Ksyn has been bitten by the Crop Over bug and she isn’t ashamed to admit it. In the island for the last lap week, the professional dancer, actor and model also jumped for Kadooment Day and slyly promises to be back.
Born Tanesha "Ksyn" Cason, she goes just by Ksyn (pronounced Kay-sin).
If she looks familiar she is one of Beyoncé’s dancers. Yes, Beyoncé. If you look more closely you might pick her up from the Formation set Beyoncé did for Super Bowl 50 and she was also part of the video and Lemonade “the film”.
She sat with EASY magazine while sipping her rum punch at her hotel, hours before her flight for Los Angeles on Wednesday, two days after Kadooment had ended.
“I’ve been dancing since I was like five years old. It was my dream to be a dancer but my mum (a single parent) was adamant about getting that degree. So I did the college thing and then I said, ‘OK, you got your degree, now it is my turn to live my dream.”
What helped is that her college courses at Franklin Pierce College in New Hampshire enabled her to do dancing along with her degree.
“I did arts management with a concentration in dance. It is comprised of Non Profit and For Profit business. So all of those elements helped prepare me for the career I was born to be apart of.”
Ksyn started out modeling and then doing music videos and magazines (King, The Source, XXL).
“I did a lot of hair modeling (Hype and Black Hair magazines) and then I got some TV commercials. My big screen stints were in Fighting (with Channing Tatum and Terrence Howard), the film How To Make It In America and then TV series 30 Rock – I was on their 100th episode.”
Ksyn has been dancing professionally for ten years and touring about the same amount of time.
She has traveled all over with singers Jeremih, Ciara, dancehall artiste Sean Paul and recently Beyoncé and also her and her husband Jay Z on their recent tour, On the Run.
But you don’t wake up one day and get to tour with Beyoncé and Sean Paul, just ask Ksyn.
“It is hard work. You have to be on top of your game, choreography-wise and aware of latest trends in dance.
“I go on a lot of auditions that my agent books for me but with certain artistes, if you work with them for a while you do get a call-back as they know your style and they know what you bring. Sometimes you don’t have to audition – you have that link.That is a good feeling. That is a goal to have a call for a direct booking.”
Ksyn has been around Beyoncé for a while (off and on. since 2009), appearing in her first Super Bowl halftime show with her at Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans.
“My second Super Bowl with her, Super Bowl L (50) It was a different feeling because of the message. No one expected her to do Formation. We came dressed in all black and with the Afros and berets. It took the audience by surprise. It was a movement for me. It needed to be televised. It gave me an appreciation of who I am, where I come from, my background and that I wasn’t afraid to show that.”
Ksyn is now back in Los Angeles in rehearsals for season 3 of Lip Sync Battle with hosts LL Cool J and Chrissy Teigen Legend.
The show’s format is stars battle each other in lip synching and do a dance routine to go along with it to take the coveted LSB belt.
“I have been on the show since season 1. For season 2 they basically picked a core group of dancers. They modeled us off how the fly girls were in Living Colour. So we are the LSB dancers."
Ksyn says the schedule is “hectic".They shoot Saturdays and Sundays and there are two shows a day so the dancers do four routines a day. Once you learn it, you perform it, then you delete it.The routines are done by choreographer Danielle Flora.
“In season 2 we learnt over 44 routines. I can’t tell you now what they were. I see them when the episodes repeat. But you get to work hands on with the artistes, sometimes teach them different things... It is fun.”
Ksyn has gotten some niggling injuries and she listens to her body.
Bodywise, Ksyn is on the thicker side. That used to be a problem before, but not now.
“Now there are roles for us in dance, film, music videos and commercials. I toured with Jamaican artiste Sean Paul for about five years. Thick girls work well in those dancehall moves,” she said, giggling.
Ksyn doesn’t hit the gym regularly as dance keeps her fit.
“I go three times a week if I am not in intense dance rehearsals. Dance is a form of exercise.”
A business woman, she runs a sexy class for women called Body Language: The Art Of Seduction.
“It is a sexy heels class. It is to help women remember what it feels like to be sexy and feminine. It is also being comfortable with your body and things you can and cannot change.”
The class is a year old, starting out with routines for friends for special occasions. It blossomed into her thinking of it as a business venture and she travels with the class, going to Atlanta later this year.
With that out the way I asked how she got to Barbados.
She is friends with Kontact Kadooment band DJ Mastermind, who had her do a promo for them in New York.
“I have friends from here but I have never been here. He asked me if I am available and I was. I have experienced Labour Day but not to participate. Now I have done Foreday Morning, some fetes, a couple cruises.
“My costume for Kontact was amazing. I couldn’t stop taking pictures. I didn’t know what to do but I crossed the stage,” she said, laughing.
“And I walked in my full costume all the way to Spring Garden, I didn’t even rest on the truck.”
With her dance background she said she caught on quick to wukking up.
“The songs grew on me. I heard Bang Bim plenty and the one about take off something (Stiffy’s bashment soca win Tek Off Something).
“I learn very easy. I learn by watching first and then trying it out slowly. I was like, okay, okay, I got it. It wasn’t too far away from what I was used to, since I love dancehall.”
Will we see her back next year?
“What a ride. I don’t think I slept fully since I have been here. And those fishcakes . . . . Yummy . . . . What does next year hold? Wait and see . . . . I won’t say anything and jinx myself. Just know you might see me for Crop Over 2017,” she said. (NS)