We had the good fortune of connecting with Kyri Hayes and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kyri, what matters most to you?
We have a saying around my studio that is simply, “Stay true to Yourself”. To me, staying true to yourself means standing by your word. It means sticking by your OWN side when others may have a different viewpoint. If you wholeheartedly have a passion about something, push the gas and never apply brakes about it. Let your voice be heard and don’t settle or back down into a quiet corner. Dynamite comes in small packages. You may be the smallest one in the room. You may be the most timid voice in the room, but the world needs your voice. There is always someone looking up to you. The TRUE you.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Dynamite Dance Factory is a special place in my heart. It’s not only the dance studio that I own…it is a safe haven for so many brown ballerinas in Kennesaw. When I first opened in October of 2018, I did not imagine that the studio would have such a huge impact on all of these kids. We all tend to get in a mindset that children have no worries. I am here to say that statement is not true. I’ve heard countless stories where the kids come to the studio and feel “free”. Sometimes parents get sick, sometimes life throws curveballs at our dance families…it’s real life that happens! The beautiful thing about Dynamite Dance Factory is our community. We have the MOST beautiful DDF Family. The mothers cling to each other and take care of all of the dancers as if they personally gave birth to them. They all understand the assignment. The assignment is to push their children in their craft. Even the three and four year olds start to realize that dance is their craft! The mothers stand beside them! Signing them up for privates and multiple classes! The assignment is to be a support system as their children are in the studio pursuing something that gives them an escape from reality, even if only for 45 minutes. The studio is a home away from home. It is not everyday you find somewhere in Kennesaw that provides excellent dance instruction catered to brown families. Our bodies are built differently. The simplest of movements are full of…soul. Dance is in our blood.
Getting to this three year mark has been everything but easy. It has been very rewarding, but tests and trials have certainly tried to make a mark. I realize people see the glitz and glamour but do not see the backstage moments. I’ve had my signs stolen, thrown in the trash, the craziest of heartbreaking emails….but, the story still has me STANDING in it. I had to understand that I am in my purpose. When you are in your purpose you are in a territory that the devil will fight you tooth and nail about. You are making a difference in someone’s life when you are walking in your path. You could be the one who saves a life. How powerful is that! Of course the crazy moments will come. Will you sink or swim?
I want the world(especially my young brown ballerinas) to know that we at Dynamite Dance Factory are fighting for you to have a seat at the table. I want the world to know that it does not matter how young you are…if you have a dream in your heart, push it! I was 23. I was terrified that no one would take me seriously. It was not until I looked at myself and said, “if you take yourself seriously, then people will see the vision.”
Do YOU see your vision.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If my best friend was visiting the area, I would pick them up from the airport and immediately take them to one of my favorite spots, El Azteca on Peachtree! My friends always make fun of me because I eat two bites of my food and say I am done! I am a people person and like fun places, and that is why I love El Azteca! It is always a good time! Throughout the week, I would have us at Play Bistro for live music and desserts. We would go to Sivas and sit on their patio because I’m obsessed with being outside and equally obsessed with their fried cheesecake egg rolls. I’m sure there is another name for it, but I will go with that! I have a huge sweet tooth.
Depending on the time of day, BQE is a fun spot as well! Good music, good food! At night it is a more chill ambience and then daytime brunch is even more fun! I love live evening music, but I also like to be in my bed, so the daytime brunch scene is right up my alley.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to dedicate my shoutout to my grandmother who always made it possible for me to dance. At one point, it was financially rocky but she has never missed a dance performance of mine as I grew up. She was at every single performance, huge camera and all. I would also like to give credit to my high school. I graduated in 2013 from Woodland High School Fine Arts Academy with a major in dance and shortly after joined the faculty of my Alma Mater for six years following. I learned the process of putting together productions, teaching various levels of dance, and soaked in the backstage moments I now have with my own students.
Three Z Photography by Vandy Wheeler