Nikki Heckstall started her dance experience at the young age of 3 at the Bernice Johnson’s Cultural Arts Center in Queens, NY. Nikki started taking classes in Tap, Ballet and Interpretive dance. At the age of 9 years old, Nikki had auditioned and was chosen to take part of a children’s dance company based in Queens, Ny, named KECDE! (Kerri Edge Children’s Dance Ensemble). They performed many Alvin Ailey inspired numbers and performed throughout the Tri-State area. While participating in the company Nikki was able to perform in major dance competitions. One being Dance America in Orlando, receiving a chance to perform an African routine at Epcot Center as well as performing in Las Vegas, Nevada. While performing with KECDE! she was able to Travel to Amsterdam, Holland to perform for a dance festival. Nikki also attended KECDE!’s home studio Edge School of the Arts (ESOTA) where she was taught by teachers Bakari Wilder, Roger C. Jeffrey, and Brandon Ellis to name a few.
Nikki Heckstall attended High school at The Professional Performing Arts School in Manhattan, where she was a dance major. At P.P.A.S. she took all dance classes for 4 years at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. There she would study Tap, Ballet, Jazz, and Graham and Horton technique. She would learn under great artist such as Earl Mosley, Derrick Minter, Ninoska M’bewe Escobar, and Joan Peters. While attending High School Heckstall decided to audition for Harlem School of the Arts Pre-professional company “Renaissance II”, a company for aspiring dance professionals. Nikki received a full scholarship to attend and was placed in the company, under the guidance of now Rod Rogers Dance Company director, Kim Grier. At the Harlem School of the Arts, she learned under the guidance of Dimitri Povolotsky, Imani Faye.
Nikki then changed her dance career styles by auditioning and dancing back up for music artist. Her first back up dance gig was the Hip Hop and R&B artist Ashanti. Nikki not only toured with Ashanti but became her choreographer, Brice Vick’s assistant choreographer. She worked with Brice on many different choreography projects with artist such as Montana Tucker in Miami and developing artist as well at various dance conferences. Heckstall then decided to take her career one step further by becoming a backup dancer for artist including Lil Mama, Chris Brown, Mr. Cheeks and Bow wow etc.
Nikki began teaching dance classes when she was 17 years old and has been teaching for years since. She has taught children as young as three and has worked with dancers as old as 50. Nikki has taught and choreographed for many dance studios and for various artist. Heckstall has taught at studios in the New York City area as well as Long Island. Some studios she has taught at were TDH Cultural Arts Center Edge School of the Arts, Backstage Studio Dance, The Dance Hut. Nikki Heckstall has also worked in arts in education programs in the New York City Area with Companies like Jamel Gain’s Creative Outlet.