Miss Nyx is a woman full of surprises. With a passion for experiencing life, she's utterly dived into her art. Between modeling, and dancing a large array of dance styles, she's successfully managed to express herself in countless forms. A little bit cheeky, a little bit "take-no-shit", and a whole lot of energetic, her work has shown a variety that is hard to come by.
An Idaho native, who found her way to Salt Lake City, she's tried a wide array of jobs and lifestyles. However, what sticks out to me the most about all of this, is how strongly she's been able to grip onto her own sense of self and preserve who she truly is throughout it all. She's a kind woman, with a twinkle of humor in her eye, but she's honest, and upfront in a way that's hard to find these days. Her chest tattoo even brazenly states, "Pretty Fuckin' Self Spoken".
Nyx's work has attracted attention from audiences and other performers alike. Not one to follow trends, her work expresses exactly where she's at when it's happening, and plenty are taking notice. Easily one of the most unique performers in the SLC valley, Nyx has a vision and a story to tell, and I don't recommend missing it.
Kita: So what first got you into performing?
Nyx: When I was pretty young, my mom put me in the general ballet-jazz-tap classes for little kids, so I started out around five. She pushed stage performance on me; I did a lot of stand-up, I did a lot of monologues, I had my own half hour public access channel television show for about two weeks. From there, it just kept going. I thought I was going to be doing a lot of acting, but that never did it for me. Eventually I moved solidly into dancing, and that's really where I've stayed.
Kita: From that point, where has your style evolved to?
Nyx: So I started "on-purpose" dancing, where, you know, it wasn't just my mother signing me up, when I was about nineteen or twenty, and it was belly dancing with a lady named Zidora, out of Boise, Idaho. It was very basic, very Egyptian style. And cabaret style belly dance just doesn't look good on me. So then I went to Germany for three years with the airforce, and when I came back, I discovered Rachel Brice. I immediately fell in love and decided that American Tribal Style was exactly what I had to do. I joined up with a troupe in Salt Lake City, who did very American Tribal Style, and around the same time, I started up with a troupe called Dragomi, who did a very dark fusion style. It was very earthy, very grounded, full weight on the heels style of movements. And that took off really well in the community, and with me, personally. So I really grew from there, and started adding in things I learned from clubs, things I saw in videos, pop and locking, a little bit of ballroom, a little bit of jazz, some modern, cabaret, just whatever I could find. Now, I don't really have a nameable style.
Kita: Because you're so heavily into fusion, have you gotten any trouble from any of the purists of the styles?
Nyx: No one's ever said it to my face. I'm positive that some of them feel less than enthusiastic about it. I personally have been to belly dance events when I was first starting out actively performing, and I would go, "That's not belly dance! She can't do that here!" So even I've been there. And people who are focused on purity of particular forms, you know, that's their thing, they're preserving something. It's just not what I do.
Kita: Do you prefer the creation and the learning or do you prefer the performance?
Nyx: I don't know if other performers do this in a similar fashion, but when I'm doing solo work, I have a strong tendency to absolutely fall in love with one song. Just head over heels. The rhythm, the pulse, the tempo, the meaning of the lyrics, it's exactly what I want to dance to right then. It's perfect for me, and I will dance the shit out of that song until I have a solid choreography that makes me thrilled to practice it. And then I will perform that once. And then I never want to hear that song again. So, I guess, I do get a lot of satisfaction out of the creation process, but the actual performance, sending a story out into the audience, and having them see it, and understand it, and respond to it, and having them sending back their own energy in the form of yelling or clapping, or whatever, I live for that part of it.
Kita: What's been your biggest struggle with dancing?
