- Brooklynn Kinney is in third grade at Ladera del Norte Elementary School in Farmington.
- Now 8 years old, she has been dancing at AnnMarie’s Dance Academy in Farmington since she was 4 years old.
- She was recruited for the gig by Ruby Pappan, a choreographer for various artists, after watching the youngster during a competition in Albuquerque on April 10.
FARMINGTON – With her mother and father watching from the front row among a crowd of around 250,000, an 8-year-old girl from Farmington danced on the main stage with Karol G last weekend at Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, California.
Brooklynn Kinney, a third-grade student at Ladera del Norte Elementary School, joined the Latin music artist on stage for two songs as part of a troupe of about 45 dancers, according to her mother, Natosha Kinney. She will be back on stage with Karol G at Coachella this weekend for another performance on April 24.
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Brooklynn, who has been dancing since the age of 4 at AnnMarie’s Dance Academy in Farmington, was recruited for the gig by Ruby Pappan, a choreographer for various artists, after watching the girl at a competition in Albuquerque on 10 april.
Studio owner AnnMarie Bean arranged to send Brooklynn’s audition video to Pappan, who liked what she saw and called Natosha Kinney to ask if the girl would be interested in performing with Karol G at Coachella, the annual two-weekend festival that features dozens of the biggest names in music.
After quickly accepting the invitation, Brooklynn and her mother first flew to Las Vegas, Nevada, for three days of rehearsals at T-Mobile Arena, home of the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights. They then boarded a bus bound for Southern California with the rest of the dancers for the April 17 show.
On April 18, Brooklynn and her family were back in Farmington, trying to deal with the whirlwind week they had been through.
Kinney said her daughter was especially thrilled to have the chance to meet Karol G before the show.
“She said she was super, super nice and very welcoming and just made her feel like Brooklynn had been dancing with her for years,” Kinney said.
For the most part, Brooklynn took the whole experience in stride, but she apparently suffered a nervous breakdown while standing backstage just before the show.
Kinney said her daughter said to her, “Mom, I peeked (through the curtain) for a second and said, ‘Oh my God.’ But once on stage, I said, ‘It’s not that bad.'”
Brooklynn was pulled aside backstage by one of the troupe’s dancers, who made her do a quick rehearsal to take her mind off the size of the crowd. Brooklynn told her mother that once she started moving, her nervousness evaporated.
Kinney said that if her daughter suffered stage fright during the show, she hid it well.
“Man, she was so confident,” she said.
The youngster capped off her night with a quick bow to Karol G at the end of the set as Kinney and husband Adam soaked it all up in front of the huge crowd.
Since returning to Farmington, the entire family has been inundated with phone calls and texts about when Brooklynn was in the spotlight. Kinney said Brooklynn’s siblings — Tamika and Bryson Valdez, and Christian Kinney — all said they were treated like celebrities at school because of their sister’s sudden fame.
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Kinney said things happened so quickly that the family didn’t have time to think about what might happen to Brooklynn next.
“It was very quick and unexpected,” she said. “People asked us, ‘Are you moving to Los Angeles?’ I say, ‘No, I don’t think so.’ But it could open up other opportunities for him.”
Even before last week, Kinney said her daughter often said her goal in life was to be a backup dancer for a music star.
“His brother said to him, ‘Well, it looks like your dream has come true,'” Kinney said.
Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610 or [email protected]
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