Kelly Brunk is a dance educator, choreographer, and-oddly enough, a pharmacist. He began studying dance at the age of five, receiving most of his early training at Priscilla and Dana's School of Dance and the Kansas City Ballet School. In 2008, Brunk graduated with honors from New York University Tisch School of the Arts with a B.F.A. in Dance and a minor in Pre-Business. During his time at Tisch, Brunk studied abroad at the Salzburg Experimental Academy of Dance in Salzburg, Austria, where he performed repertoire by world-renowned choreographer William Forsythe.
Brunk joined GroundWorks Dance Theater in 2008 under the direction of David Shimotakahara. During his time with GroundWorks, he performed works by Lynne Taylor-Corbett, Gina Gibney, David Parker, Keely Garfield, Amy Miller, KT Neihoff, and Diane McIntyre. He also danced a leading role in A Soldier’s Tale with Catch and Release, a collaboration with the Cleveland Orchestra and the Cleveland Playhouse. In 2010, Brunk joined River North Dance Chicago under the direction of Frank Chaves. During his tenure with River North, he toured extensively throughout Europe, the United States, and Asia; dancing works by Daniel Ezralow, Sidra Bell, Kevin Iega Jeff, Sherry Zucker, and international tango superstars Sabrina and Ruben Veliz. In addition to being a company dancer, Brunk worked as an arts administrative intern, on-tour manager, and company class teacher.
Brunk has performed as a guest artist with many companies, including Cherylyn Lavagnino Dance, Doug Elkins and Friends, Freemove Dance, and Heartlines Dance Company. He also danced as a videogame avatar in Country Dance 2 for Wii. Brunk has been involved with many philanthropic dance events for HIV/AIDS and cancer, including Chicago's Dance for Life and Chicago Takes Off.
In 2013, Brunk moved back to Kansas City and furthered his passion for teaching. He became a company ballet class teacher for Kansas City's Quixotic, a contemporary ariel and circus arts company, and began teaching and choreographing at many dance studios and workshops throughout the United States, including Between The Lines, Broadway Dance Center, Defy Dance Project, and WinterMove. In 2017, Brunk assumed a faculty role with Revive and Adrenaline Dance Conventions, where he continues to teach ballet and injury prevention classes. His classes aim to engage the dancer's body and brain through a fundamental understanding of kinesiology and anatomy. Brunk believes that class time must allow for conscientious curiosity and that dancers should embody the mantra: "there's no growth in comfort and no comfort in growth."
In 2018, Brunk received a Pharm.D. with distinction from the University of Kansas School of Pharmacy. He then completed post-graduate residencies at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia and the University of North Carolina Medical Center in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. When he is not teaching dance, he is a clinical oncology pharmacist at the University of Kansas Health System and an adjunct faculty member at both the University of Kansas and the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Dr. Brunk is incredibly thankful for the love and support of his family and friends.