Nyx: I'll name two. One is staying motivated. Staying motivated without a class, a troupe, a teacher, or any of that can be incredibly hard sometimes. There are a lot of people in the community that just push through those times, and just rock them, and then they're back to their motivation, but I'm not that person. I lose my motivation, and it's chocolate and cookies time. I'm pretty much done. But, I'd say bigger than that, the reason I stopped dancing as much as I used to and narrowed it down to solo work is the community. The community may be different in other areas, but the movement performance community in Salt Lake is so ridiculous. How little we are supportive. The Salt Lake City community in general doesn't support movement artists very much unless they're in a classical form, you know, like ballet, jazz. And so the movement artists who are out on the street, practicing in the park, or in their living rooms, will put a show together that took six months to organize, they get volunteers, they get people to donate stuff, they put together raffles, they make it a charity show, and they get maybe ten people to show up who aren't other dancers. And that makes it hard. Because when you're in a community, the thing that keeps it alive, that keeps it growing and moving is seeing new stuff. And if the only people who are coming are the other dancers, you don't get new input, you don't get new infusions of ideas. It gets stale, and I think that's a big part of the reason you can find so much interpersonal drama among many of the performers. I've never been part of a community that was so over the top with the soap opera episode type drama, and I think it's because we get stuck in this little bowl with only each other for company, and we don't deal with it well. We don't know how to go out and recruit new people very well to come in and see and share our stuff.
Kita: How about the people closer to you? Are they supportive?
Nyx: If they weren't, they wouldn't be around me. My friends are fantastic. People will come to my shows, they'll watch me rehearse, they'll give me critiques on my outfits and that sort of thing. I think people are generally interested in seeing it, and getting involved with it.
Kita: How about stage fright?
Nyx: Well, as I said, I've been onstage in one form or another since I was five, and that's (insert massive coughing fit here) number of years, and I could have a rock solid choreography, that I could do in my sleep perfectly, and every time I go onstage, I get the shakes. I get shake-y, I get nervous, but the second the music starts, you've got two ways to go. You can do it, or you can be afraid. And if you do it, it rocks, every time.
Kita: Would you say from the point you were at when you first started branching out, to now, your goals have changed a lot?
Nyx: Absolutely. Yes. A lot. When I first started actively performing belly dance, I just wanted to be neat, I wanted to do something that was fun and different. In the belly dance class I was in, I learned that when you are doing belly dance, you are sparkly, and smiley, and bouncy, and you have long hair, and so those were the things I aimed for. I wanted to fit into that little niche. I did pretty well, for as well as I can really do cabaret style belly dance, but now? Now, I don't want to look like I'm doing a style. I want to look like I am onstage dancing. That's what I want people to see. I want them to see the character that I am creating, the story I'm telling. I don't want to be doing that through someone else's form.
Kita: So you also do modeling. Do you find the two coincide at all?
Nyx: Absolutely. Being able to dance increases your body perception by leaps and bounds. So it's easier for posing. It's easier for someone to say, "Keep your feet and your hips where they are, turn your shoulders toward the camera, and lift your chin higher." It's easier to isolate those things if you have more experience talking to your body parts. So yes.
Kita: You've done nude work. What got you to start doing that?
Nyx: Well, I like me naked. So I figured I'd like to have a picture of that. So when I ran into a photographer who wasn't creepy about that, we tried some stuff out, and it turned out amazing.
Kita: Are a lot of photographers creepy then?
Nyx: I haven't gotten to that point with a lot of photographers. So far, I have done nude photoshoots with a couple of photographers. It's not so much creepy like, "Hey, little girl..." It's hard to explain. I had a photoshoot with a guy once, and I was modeling a corset that his partner had made. I had a long sleeve shirt on underneath, I had some pants on, and we're doing the photoshoot, and at one point, I was laying down on a fur rug. He just had me rolling over and over like a log roll, and he was asking me to do stuff like pull my shirt open at the top, and squish my elbows in on the side of my breasts. I was like, "Can you even see the corset in these?" And he just looked at me, and was like, "Oh! The corset!" He had completely forgotten the corset and was working towards me not being in the corset. So stuff like that happens a lot. I don't think it's so much creepy, as people get excited, and want to see where everything goes. But I would rather have a situation where I can just sort of lounge around, and be naked, and be pretty, and have that be the point than have it be a situation where they feel they have to sneak up on it because I might get skittish and leave.
Kita: What have your biggest anxieties with modeling been?
Nyx: Being murdered in the desert.
