8-year-old Farmington girl dances onstage with Karol G at Coachella festival in California

Brooklynn Kinney will be back in spotlight at Cochella this weekend

Mike Easterling
Farmington Daily Times
  • Brooklynn Kinney is a third-grader at Ladera del Norte Elementary School in Farmington.
  • Now 8 years old, she has been dancing at AnnMarie's Dance Academy in Farmington since she was 4.
  • She was recruited for the gig by Ruby Pappan, a choreographer for various artists, after she watched the youngster during a competition in Albuquerque on April 10.

FARMINGTON — With her mother and father watching from the front row as part of a crowd of approximately 250,000 people, a Farmington 8-year-old danced on the main stage with Karol G last weekend at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, California.

Brooklynn Kinney, a third-grader at Ladera del Norte Elementary School, joined the Latin music artist onstage for two songs as part of a troupe of approximately 45 dancers, according to her mother, Natosha Kinney. She will be back on stage with Karol G at Coachella this weekend for another performance on April 24.

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Brooklynn, who has been dancing since she was 4 years old at AnnMarie's Dance Academy in Farmington, was recruited for the gig by Ruby Pappan, a choreographer for various artists, after she watched the youngster during a competition in Albuquerque on April 10.

Studio owner AnnMarie Bean arranged to send Brooklynn's audition video to Pappan, who liked what she saw and called Natosha Kinney to ask if the girl would be interested in performing with Karol G at Coachella, the annual two-weekend festival that features dozens of the biggest names in the music business.

After quickly accepting the invitation, Brooklynn and her mother first flew to Las Vegas, Nevada, for three days of rehearsals at the T-Mobile Arena, home of the NHL'sVegas Golden Knights. They then climbed on a bus bound for Southern California with the rest of the dancers for the April 17 show.

Choreographer Ruby Pappan helps fit 8-year-old dancer Brooklynn Kinney with a personal audio device in her ear during rehearsals for her performance with Karol G at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

By April 18, Brooklynn and her family were back in Farmington, trying to process the whirlwind of a week they had experienced.

Kinney said her daughter was especially thrilled about having the chance to meet Karol G before the show.

"She said she was super, super sweet and very welcoming and just made her feel like Brooklynn had been dancing with her for years," Kinney said.

For the most part, Brooklynn took the whole experience in stride, but she apparently suffered an attack of nerves while standing backstage just before showtime.

Kinney said her daughter told her, "Mom, I peeked out (the curtain) for a second and said, 'Oh my gosh.' But once I got onstage, I said, 'This isn't so bad.'"

Brooklynn was taken aside backstage by one of the dancers in the troupe, who put her through a quick rehearsal to take her mind off the size of the crowd. Brooklynn told her mother that once she started moving, her nervousness evaporated.

Brooklynn Kinney has been dancing at AnnMarie's Dance Academy in Farmington since she was 4 years old.

Kinney said if her daughter suffered from any stage fright during the performance, she kept it well hidden.

"Man, she was so confident," she said.

The youngster capped off her evening by taking a quick bow with Karol G at the conclusion of the set while Kinney and her husband Adam soaked it all in at the front of the enormous crowd.

Since arriving back in Farmington, the entire family has been deluged with phone calls and texts about Brooklynn's moment in the spotlight. Kinney said Brooklynn's siblings – Tamika and Bryson Valdez, and Christian Kinney – all reported being treated like celebrities at school because of their sister's sudden fame.

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Kinney said things have happened so quickly the family hasn't had time to consider what might come next for Brooklynn.

"It was very quick and unexpected," she said. "People have been asking us, 'Are you moving to LA?' I say, 'No, I don't think so.' But this could open some other opportunities for her."

Even before last week, Kinney said her daughter had often said her goal in life was to be a backup dancer for a music star.

"Her brother told her, 'Well, it looks like your dream came true,'" Kinney said.

Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610 or measterling@daily-times.com.

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