Feature Follower: Kaylie and Michael
Having met these two in Vegas last year, it’s been a long time coming to having them on Craig Andrew James. While Michael was born and raised in Collarado before moving to Los Angeles, Kaylie originally from Sydney, Australia has been living in Los Angeles for the last 2 and a half years. Currently you’ll find both these talented dancers residing in sunny California and backing up the legendary Britney Spears in her “Piece of Me” residency at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas. You can really feel the positive vibes from these two and can’t help but smile when you are around them or read what they have to say. So, despite a busy schedule dancing at the Axis three nights a week with Britney and the rest of the cast, Michael and Kaylie found some time to fill us in all about their careers’ in dance, their life and loves and what it’s like being part of an iconic residency.
KAYLIE YEE AND MICHAEL STEIN
The biggest [moment] that stands out to me right now is probably opening night of ‘Piece of me!’ – Michael
Nothing compares to the feeling of sharing the stage that night with Britney and the cast. – Kaylie
How did you get started in the work that you do and what background do you have in it?
Michael – I started dancing at age of 6 in Colorado, but I didn’t start taking it seriously until I was about 15. By then I had made my first trip out to LA and discovered this whole new world of dance that I didn’t know existed. And from then on all my focus went towards making my dream come true. So I moved to LA right at 18 and began my career.
Kaylie – I also started at a very young age, I was pretty much born into dancing because my parents own a studio in Australia. At the age of 10 my dancing teacher took me to my first live pop concert. I saw Janet Jackson’s Velvet Rope show and it was that night that I realized this could be a career for me. I wanted to be like the dancers on that stage, performing for an artist and traveling the world. It seemed like the perfect life, so from that moment on I took dancing a little more seriously. I am very fortunate to have parents that have helped me every step of the way. They’ve been bringing me to the states since I was 17 to take extra classes here so by the time I decided to move at the age of 24, it didn’t seem like such a foreign place.
Are there any moments in your careers’ that particularly stand out to you so far? Talk about what makes them special to you?
M – The biggest one that stands out to me right now is probably opening night of “Piece of me!” We had been working 6 or 7 days a week for about 3 months to put the show together. It was such a phenomenal feeling having it all come together for opening night. I remember after we finished that show Kaylie and I collapsed and both started crying because it was so amazing and such a beautiful moment.
K – I agree with Michael- Opening Night is definitely a huge stand out for me! Nothing compares to the feeling of sharing the stage that night with Britney and the cast. We all worked so hard and by the time we opened it was just such a relief that we had made it! I’ll never forget the sound of the audience when the curtain opened. I remember crying under my helmet throughout the first number because I couldn’t believe what was actually happening to me. Michael and I are so lucky to have shared this together.
You are both amazing dancers. Do you find there is any competitiveness between you both in terms of dancing? Or is it more of a support having your partner in the same industry as you?
No, none at all. We learned early on in our relationship that any competitiveness was so unnecessary for us. We definitely look at each other as “partner’s in crime!” rather than competitors. It makes our job more exciting and fun to experience it together and support each other. It can be hard sometimes when you’re constantly being judged in this industry so to have a partner that supports you and encourages you is like finding gold!
What first attracted you to each other and how do you find the balance of making your relationship work whilst still working as professional dancers?
M – For me it was obviously looks that first got my attention. But then once we became better friends it really just clicked with everything else. Our brains are so similar we just caught ourselves thinking alike from day one.
K – I was in a very different head space when we first met…we were in rehearsals for the show and I was assisting the choreographers too. I had also just moved to LA so I was pretty stressed and excited all at the same time. Michael became a friend that I could talk to and he helped me with a lot of things like finding a car. I think I was looking for a friend at first but as we spent more time together it just became so clear to me that we were so similar in every way.
Dancing with Britney is really the cherry on top! She has always been an icon, especially for dancers – Michael
You’re both part of the amazing Piece of Me show in Las Vegas with Britney Spears. What’s that experience like and how is it working with such an iconic performer who’s been in the industry for so long?
M – Honestly it is really a dream job. Getting to perform all those nights in front of sold out crowds gives me chills every time. And dancing with Britney is really the cherry on top! She has always been an icon, especially for dancers, it such an amazing job and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
K – I still get excited to this day, and we’re in our 3rd year of the contract. I just don’t think it will ever get old to me! Britney is the sweetest person to work for and as time has gone by we’ve all become much closer, it just makes the job so much easier when you look around on stage and really love the people you’re working with.
What’s your favourite performance in the show and what makes that stand out for you?
M – I have a few, but I think my favorite is Circus. It’s so much fun to perform especially with all of our crazy outfits, its makes it really interesting to play with that character each night.
