercedes Benz. They occupied two sections of the show with their standard white cargo vans on one side, and “The Jetsons” inspired cars near the test tracks area. I highly recommend sitting in any of their brand new models to be transported to another world. It literally feels like you are sitting in an upscale spaceship! That’s something I have been anticipating to see in cars for years!

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Chevrolet didn’t disappoint with every make and model to choose from. You recognize many fan favorites like the Malibu, but they continue to make them more appealing to the eye while making it an even more comfortable ride. They proudly showcased durable trucks and sport cars for their dedicated fan base. The Lego treasure was a special treat!
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Luxury dealers like Porsche and Alfa Romeo caught my eye, but the fact that they don’t let you sit in the cars or touch the interior is quite the turn off. I understand that the materials used to create the vehicles are expensive, but potential buyers come from far and wide to see this show so it would be nice to accommodate them by opening up a couple of models.

BTSCelebs recommends you pick your favorite brands and solely focus on these exhibits at this years’ show. There is so much to see, but many designs mirror ones from the past few years. The special extras and revisions in your favorite models are the main things that will hold your interest. As for the test tracks, Ram Mercedes-Benz’ “Iron Schöckl” and Camp Jeep are for the thrill seekers. Steep hills and treacherous turns await you. Toyota’s RAV4 & Highlander Experience appeared to be the most tamed out of all the test tracks.

The Chicago Auto Show runs thru February 20th at the McCormick Place.

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 *A Special Thanks to the Chicago Auto Show for the press pass.*

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Album Review: David Dunn’s “Yellow Balloons”

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Recording artist David Dunn outdid himself!

After listening to his incredible new album “Yellow Balloons” a few times, I finally realized the meaning behind the entire project. It’s about a man’s journey (in his Christian faith) to realizing that he needs to surrender everything to God. When Christians don’t understand why things happen, or when it seems like everything is falling apart…don’t focus on it, but rather surrender to God’s perfect will instead.

Personally, I feel David Dunn is a poet. and I was anxious to hear his new album mainly for his intense lyrics. His words connect with listeners on a different level. Of course, his voice is pleasant to the ears as well. “Yellow Balloons” maintained 1990s-2000s styled music with its pop rock feel while seasoning it with a few modern elements to make it competitive against fellow 2017 tunes. It was so hard to pick favorites amongst his gems! If I had to choose stand out tracks, they would be “Kingdom”, “I Don’t Have To Worry” and “Ruins”.

I recommend people of all ages and religions to check out this inspirational album shining a light of hope in the middle of despair.

David Dunn’s “Yellow Balloons” will be released on February 17.

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*A Special Thanks to Merge PR and David Dunn for the digital version of “Yellow Ballons”.  Image and Video Credit: BEC Recordings/Capital CMG .*

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Album Review: Hollyn’s “One Way Conversations”

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Hollyn‘s new album “One Way Conversations” is more of a personal diary than a standard worship album. I wouldn’t go as far and say it mirrors Britt Nicole’s 2016 self titled project, but it definitely feels like the 20 year-old recording artist is starting to branch out. She sings about her personal view of God, self-esteem, friendships and romantic relationship issues.

“One Way Conversations” overall has that urban, hip hop feel with a 2017 flair. The tunes are very easy on the ears, and seems tailormade for road trips or the next youth/family friendly Hollywood film. I enjoyed the album and would say the stand out tracks are “Can’t Live Without”, “In Awe”, “Lovely” and “Go”.

On a scale of 1 to 5, I would give “One Way Conversations” a 4 on the mainstream scale.

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*A Special Thanks to Merge PR and Hollyn for the digital version of “One Way Conversations”. Image and Video Credit: Gotee Records/CapitalCMG Publishing.*

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