Youth sports is all about teaching sportsmanship and competitiveness, getting rough and showing grit. However, middle schooler Kylie Montoya was often seen running around at her soccer games in glam hair and makeup – complete with false eyelashes – prepping for a dance competition that would take place afterwards.
This rushed, back-and-forth routine became a familiar lifestyle for young Montoya who is now a professional dancer for the Los Angeles Clippers Spirit Dance Team.
“I love the feeling of being on stage, I’m definitely a performer at heart,” Montoya said.
She experimented with several extracurricular activities like soccer, softball and swimming at a young age, but it all took a backseat to dance.
Her first routines included hip shakes and hand-holding when she began dancing at the age of two at Mommy and Me classes. Often seen fussing and refusing to follow the rules, she recalls her instructor skipping her while passing out stickers at the end of class.
It’s through dedication that Montoya was able to grow and progress in the dance world. When she was six and began competitive dance, her limits were tested as both the training and the environment became more intense.
“I had to change my whole mindset, going from recreational to competition, it’s totally different,” Montoya said. “You have to dedicate yourself a lot more. You have to have the work ethic, you have to want to be there.”
The demanding lifestyle was not easy for Montoya as she struggled to juggle school and dance. She often found herself falling asleep on the kitchen table while doing homework and waking up early, but she is grateful for the stress because it led her to where she is today.
As high school approached, this work ethic helped her earn a spot on the varsity song team for four years, and the captain position for …