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        Kathy King, 27

        Founder and director, Michigan Dance Project and Brighton Dance Festival, Brighton

        Photo by Nathan Skid / Crain's Detroit Business Kathy King, 27, founder and director, Michigan Dance Project and Brighton Dance Festival, is one of the 20 in their 20s, class of 2013. She is shown here on Belle Isle.
        • Why she lives in metro Detroit: "The art community in Detroit is just phenomenal. There is so much talent, and I think it would be silly to just give up on it."
        • Claim to fame: Starting the Michigan Dance Project, a dance company based in Brighton, and the Brighton Dance Festival.
        • Next step: Planning more productions for the Michigan Dance Project and expanding the Brighton Dance Festival from one week to two weeks.

        Southeast Michigan might not be known for its dancing, but Kathy King is doing her part to change that.

        King and her family moved to Brighton from Chicago when she was in high school. When she turned 18, King left for Los Angeles to pursue a career as a professional dancer.

        A talent scholarship to Wayne State University lured her back, which led her to start the Michigan Dance Project in 2006 and Brighton Dance Festival in 2010 to create opportunities for dancers in the area to work professionally and demonstrate their talents.

        "For me the only option was I have to go to L.A., that's the only place you can go to dance, and I didn't even think that there could be other options here," King said. "There is a way to have a career, or even just to jumpstart your career, as a dancer here at home in Michigan."

        The Michigan Dance Project is a nonprofit professional dance company that puts on a different production every year. King holds auditions once a year and finds venues that will hold the productions. The company also presents workshops for the public.

        The Brighton Dance Festival is held every summer at the Brighton Center for the Performing Arts. Each year the proceeds from the weeklong festival get donated to the center, totaling more than $14,000 in its three seasons.

        King also teaches at Michelle's Academy of Dance in Brighton and is a part-time lecturer at Eastern Michigan University.

        "I have felt so much more successful and fulfilled and happy here than I think I ever would have in one of the bigger cities," King said.