Kita: That's a good anxiety to have.
Nyx: Yeah! Granted, it's never been a huge worry. But I've never been concerned about looking silly in a picture, or doing something people might not like.
Kita: So what about your biggest struggles with modeling?
Nyx: Finding photographers I like. It's kind of like trying to go to a show where you know you'll be dancing for other dancers, so everyone's going to be very well informed, and you're trying to pull off doing something that is new and unique and doesn't look like stuff that everyone else is doing. So finding ideas that are new, exciting, sexy, and fun, but that aren't all over the internet already is a big challenge.
Kita: So what do you do to get ready for a photoshoot?
Nyx: It depends. For certain really casual, artsy photos, I won't do anything in particular. But for a photoshoot once, I did full body paint, and a big set, and prosthetics were being made for this. I slimmed down with the Atkins diet for two weeks, I did a lot of cardio, and a lot of stuff to trim my figure down. For the most part, I just make a half-hearted attempt to not eat too much candy.
Kita: And with a dance show?
Nyx: Practice. One of the things I do like about the community here is really that, if I were to go to an expo downtown, and do a performance, I would feel a bit of pressure to be toned and in shape, and at the top of my game. And with a belly dance show, it's not that I shouldn't be those things, or that it wouldn't be better, but I know that if I get onstage and my stomach is pooching out over my pants a little bit, no one is going to be sitting in the audience going, "Oh my God! She has let herself go!" In this community, it's not even a blip on the dial. And if it is, you probably do cabaret and I don't care.
Kita: With either modeling or dancing, what inspires you?
Nyx: That's hard to say. I want to have something profound here to say like, "My family," or something, but
really, it's more like, one day I'll find a song that I really like. And I'll do that. Or I won't. But I never really know.
Kita: If you want my opinion, that's more profound than saying something like, "My family," because it makes it sound more like that's just how you react to life.
Nyx: Yeah! That! What she said!
Kita: Outside of dancing or modeling, what other forms of art have you wanted to get into?
Nyx: I kind of a dabble a little teensy bit with photography. I will occasionally write, as a form of catharsis, and when I do, it's pretty impressive. I like my writing. But I've never been a huge fan of painting, drawing, sculpting and that sort of stuff. I like the crafty stuff, like crocheting, or I can sew a pair of pants together that are pretty cute. Stuff like that. I like making things, but maybe not art.
Kita: So have you had struggles with working an ordinary job and doing your art on the side?
Nyx: To a certain extent. Finding ways to do it is easy, I feel. But finding places to hire me while I'm doing it is a little harder. I have a lot of tattoos, I do a lot of fun things with my hair, so it can be hard to find a job
while all that's going on. But right now, I feel happier letting myself do the rest of those things despite the fact that it might affect things in rest of my life than I would if I did have an easier time with a job, but I didn't have, you know, purple hair and tattoos.
Kita: Have you had a lot of trouble with feeling drained?
Nyx: It depends heavily on the job. For example, I just left a job with a company where I worked right out at the front desk. They weren't terribly straight laced, but they were still pretty normal. I couldn't even allow my arm piece to show, I couldn't have my hair dyed any unusual colors, extensions were absolutely out of the question. You know, so I had a solid, steady job, great benefits, thirteen paid holidays a year, good insurance, ect. ect., but I'm the lowest paid person in the building, and expected to adhere to the highest social and physical standards. It feels unfair, and against my nature, which is draining. So at the end of the day, do I want to dance? Well yeah. But do I want to get off the couch to do it? Absolutely not. I just had a shit day doing stuff I don't believe in for eight hours. I don't want to dance right now. Now, the job I have right now? I go in and I work on things with my hands all day, and then I go home. I get to have my pink hair, and I get to let my tattoos show. I get home, and physically, I may have had a harder day, and mentally, I may have had more challenges, but my soul? I haven't squished it in a box. So it's ready to go. It doesn't need unpacking, or ironing times. It's out of the box, onto the dance floor. And I'm happy.
Have anyone else you'd like us to chat with? Suggestions are taken in the comments below!