“Strictly”, Karen says, has always been on her mind. “It’s such a popular show for all dancers and for the public to see how dance can influence your life in such a positive way.
“For me, dancing since I was eight years old, it’s always been a dream to dance on stage, dance on television… now I’m on “Strictly” it’s a little – big, huge dream come true… [The format] originated in the UK, which is great. It’s awesome to go where it originally came from.”
Karen moved from Venezuela to the US as a child, where “I always say that dance found me,” she says. “It wasn’t like my mum took me to ballet class. I was in a public elementary school and they were having auditions for this new programme called Arts Connection and I just remember doing a cartwheel… and landing in the splits. I was wearing jeans for my first dance audition… so that pretty much tells you my whole dance story.” So she’s happy with performing then? “Yeah,” she smiles.
“They picked me and from there I just flourished – I loved it. I had issues at home with my parents separating and I just felt like I escaped into a world where I could really take out my emotions and whatever I was feeling at the time. I was eight years old… and I didn’t know what I was supposed to be feeling with my parents separating and I just felt like I could get away and get into my own little world of dance.”
Read Karen’s interview in full in the August issue of Dance Today, on sale on July 26.
Photograph © Beytan Erkman