Q+A with Kida the Great
Sacramento local and winner of Season 13 of So You Think You Can Dance, Leon “Kida” Burns, also known as Kida the Great, can now add “916 Crew Guest Judge” to his ever-growing list of accomplishments.
The 17-year-old hip-hop dancer has not only been featured on The Ellen Show, but has also danced with A-list celebrities such as Usher and Chris Brown. Kida recently opened his own dance studio, The Great Studios, right here in Sactown.
Can you tell us a little bit about your experience on “So You Think You Can Dance”?
My experience on So You Think You Can Dance was very nerve-racking, but I turned my nervousness into excitement. Sometimes nervousness is good and sometimes it kind of takes over and you’re like, “I don't know if I'm able to do it.”
There were a lot of different styles that I had to do on the show and I was only known for hip-hop. So, I was like, “Okay I'm doing this and I'm going to stick with it.” They had me doing contemporary and jazz and there were times I really didn’t think I could pull it off. But, long story short, I ended up winning. So, I just believed in myself and it paid off.
How did your life change after winning the show?
Experiences after the show were crazy. I was getting multiple phone calls with people saying, “We want Kida here, we want Kida there.” I was like, “Wow, this is what it feels like to be a busy man.”
I had the opportunity to open up my own studio two months ago. I’ve also gotten to dance with Chris Brown, Usher, and J Cole. I was on The Ellen Show, I got nominated for a Teen Choice Award—it was a bunch of craziness happening at once. So, life after “So You Think You Can Dance” has been pretty crazy, but it’s also been a blessing.
You have a huge following on Instagram. How important is Instagram to your success?
Instagram is probably one of the biggest platforms for me right now because that's where most of my fans are. It actually helped me grow as a dancer because being able to share my craft with my fans on Instagram allows them to show me love back.
So, without Instagram, half my videos that I made wouldn't have made it big right now. It’s played a big part [in my success]. Being able to post my videos on YouTube and Instagram and Facebook and social media in general is very important for a dancer.
As you mentioned, you recently opened your own dance studio. What is your day-to-day life like now that you’re a business owner at only 17-years-old?
I wake up, get in the shower, brush my teeth, wash my face. But even during all that, I always have a lot of ideas going on in my head. I’m always thinking of what I can do next, creatively. I have a clothing line coming soon. I can't speak too much on it—I’m going to keep it a little secret—but I also have a video game coming soon.
Other than that, I’m out of school right now—I'm homeschooled. I have to go teach at my studio twice a week, and I'm also making kitchen videos dancing in my kitchen that I call “Kida’s Kitchen” almost daily.
Why is it important for you to bring dance to the Sacramento community?
I think it's really important. I feel like Sacramento doesn’t get the credit it deserves dance-wise. There are a lot of dancers in Sacramento that actually want the shot to be able to perfect their craft and put themselves out there.
I think the 916 Crew is a dope idea and I love being a part of it. I just love giving back. Being able to be here [at auditions], watch amazing dancers, and put my two-cents in and give feedback and advice is great. I feel like [916 Crew] will really help put Sacramento on the map now.
What do you think are the best shoes to dance in?
That's funny. I don't know if I have a favorite shoe to dance in, but if I had to choose I would say Jordans because they have a lot of support.
Which recent dance craze is your favorite?
Okay, I’ve been doing this for years so it’s kind of my thing. But, I’d say the “Nae Nae” is my favorite. I've been doing it for so long so that's my go-to. When I don't know what to do, I just break into the “Nae Nae”. I also like doing the “Woah”. That kind of got big. Those are my top two favorites right now.
What do you expect to see from the 916 Crew this year?
First of all, I expect to see amazing dancers. Everyone’s amazing no matter what. I know this is the auditions so some people aren’t going to make it, but I expect to see everyone go full-out, go for it, and give it their all. I can’t wait to see what everyone brings and I know everyone's going to kill it.
What is your favorite type of music to dance to?
Well, I have a favorite artist. Migos is my go-to [dance music]. Also, I have a series on Instagram where you can dance to anything – I’ve danced to everything from commercial songs, to opera. So yes, my favorite artist is Migos, but I can also dance to a lot of different things.
What is your guilty pleasure song on your playlist?
I actually share a playlist with my mom. So, she has a lot of old school music in there. Sometimes, I’m like, “Mom, can you turn this off? We’re in 2019.” But, some of her stuff in there from the 80s is stuff I could get down to. So, I’d say I’m kind of guilty for that.