By Michael Myers
Kjersti (KJ) Breen is a dancer on the Southern Virginia University spirit squad and is the Knight of the Week. She is in the midst of her sophomore season and can be seen performing routines alongside her teammates at many of the Knights’ athletic events.
Breen has a unique ability to inspire those around her by constantly looking outward. Whether that trait manifests itself through baking for a friend, or expressing love for her family, she exemplifies what it means to be a leader-servant.
"KJ always gives 100%, whether it's in the weight room, performing at games, or at our 6:30 a.m. practices," said head spirit squad coach Neely Pendleton. "She is a natural leader and wonderful performer. We feel very blessed to have such a talented young woman on our dance team."
Where are you from?
I am from Las Vegas Nevada.
How many siblings do you have?
I am the youngest of seven. There are five boys and one other girl!
What made you decide to attend Southern Virginia University?
My brother was on the football team, so I came out here to visit. Originally I thought it was too small, but I decided to come here because of the person I knew I could become. My dad says that I was born in Las Vegas, but I grew up in Virginia because this is where I’m figuring out who I need to be.
What do you like about SVU?
I love the small classes and how I get to know my professors. I can say hello to someone here, and I usually know who they are, and they know who I am. It’s a very intimate environment where you are surrounded by people that share and want to uphold the same standards you do.
What is your major?
I’m currently majoring in business, but I recently found a passion for photography. That would be something that could work for me in my future.
How long have you been dancing for?
I used to dance a lot when I was younger, but then I quit around sixth grade. I’ve always had a passion for it, so when I came here, I decided to try it and my skills have grown a lot!
What kind of training is involved in being a dancer?
We workout Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning at 6:30. We’ll do conditioning, and go over our pom routines that we do at games. Sometimes we’ll have combinations of hip-hop and contemporary, as well as jazz. Lifting weights is also really important, and you also have to work on your core. It’s both physically and mentally demanding.
What is a favorite hobby that you have?
I love cooking. My mom is like a mini Rachel Ray, so I’ve taken some things from her. Anytime I make dinner, it’s usually something new. I really like to learn different techniques and manipulate other foods.
Who are three people, dead or alive, that you would like to eat dinner with?
I’d go with Jesus Christ, my grammy who passed away two years ago, and probably Gordon B. Hinckley.
Who is a dancer that you look up to?
Her name is Jojo Gomez. The dances that she performs are very powerful, and I love hip-hop dancing. She is also not just about dance. She focuses on surrounding herself with people who push her, and she’s all about being supportive of those around you.