Spring is finally here so it’s time for Shuffles to celebrate our soon-to-be graduates with our Senior Spotlight. We start this year with 19-year old Kellan Harrod, who has been dancing singing and acting at Shuffles since the age of 12. Kellan will graduate this spring from Special Music School (SMS), New York City’s’ only K-12 public school that teaches music as a core subject. Although Kellan is a vocal major at SMS with classical training which includes lots of opera, he is also a gifted dancer and actor who loves to cross musical genres and disciplines.
Kellan says that his Shuffles training has given him the opportunity to perform in a variety of roles and musical styles and has taught him perhaps the most important lesson for any performer – don’t be afraid to try anything. Likewise, this Oklahoma native who has now lived in New York City for 12 years, says that living here has given him an appreciation for diverse cultures, points of view, artists and music. “I know I want to be and do lots of things….last summer when I was part of the Eugene O’Neil program I sang the Bee Gees and Aerosmith – I never thought I would do that and I loved it!”
Kellan has applied exclusively to conservatories for the fall because he is anxious to dive headfirst into a more arts-driven curriculum. “I want to fall in love with theater even more than I already have”. He said his dream rolls include Macbeth, Billy Bigelow in Carousel, and Starlord in Guardians of the Galaxy – “Chris Pratt is a huge idol of mine”.
For anyone lucky enough to have watched Kellan perform over the years at Shuffles, they’ve seen him make us swoon singing a ballad, dance across the stage in a tap number and have us belly laughing with his campy, over-the-top interpretation of Tinkerbell in Peter Pantomime. “I’ll miss high school and of course all of my friends, but I’ll miss Shuffles the most. It’s given me that confidence to audition at equity theaters – it’s pretty rare for a 19 year-old to get equity jobs, Shuffles is the reason I feel conformable enough dancing and acting to do this before college…tap/acting/singing, they’ve made everything go with each other, it’s seamless.”
He said he is also inspired by Shuffles faculty: “I’ve loved getting to know the teachers and I’ll carry with me their words of wisdom…it’s been the best part of my training, learning all these different types of performing styles”. Kellan tells us that one of the best pieces of advice was from Shuffles teacher Kat. She told him: “Yes, think about the steps but enjoy the actual dancing because why would you be dancing if you weren’t enjoying it”.
With an eye towards having a diverse and multifaceted career, It’s no surprise that Kellan admires the careers of genre-busting actors such as Brian D’Arcy James and Patrick Wilson. “I want to do everything and embrace everything” he tells us.
So Kellan, two more questions:
What’s on your playlist? “My guilty pleasure is Maroon 5 – I just love what Adam Levine does with his voice…and I love Michael Buble”.
If you couldn’t be a performer what would you be? “I’d be an ESPN sports broadcaster”.
Good luck, Kellan! We’re so excited to see what the next year and beyond holds for you!