K – I think my favorite has to be Me Against The Music – I’ve always loved that song and I love the props we use (even though we’ve all been beaten up by them at some point).
Britney is the sweetest person to work for and as time has gone by we’ve all become much closer – Kaylie
Has their ever been any embarrassing moments happen to you while performing in Vegas?
M – Lol a few! I think every dancer has had a few. A stand out for me is probably when I fell out of the Hamster wheel prop on our preview night! It was the night before our opening show and the first time any audience had seen “Piece of Me”. We got to Scream & Shout, where I run and do tricks inside of a giant Hamster wheel, and I remember I was so nervous on one of the moves I actually fell out of the wheel…..I was mortified!
K – The moment that I will never forget was also on our preview night. It was during Circus and there is one part that I walk down the stairs behind Britney, my foot got caught in my pants and I tripped down the stairs. Luckily enough I didn’t fall on the ground but I hopped down 3 stairs on 1 foot until I ripped my other foot out of my pants. I was devastated, mostly because I was right next to Britney. Every time I do that part now I pick up my feet so high to try and avoid that horrifying moment again.
What’s your favourite thing to do in Vegas when you’re not performing?
We fancy ourselves as foodies, so whenever we get a chance we like to try new restaurants. Vegas has some really great places that we have found, and we’re sure we will find more!!!
What is your favourite part of each other’s bodies and what do you find get’s the most compliments from the fans?
M – My favorite part of Kay’s body is probably her hair! It always looks amazing and she definitely gets the most compliments from fans on her hair. Also her smile is pretty great too!
K – I love Michael’s chest and shoulders- the way he holds himself is so strong. I see the fans mostly comment on how hot he is so I’m guessing they just like it all hehehe.
What’s the most romantic thing you’ve done for each other?
The biggest thing that stands out was when we spent a week in Florida at Disney World! We went around Kaylie’s birthday so we were able to celebrate it there! It was just a really special trip and we had such a blast. Its something neither of us will ever forget!
When you’re not dancing what else do you both like to do to keep busy?
Gym, eat, movies, eat, Disneyland, eat……and probably more eating! We love to cook at home and go out for nice dinners, its probably the thing we think about most…..food!
You are both in extremely good shape. As well as dance is fitness also a big part of your life and are there any special things you like to do to keep in shape?
Nothing too crazy, we workout at a gym near our house often. Sometimes we will go for a hike, or swim laps in the pool. But our workout regime is pretty simple, the most difficult thing is keeping our momentum up for working out!
If you could go back and give advice to yourself starting out your career what would that be and where would you like to see yourself career wise, and in life, in the next 5 years?
M – Advice to myself would be save save save your money! Luckily i’ve never been in desperate need of money, but you never know how the industry will fluctuate, so my best advice would be to save as much as possible!
K – If I could go back in time, I would tell myself not to be afraid of the unknown. I’ve never been someone who likes taking risks because I’ve always been too scared of the unknown. The biggest risk I’ve ever taken is leaving Sydney, leaving my family and my career there to try and start something new here in LA. It definitely paid off! It’s never been easy but I’m so glad that I did it. Now that I’m here I guess there are endless possibilities of what’s to come.
For now we’re both more than happy to be working on the “Piece Of Me” show and when our contract is over it will be hard to figure out what’s next, but that’s the beauty of this industry. We’d both love to travel more and maybe even get into some choreographing or directing of our own.
QUICK FIRE QUESTIONS
Favourite place on earth?
Cats or Dogs?
Go to song in the shower?
M – I don’t sing….. I still want Kaylie to like me.
K – Part Of Your World from the Little Mermaid.
What’s on your music playlist right now?
M – Anything with Kendrick Lamar.
K – I’ve always got Beyonce but the newest would be Zayn’s album.
Favourite Britney song?
K – Boys! its a classic.
M – I’ll go with Scream & Shout.
Last time you got naked?
Everyday, we shower together 😉
Craziest thing you’ve ever done?
That’s tough…..Probably when we snuck in flasks to Disneyland.
Last time you cried?
M – Hmm….I can’t remember actually.
K – Yesterday- watching Armageddon- I’m a sucker for a corny movie.
Last gift you received from each other?
M – We get little gifts for each other all the time, it keeps things alive!
K – Very True! We both bought each other gifts from when we went home to visit our families.
How does it feel to be you right now?
M – Really sore because i’ve been training for a photoshoot!
K – Pretty great because we have the next few days off together.
All photos provided by Kaylie and Michael and illustrations exclusive to Craig Andrew James.