Kiki and Sakinah are the Queens of choreography between the cities of Atlanta and Los Angeles. Not new to the industry, these two geniuses have danced for artists such as Usher, Neyo, & Ciara and have done Creative direction for artists like Nelly & T-Pain. With new artists being developed in their Artist Academy like Layton Greene, Ann Marie, Mia Arianna & them sign deals with major labels, Epic Records, Quality Control, ARTIST DEVELOPMENT is back more than ever. These ATLiens are the owners of ATLA Entertainment studios fulfilling their mission to uplift the industry. Take a dive into these two ladies stories with the interview below and how they started dancing and made their creativity come to life with artists they worked with.
RESPECT.: You all recently hosted a webinar. What was the reaction from your attendees? What was the experience like?
The experience was great! We had so many inspired artists to sign up. We were overwhelmed that around 200 people have registered for it. We wanted to take our program we do at our studio and transfer it to online. Artists have gotten a taste of what it will be like. We are continuing the webinar for more dates so people can sign to take it.
RESPECT.: What were your favorite moments while you all were working with artists?
Working with Ciara for the Ellen show and performing live on a segment with stepping referencing from the movie Stomp The Yard was incredible. Most recently through Artist Academy, we creatively directed and choreographed Ann Marie tour. We also developed Layton Greene with Quality Control, Jermaine Dupri at Essence Festival in 2019 with the So So Def vs Lil’ Jon event. It was focusing on Atlanta artists with his set headline at the Super Dome.
RESPECT.: How did you start the ATLA Artist Academy school/Entertainment Studios?
With us both having careers in Atlanta and Los Angeles, we have experience first hand in the industry with artist’s touring and performing. We decided to educate the importance of artist development with our studio. We are already working to develop talent by a new school approach. By having our own space, we were allowed to be able to fully grow and develop new and unsigned artists.
RESPECT.: What made you guys start dancing?
We have been in the industry for over 20 years. We learned a wealth of knowledge as dancers and performers which allowed us to naturally go into choreography and creative direction. From tours, award shows, music videos, television and film, and more. We have been prepared for this part of our careers in the industry.
RESPECT.: What is your definition of artist development, and how is it important for an artist’s career?
Wanting to have longevity in their career is most important. Artist development is important with branding and social media, how they interact and engage with their audience, work ethic, putting out the content, and preparing for bigger stages that involving dancers, band, creative content, being on set and more. They have got to learn their craft and present their talent to the world that brings a level of greatness. Artist development allows the artists to really hone in on the artistry.
RESPECT.: What do you all look for when hiring other dancers?
We definitely want them to be passionate and understanding of the craft. You have to understand that it doesn’t happen overnight from the artist’s side. People will get caught up with social media that you don’t want to be microwavable but a thanksgiving dinner. Whatever you put in you will put out. You will have to appreciate and understand that it’s not easy and surrounding yourself with greatness.
RESPECT.: What is your definition of “takeover?”
Takeover your dreams. If you can see it, then you can make it manifest.
RESPECT.: What is your motto when dealing with stress?
PRAY, AIM HIGH and FOCUS.
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