I’ve been performing in some way for as long as I can remember—first and foremost as a pre-professional ballet student, dancing 30 hours a week, rehearsing and performing with New York Dance Theater, and attending summer sessions at American Ballet Theatre, Joffrey Ballet, and others in NYC and beyond.
When not dancing, you could find me organizing a reluctant third-grade theater group, directing a fifth grade production of A Midsummer’s Night Dream, and insisting on auditioning “for fun” for theater productions even when my ballet schedule demanded my full attention. (I earned my first callback performing Sondheim’s “On the Steps of the Palace” from Into the Woods as a spoken monologue.)
That level of drive for a career in the performing arts at such a young age would not have been possible if it hadn’t been for my mother, a hardworking single mom, who—despite her concern about dance paying my future bills—did all she could to support me. This support ended suddenly during my sophomore year of college at the University of Southern California when she passed away leaving me on my own, and those hypothetical bills became very real. In a matter of months my focus switched from pursuing my performing arts dreams, to keeping food on the table and a roof over my head.
Luckily, I was able to do that from the sidelines: Running the front of the house for USC’s theaters; working as an art department PA on grad student theses, commercials, independent films, and as a project manager for a set construction company on music videos, network television, and awards shows and an office manager for a Los Angeles modern dance company—and many, many more adventures.
Eventually I moved back to my native New York (and into the house I grew up in), ended up working for an incredible nonprofit multi-disciplinary arts journal, and ultimately rediscovered my love of acting, albeit now with much more depth and breadth of life experience.
I have since worked on web series, independent films, workshop performances, and starred in an award-winning short film that was a crash course in shooting with children, food, voiceovers, practical effects, and freezing temperatures—and the happiest I’ve ever been.
keriannkohler [at] gmail [dot] com