A ‘behind-the-screen’ look at BYU student social media influencer Kaeli Dance

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Kaeli Dance takes a selfie. She creates content for Instagram and TikTok. (Photo courtesy of Kaeli Dance)
Kaeli Dance poses in the city. Dance is a social media influencer on platforms like Instagram and TikTok. (Photo courtesy of Kaeli Dance)

Kaeli Dance, a young social media influencer, uses her platform to connect to a vast audience. Hailing from Seattle, Dance has a following of 39,000 on Instagram and 43,700 on TikTok.

In 2005, it was reported only 5% of adults in the U.S. had social media platforms. Fast forward to the present day and that statistic has soared to approximately 70%, according to American Psychology Association.

This surge in social media usage has paved the way for a new breed of digital influencers — figures like Dance.

Dance’s social media journey began at the age of 12 when she saw an Old Spice commercial, which sparked her desire to create her own parody about why girls should date her brothers. This initial idea sparked a passion for video editing, which became a significant part of her life. 

“This was my first time being in front of a camera and planning a skit. Even at 12 years old I felt myself enter a flow state while creating and knew I loved the process,” Dance said.

Dance, as described by her friend Cailee Crossley, is known for being full of life.

“When you’re with her you feel ready to go and enjoy the time you have on this earth,” Crossley said. 

Dance pushed herself to earn a Bachelor of Arts in dance despite starting later than her peers. The turning point in her social media career came in 2022 through a dance-inspired Spider-Man skit that gained over 1 million views. This fueled Dance’s niche, posting regular dance videos. 

Kaeli Dance “Finding MJ for Peter 3” video in her Spiderman series. It is one of her more popular videos. (@dancekae via TikTok)
Kaeli Dance “Tobey gives a pep talk” video in her Spiderman series. It is one of her more popular videos. (@dancekae via TikTok)

After a brief hiatus from TikTok, Kaeli explored careers in social media management for different companies. However, during this period she endured personal hardship that led her on a journey of self-discovery.

“I asked myself what activities would make me feel like ‘me’ again. I knew that planning skits, dancing, filming and editing videos would help me feel grounded,” Dance said. 

This time of self-reflection led her to explore diverse content creation that resonated with a wider audience. She happened upon a K-pop video with Jungkook from BTS, featuring the song, “Standing Next to You.”

Dance loved the song and album so she decided to make a video, which gained 4.9 million views on Instagram. This increased her follower count to 43,000 on TikTok.

@dancekae

Jungkook will you be mine. Please recommend more songs with similar vibes #jungkook #3D #jungkook3d #kpop #bts #bookboyfriend

♬ original sound – Kaeli Dance
Kaeli Dance becomes imbedded in the K-Pop world. This became one of her most popular videos on her platform. (@dancekae via TikTok)

According to Dance, her trajectory of success has soared to new heights and is full of exhilarating moments. She shared the adrenaline rush of Taylor Swift liking one of her videos, and the sense of accomplishment being compensated by TikTok for her 10,000-strong following.

She said a challenge she has faced is the amount of hate she receives online. 

“In one video, I had over 1,000 comments about how cringe and disgusting I was. I’ve gotten a death threat, I’ve been called disgusting, ugly and immature,” Dance said.

According to Dance, there are four remedies that help her handle the harsh words brought by individuals hiding behind screens: 

  1. She tries to stay grounded in real life by being present. Kaeli refers to this as “touching grass” or “scrubbing toilets.” 
  2. She avoids looking at comments once a video reaches 5000 views. 
  3. If she comes across a hate comment she remembers that most individuals are hiding behind an empty profile picture, or are in middle school. Their opinions don’t matter to her. 
  4. She talks through her frustrations with those closest to her. 

Alivia Galvez, one of Dance’s friends and former roommate, emphasized her admiration for how Dance has gracefully navigated the challenges of negativity and personal attacks.

“I’ve been really impressed because I think I honestly would’ve quit if people were being really hateful. She hasn’t responded back with any hate of her own. She’s been very kind and respectful,” Galvez said. 

According to Galvez, what draws followers to Dance is her relatable nature.

“She’s very genuine. How she appears online is exactly how she appears in person as well,” Galvez said. 

Dance has officially named her followers “Kaedancers.” She announced that being a “Kaedancer” means discovering your passion, working diligently toward it and proudly expressing your excitement. 

“I think the world has made ‘not trying’ look really cool. I don’t think that’s cool,” Dance said. “I think being passionate and putting in effort in life is cool.”

Kaeli Dance can be found sharing her insights and creativity on platforms like TikTok and Instagram.

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