Black World Studies Minor
What would you say has been the most surprising thing you learned at Columbia?
The most surprising thing I learned at Columbia, as cheesy and corny as it may sound, I learned about myself not only as a person but as an artist. When I first came to Columbia I was a bit unsure of what I wanted to do. I questioned myself a lot and was unsure if Dance was “the path for me.” What I discovered through Columbia was not only the ability to find my choreographic voice, but most importantly, I learned to be an artist. An artist who wears multiple hats and has the ability to adapt, change, and overcome. An artist who has learned the importance of process, trust, vulnerability, and collaboration. An artist who sees the value in community, building, and empowering. An artist who speaks on what they believe and stands firm. An artist who does NOT censor their work in fear of others’ thoughts. An artist who is true to themselves and in service to the work they do. I learned to be that artist. I learned to be sure. I learned to be me.
What experiences or courses at Columbia do you feel have been most beneficial?
I believe that each semester I have had some type of course or professor who has changed my perspective and ways of working and thinking. Some of my most memorable experiences I have had:
- Being selected along with 12 other Columbia students to travel to France for two weeks to be a part of the Centre National De La Danse which was an amazing and beautiful experience that has really shaped my artistry.
- I choreographed and premiered my first group work dealing with the oppression of women specifically women of color and focusing on the different ways women have to present themselves in order to be perceived “correctly” on Columbia’s stage in the fall of 2019. It was performed again at the Student Center in spring 2020. From there this piece was selected by full-time faculty at Columbia to be performed at ACDA (American College Dance Association) in Michigan.
- Serving as a student leader on campus and President of Student Government Association for the 2019/2020 academic year, which was a great year full of accomplishments such as introducing new events, largest senator population in a long time, community/campus work, working with higher administration/faculty to implement changes, and mentoring amazing students.
- Was nominated and received Lincoln Laureate Award on behalf of Columbia College Chicago.
- Accepted to serve as one of the two student representatives on Columbia’s DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) Committee.
- Co-organized the 3rd annual Black Arts Festival at Columbia College Chicago.
What are your plans for after graduation?
I just recently got accepted into the one grad school I applied to. I have not made my decision on whether or not to attend as everything is very unknown right now. I have been working hard on my plans for the next year or so and how I’ll continue to show/premiere work, collaborate, etc. Stay tuned! You can always check out what I’m doing on my website at kierahking.com or my Instagram @kierah.king!
Do you have any advice for current students?
My advice for current students would be to not be afraid, to ask questions, and be curious. Take full advantage of the resources at Columbia because there are so many that go unnoticed. You just have to do the work. Columbia is not a traditional school, and nothing will be handed to you. If you expect to just go to class or things to be handed to you, they will not. Work hard for them, create support systems, find mentors, build and grow, and learn how to be critical of your work in a positive way. Know what your work represents, stand for your work, believe in your work, be in SERVICE to your work. Lastly, the best advice received when creating was “don’t ever censor your work.” Columbia is not the place to hold back but to push forward.