Corbin Hunter: Chasing a dream

This is the first of what I hope will be a series of special feature interviews highlighting the amazing Dancers of Minnesota. This first edition of Dancers of Minnesota features Corbin Hunter, a dancer who great up in the Twin Cities and moved to Los Angeles with dream, a plan and great support. Without further adieu, enjoy the first of a two part story on a dancer who is living every young dancer’s dream and sharing the stage with one of the hottest singers in the world, Beyoncé.

Every dream starts with a spark. For a young Corbin Hunter, the dream started as a two-year-old girl when her mother enrolled her into studio dance. “I love to be on stage…. I love to perform” Hunter recalled, as her face lit up.  “I wasn’t always the best technical dancer; I wasn’t always the best dancer…overall,” but she said, “I would outshine anybody.”

She spent her early years in studio dance, soaking it all up and learning from as many people as she could.
In her high school years, Hunter danced at school, attended a fine arts academy, danced after school at her studio and attended special workshops and intensives.

Linda Green, one of Corbin’s studio instructors at Art of Dance Studio in Brooklyn Park, described Corbin as extremely motivated, a determined dancer who took every intensive and master class that she could get to. Green recalled with great excitement how she watched a young girl come into her own as she attended classes and mastered her craft.

Corbin with her sister Parey and friend Gretta. Photo by Matt Blewett

In 2011 Corbin had the opportunity to dance on stage for Willow Smith at the Target Center.  Also performing at the event was her favorite singer and dancer, Beyoncé.  It was during this experience, watching Beyoncé on stage, that she realized that she would be moving to California to be a professional dancer.

After the performance she had the opportunity to meet Beyoncé. Recalling the conversation, Corbin said she told Beyoncé, “’I am going to be one of your dancers someday.’ She [Beyoncé] smiled big at me and continued down the line shaking hands.” Hunter smiled as she recalled the reactions of her friends and family as she proclaimed that she would one day be dancing for Beyoncé.

One day young Corbin broke the news that she was going to move to Los Angeles after graduating high school to pursue dancing. “My parents were furious,” she said as she laughed, recalling the conversation. After the initial shock, her supportive parents sat down with her to work out a plan to pursue the dream.

Her parents insisted that she start saving so that her bank account could weather the first year’s expenses while she got her feet on the ground. Corbin and her mother developed a savings plan and set savings and to-do milestones. For the next two years, between high school, studio dancing and the occasional evening with family and friends, Corbin worked at a local gas station in Champlin, scraping and saving every penny to make her dream come true.

At the age of 18, with her life savings in her pocket, she moved to Los Angeles with a plan, ready to take the dance industry by storm.  She thought she would just jump in and start booking jobs. “It didn’t happen like that,” she recalled.  It took her about a year before she could even afford to dance.

Part of the agreement between Corbin and her parents included the need for a “Plan B” in case dancing did not work out. She enrolled in, and graduated from, a makeup school and began to pick up jobs in that field. While studying she found a server job at Hooters and worked there while saving up to take dance classes.

It was as a server that she learned the art of connecting with people. In California, she recalls, it’s all about who you know.  Half of the battle is getting to know the right people.  The other half is showing up and following through on the opportunities that are presented.

The first year, when she could not afford to dance, she started to show rust on the technique that she had expertly honed over the previous decade.  Despite the financial setback and not being able to dance, her dream had not faded, and she kept believing. Eventually she would be able to afford to dance, and she worked hard to sharpen her technique and make connections.

Stay tuned for part two of our interview with Corbin Hunter. Follow her on Instagram @certified_corbin.

Do you want to learn a Beyonce dance from Corbin? She is hosting The Switch Intensive, a two-day workshop, with two of her colleagues, Kimmie Gee and Hannah Douglass at the QC Dance Studios in Blaine.  If you enroll by May 10 you will receive $10 off your registration.  There are classes for dancers ages 8 and above.

Register below