Dancing Her Art Out
OKC Ballet Dancer Paints En Pointe
It all starts with a blank canvas, paint and pointe shoes. What happens next has captivated 3.1M followers on TikTok, 125K on Instagram and countless patrons of the Oklahoma City Ballet. They all want to see what Autumn Klein will create next.
When Autumn’s parents enrolled their tip-toeing two-year-old in ballet as an outlet for her energy, they never predicted it would become her passion, profession, and one-of-a-kind painting process. While Autumn’s already-famous artwork took form just this year, her dance dates back much farther.
“When I was 9 years old, I saw the Houston Ballet perform Dracula and I was hooked,” Autumn said. She later auditioned and joined the Houston Ballet before moving to Edmond and joining the Oklahoma City Ballet in 2012.
The inspiration to paint on pointe struck during the pandemic.
“I thought of it over the lockdown,” Autumn explained, “The idea continued brewing until May of this year.”
For her first piece, Autumn dipped a tentative toe in random colors and danced across the canvas to her own choreography. She had an audience in an instant.
“I was shocked by the response,” she said. “People were asking for prints of that first piece. So I decided to pursue this form of painting for real.” Armed with new canvases, carefully selected paints and choreography from her role as Carabosse in Sleeping Beauty, Autumn danced until an entire ballet piece was reflected across the canvas.
Her artwork has been featured on Buzzfeed, and opened the door for Autumn to dance alongside one of ballet’s big names. “One of the most fun experiences I’ve had so far was to paint Swan Lake with New York City Ballet dancer, Tiler Peck,” Autumn said. Their beautiful collaboration can be seen on Autumn’s Instagram.
Not only has the process mesmerized millions, it is making a measurable difference in the world. In addition to selling original works and their prints, Autumn donates much of her work and is currently creating a piece to benefit a homeless shelter in Houston, Texas.
“I was also able to make a piece for the Osage Ballet to use as an auction item,” Autumn said. “I love that it will ultimately help tell the story of the Osage people through ballet.” Autumn hopes her work will inspire others to appreciate ballet and the stories it can tell.
“I want to keep painting to tell all the big stories of ballet that people often don’t know exist,” she said. “I push myself in the studio every day to become better. I love the journey and I want to keep exploring it.”
While she remains passionate about dance, Autumn describes her artwork as an even deeper form of creative expression. “In the dance world, I am usually following careful instructions and choreography,” Autumn explained. “But with my artwork, I have total creative freedom. I am in charge of the ideas and execution – it is all coming from me.”
Reflecting on her transformation from a toddler in a tutu into a TikTok star, Autumn says she can’t wait to see where it will take her next. “My advice is to take chances,” Autumn said. “Success is a marathon, so don’t get hung up on where you are today. Keep pushing, and you’ll go farther than you expect.”
Keep up with Autumn’s creativity on TikTok @autumnsklein and Instagram @thepointepainter. You can also visit her website www.autumnsklein.com, or catch her performing with the Oklahoma City Ballet.