Kalli Walkinghawk is a theater/dance student at Mendocino College who has just been accepted into San Francisco State’s Fine Arts bachelor’s degree program. She also recently landed a role as an extra in the HBO special Sharp Objects. “My experience here at Mendocino College has been really great so far…I think all the teachers here at Mendocino College want to see me succeed.”
Kalli was born in Santa Rosa and is originally from Marin County near San Francisco. She and her two siblings were raised by her mother, who was single and struggled financially most of their childhood. Kalli is inspired by her mother and her ability to always keep moving forward regardless of the hardships she faces. She describes her mother as a kind and giving woman who “gives, gives, gives, and that’s all she does…she just loves her kids to death”.
Kalli has struggled to continue her education due to financial hardships, which is why she was so thrilled to win a scholarship from San Francisco State College of Liberal and Creative Arts for $1,000 as well as a scholarship from Mendocino College. The honors will relieve some of her financial stress and allow her to focus more on her education.
Kalli describes herself as a “very goofy, creative, girl who likes to make bird calls, I’m kind of shy and quiet and silly”. Kalli loves swimming, dance, IN-N-OUT burgers, and shakes, especially mint chocolate chip shakes! “Give me a burger and a milkshake and let me eat it outdoors”, she says, “and I will be a happy girl!” Staying fit and active is very important to Kalli and she finds that exercise is a good stress relief for her. She was even featured in a Gymboree book as a child. Kalli acknowledges dance and nature for keeping her balanced.
Kalli attended the San Francisco Ballet School for four years, but due to the high cost of living, she and her family moved to Lake County when she was sixteen. She continued taking dance classes at Kelseyville High School and in the summer of 2012, after her junior year, she attended a summer intensive, two-week program in Valencia called California State Summer School for the Arts. “This experience taught me how valuable dance is to me. I found that I was yearning for that same type of training that I received when attending San Francisco Ballet School.”
Kalli credits her Mendocino College fellow classmates, instructors, and counselors as her supporters that inspired her and instilled in her the desire to never give up on her dreams. She is very proud of her good grades and for the fact that she has made it this far in her education. In the future, after obtaining her bachelor’s degree, Kalli hopes to earn a Masters of Fine Arts Degree and pursue a career in teaching dance, specifically ballet, so that she can share her passion through teaching.
Kalli’s favorite quote is by Alonzo King, “Dance is the hidden language of the soul”. She describes dance as, “important to society and our culture…a way of communicating a story…there’s a lot you can portray”. Her advice for other students is, “When you think you want to give up, don’t give up…your hard work will be rewarded…as for aspiring dancers, practice every single day, keep practicing”.