The decision for some individuals is not whether to be creative but rather which avenue to pursue. For these people there is a need to express and manifest. A true artistic personality must create and these individuals often blur the lines, crossing over various mediums. Kelsey Oluk has achieved considerable success as both an actor and a dancer. It’s sometimes difficult for her to choose…so she doesn’t. While she has been in a number of film, television, and web based productions, she can also be seen in many music based ones as well. The age of the music video has morphed but the opportunities for talents like Oluk who appear in them are perhaps more numerous and prevalent than ever. Working with acclaimed artists such as the Balconies and Feist. With high art concepts and infectious melodies, you’ll see Oluk in these videos on MTV and Apple iPod commercials. Just as modern music isn’t delegated to only radio anymore, Kelsey enjoys the multiple avenues for her to express herself and exhibit the art forms which she is so passionate about. While technology may change the accent and the vehicle by which entertainment is delivered, the talent of individuals such as Oluk remains evergreen.
When artists mingle and find their counterpoint in each other, they become mutual fans. It’s not by coincidence that Oluk appears in a number of videos by the Balconies. Jacquie Neville (musician, songwriter, producer and lead singer of the Balconies) declares, “To date, I've collaborated with Kelsey on three different music videos for my band, the Balconies. Over the years, we have grown to have such a dynamic and close working relationship. I love working with her because she not only understands my vision of dance and movement for each project but she goes above and beyond to create exciting and innovative performances, approaching each piece with great passion. I always wished to be a dancer but lacked the formal training and confidence in my abilities. However, working with Kelsey, I was able to gain confidence in myself and fulfill this dream. She challenged me to find my own style and embrace how I uniquely move as an individual. We had so much fun rehearsing for the ‘Money, Money’ video. Kelsey brings so much joy, spontaneity, leadership, character, and impeccable professionalism to her work. What drew me to her as a dancer and performer is how she completely embodies the story and every performance. Whether it's a stylized music video dance like ‘Boys and Girls’ or a contemporary and admittedly quirky dance like ‘Money, Money’, she is a true chameleon who is able to effortlessly transform in front of your eyes."
The Balconies “Do It In The Dark” video was released on MTV Canada on Halloween. This short film/styled music video tells the story of campers missing in the forest. One by one the campers disappear, only to return as zombies. Balconies lead singer Jacquie appears as the zombie queen controlling them. One can’t help but imagine “Thriller” in regards to this but Kelsey is quick to point out that the video is less about choreographed dance scenes than this. It’s not every day that one gets to appear as a zombie in a concept music video. Oluk concedes, “We weren’t dancing really, more just movement and blocking for the camera. But it was really fun to be in the zombie makeup. It really puts you in character, and when you look at your fellow actors and see them with gashes on their face and blacked out eyes, it definitely fires up your imagination. In this case, we didn’t have any prosthetics, so our movement wasn’t really inhibited all too much.”
Kelsey and the Balconies more than made up for the lack of dancing when they created 2014’s “Boys and Girls” video. Oluk appears as the lead dancer in the video, was the dance captain working with all of the dancers to create the concert scenes, and collaborated with Jacquie for her solo dance moves. Kelsey’s fingerprint is prominent in the two dance sequences; one with Jacquie and a group of four dancers (with Oluk as the lead), and another with a substantially larger group of dancers. Kelsey worked with the Director Aurelien to execute the vision he and Jacquie had for the video. She focused rehearsals on timing to ensure the dancers were hitting the choreography the right way. On set, she helped create the concert dance scenes by translating Aurelien’s vision into tangible movements and expression that the dancers would be able to embody. Kelsey relishes the opportunity noting, “The main thing as a dance captain is making sure everyone else is upholding the artistic vision of the choreography. It’s fun to do on a set because you have video playback, which really helps you to see what needs to be addressed.”
The Balconies 2016 “Money, Money” video is part of the concept album “RHONDA”, a story about a girl struggling in a post-modern world to create truthful art. The video uses flash imagery and fast editing to tell the story of Queen Jesus, the masked woman who masterminds this false world. With a group of fifteen dancers, Rhonda (Jacquie) tries to break free from the hold of Queen Jesus. Once again, Oluk appeared as the lead dancer and worked behind the scenes as the dance captain with a group of highly skilled dancers to manifest the vision of the piece.
The Feist “1234” video which Oluk appeared in has more than 11 million views on YouTube, was used for an Apple iPod Nano commercial, was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Short Form Music Video, and was ranked #2 on Blenders top music videos. In terms of music videos in the modern era, it doesn’t get much bigger. Incredibly, “1234” is a single take music video starring Toronto's best contemporary dancers. The video was shot over the course of a thirteen-hour day and was filmed with a hydrascope telescopic camera crane to match the choreography. The Music video is a mastery of synchronization of technology and art, the mixing of highly technical cinematography, and perfectly executed choreography. The end result is a bright, colorful video, with the dancers as the center piece. The use of contemporary dance by Oluk in the approach to this video gives credence to the notion that a variety of musical styles are amenable to its use, traditional or modern.
It’s likely that one of the reasons Kelsey Oluk is so sought after by the artists and creators of music videos is that she sees a blurred line between the arts, something which she exhibits in her own career approaching acting and dance. The artistic community and mindset is all encompassing to this professional, which is the true artist’s temperament. She relates, “I think it’s a matter of sharing points of view and having great respect for each other as artists that has makes a relationship so beneficial. I truly believe in the artists I work with like the Balconies, Feist, and others. I’m consistently blown away by the talent they possess. We also share similar aesthetics, and I’m always on board with their ideas and visions. I find this collaboration works really well because it’s a very natural give and take. The goal is always to create the best end result, so we’re never battling over ideas; it’s just how do we make the best, most interesting thing we can. I try to give my everything to a project when I’m working on it, devoting my entire self to it. I never want to do a job halfway.”