“Ballet is definitely my love of all loves.”
This is Auti Kamal, a 27-year-old dancer, teacher, and content creator. She has been dancing since she was 3 years old, and ever since, her love and passion for dance have grown every day. From local studios to high school dance team (Auti was the captain, of course!) to college to her own growing platform and dance community, Auti’s life is dance. We caught up with her to talk about what makes dance special, her open and friendly teaching style, and her brand new dance education app Ti & Me.
Like many young dancers, Auti went to college to pursue the professional dancer’s dream. She took classes that taught her to chase stardom and commercial success. (Commercials! Broadway!) During her first two years at California State University Long Beach, Auti was dazzled by her peers and worked hard to push herself toward those big professional goals. It would take some time before she realized those weren’t exactly her goals. “It just wasn’t working out for me,” she shared. “I remember feeling really discouraged and feeling really sad.”
Composition and pedagogy classes are where Auti found her path again. “I’ve been teaching since I was about 15 years old. That was at my home studio. You know the cute little pre-ballet, tap combo classes,” she said, “and I started professionally choreographing when I was 18.” In college classes that focused on dance education, Auti shared she felt “so natural and at ease.” “I was like, ‘Okay. This actually feels a lot more aligned with who I am and the skill set that I have.”
If you watch even one of Auti’s videos from her popular Dance with Miss Auti YouTube channel, then you know she exudes kindness and patience whether she’s teaching a five-minute set of stretches or a full lyrical routine. It’s obvious that dance and sharing it with others are two things that bring Auti a lot of joy. When Auti says “Ok, dancers,” you know she’s talking to her viewers as peers. She’s a YouTuber, sure, but she’s also an internet best friend that also happens to be an awesome dance instructor. What could be better?
Well, more Auti, obviously, and lucky for us (and the rest of the dance world) we’re getting just that. Over the last year, Auti has been working with a team to bring her open and beginner-friendly teaching methods to the world in a structured, virtual learning space—her new app Ti & Me. Auti and her team call Ti & Me “the ultimate beginner dance app,” and we can see why. Structured around carefully crafted calendars, Auti has filled the app with lessons that cover everything from posture and dance feet to leaps and choreography. Ti & Me is a dance studio. It’s a one-on-one class. It’s a safe space for dancers, and with extras like 21 days to splits and boot camps, it’s also a challenge.
Auti emphasizes that there’s no “type” of dancer that matches the app because they all do. Returning dancers, beginner dancers, teachers, and even dancers just looking for a supplement to studio training can find a lot of value in the platform. “The Miss Auti brand and Ti & Me, the app, is really about giving quality dance education without the pressure of needing to be perfect,” Auti said. “I try to teach with lightness and with humor, but all the while still giving good dance education. I think there’s a way to learn and to grow without dancers feeling intimidated or feeling kind of insecure about their abilities. It’s really important to me when I’m teaching to really foster a dancer’s confidence and their own joy as well as their technique and their performance.”
Ti & Me focuses on dance. That’s obvious, right? But Auti doesn’t just want to teach you how to do a flip or walk you through a handful of routines. Instead, she’s excited to see dancers on Ti & Me learning a variety of skills (just like you would in the studio), so they can chase whatever dance goals they want to whether that is a cool trick or just keeping your technique sharp.
“Dancers are going towards these really big things, and they’re struggling, and they’re getting discouraged because right now it seems like to be a really successful dancer you need to have all of these acro tricks and have your leg behind your head and all of these things, right?” Auti said. “But what I really want to drive home is that those bigger goals that dancers want to achieve will become so much more attainable and so much more simple when they understand the fundamentals which to me is posture and that’s making sure that you’re articulating through your feet. It’s making sure you’re breathing.”
This is why Ti & Me has a bit of everything and is continuing to grow in a “let’s learn it all together” direction. “I didn’t want to leave anything out because those initial steps lay a really really foundation down for dancers to reach those bigger goals,” Auti told us. “So instead of jumping from point A to point Z, we go through the whole alphabet, you know, to set up the strongest possible dancer in order to get to where they want to go.”
With new content coming out every single week and a brand new calendar full of videos and goals each month, Ti & Me is only getting started. Auti shared that she’s excited to bring guest instructors onto the platform and introduce more challenging content for intermediate and advanced dancers. This month, a leg hold boot camp is featured on the app. “We’re coming from a whole-body, all-encompassing kind of perspective of start to finish how to get every aspect of the leg hold polished and beautiful,” Auti said about the video series.
We’re so excited to see this platform blossom, and Auti is excited to continue to share her love of dance with her community as a friend and a peer. “I am not better than dancers that are watching. I’m really here to teach. I think being friends with your students, creating this really encouraging environment just makes people want to learn and to continue coming back. There’s no need for that kind of intimidation or that elite kind of status,” Auti said. “It’s meant for everyone, and I really mean everyone.” Isn’t that beautiful?