Jackie began dancing, beginning with hip hop, at age 8 and danced consistently until age 18. At that time, she took a hiatus to explore other interests. While enrolled in a course for fashion at Seneca College she was accepted into the college’s varsity dance team. She loved being able to express her feelings through contemporary dance and to enjoy positive audience reactions through her hip hop and jazz performances.
Jackie credits her first ballet teacher with her obsession for dance. She felt that this teacher really saw her potential and worked with her to improve her technique, boost her confidence and strive for more.
The first time Jackie performed on stage before an audience was during an end-of-school assembly when she was 8 years old. She had never taken a dance class, but she was hooked by the audience’s cheers.
Jackie’s teaching career started by accident. Her role as her high school dance team’s captain gave her the opportunity to work with students. She immediately loved interacting with dancers because she had experience firsthand the benefits of having a mentor who genuinely cared about her development as both a dancer and a person. Her goal as a teacher continues to be that kind of mentor.
After a long break, Jackie was excited to return to the kind of welcoming dance community she had experienced when she was younger.
Jackie prefers teaching contemporary/lyrical, hip hop, and jazz. She loves the contemporary style for its vulnerability and the space it provides to feel one’s way through certain emotions. She is also drawn to hip hop and jazz for their ability to allow dancers to explore different movements, often in a more approachable manner than contemporary.
Jackie’s favourite memory as a teacher is the day a student decided to come out to her as queer. It had nothing to do with dance, but she was honoured that the student trusted her to handle such deeply personal information. It made her realize how important her role was in her students' lives.
Jackie expects students to come to class with an open mind and willingness to expand their existing skills and try new things. She understands that life can get crazy for everyone and sometimes one can get overwhelmed with big feelings. She aspires to lead with compassion and empathy while helping her students to refocus on their dancing. She makes every effort to give her students the space to be their most authentic selves.
Jackie finds the Pre-Dancers to be a challenging group with which to work. They require her to think fast on her feet and continually come up with ways to keep them engaged throughout the class. Intermediates can be like that as well. It can be tricky for a teacher to find the right balance between challenging and inspiring/motivating students. She enjoys the familiarity of working with senior dancers; that is where her teaching career began. Senior dancers always seem to be ready to learn and dive deep into the challenges presented in the classes.
After her absence from teaching for a period, Jackie is relearning how to manage a classroom full of high energy students. She is both excited and challenged by this aspect of her role. In terms of her own professional development, Jackie wants to improve herself and expand the knowledge she brings to her classes. She feels this involves her continuing to be a student of dance as well as developing her skills as a leader/teacher of dance.
Jackie is very excited to continue her journey at Just Dance Northumberland as the Costume Coordinator and the coach of the new Elite Performance Team. Working with dancers has always brought her joy. She hopes that the dancers and parents can feel her passion and her desire to provide them with the best experience possible.