Jodie Jackson (30) started dancing at the age of three at Cafda School of Dance, where she won her first Eisteddfod at the age of five. After 10 years of training at Cafda, she moved studios and went to the Brigitte Reeve Dance Centre, where she spent two years training in Modern-Jazz & Contemporary. The Brigitte Reeve Dance Centre is where Jodie fell in love with HipHop and in those two years had the opportunity to be part of the ICC Cricket World Cup opening as well as being a WP Stormers cheerleader, for about six games. In 2009 she stood in as a teacher at Cafda and got the opportunity to do some choreography for one of their show pieces. She then started teaching a couple of open classes at The Dance Project in 2010 where she also then started taking classes herself.
Whilst teaching a class one evening, she popped her knee out and sprained her ankle. This was a huge blow to Jodie as she was just getting back into dancing again and also starting her teaching career. During, that same year her contract at the corporate she was working at ended. It was at that point that she decided to keep going and pursue her passion and open a Centre in Lotus River as a safe haven for the children from the community, to be able to come to and feel safe and have something to do after school, instead of roaming the streets.
In February 2011 she opened the Jodie Jackson Dance Centre and has never looked back. Her community based dance centre, with pupils from across all races, caters to the Lotus River and surrounding communities. The main aim of the centre is to provide opportunities for less privileged children in the communities and to keep them occupied while knowing that there are alternative options to life on the street. It also helps the dance students become more self confident and lets them know that with the correct attitude and guidance, their dreams can become a reality. Some of the pupils come from homes or lives where family members are drug dependent or there is no father or mother around to guide them in the right direction. In an area where drug-use and gangsterism are rife, the centre provides the opportunity in giving kids a positive place where they can be themselves and express whatever they are feeling through dance in a disciplined and respectful manner, rather than filling that void with the former. It also teaches them valuable life skills like perseverance and that with hard work and determination, anything is possible. Jodie openly admits that she is still growing as a dancer as well as a teacher and feels extremely grateful to be able to call this her job. To her, it never feels like a job because she is so passionate about what she does.
“When it comes to injury, dancers rehearse so much whether it’s for a show, competition , exams or just their usual training. Dancing bodies get tired and muscles ache. Because they are always rehearsing, sometimes up to four or five hours a day, their bodies don’t always get enough time to rest in between and they sometimes end up with injuries that take longer to heal because they push through to get the work done. As a dancer, the most common injuries that I’ve incurred are back injuries, knee injuries and ankle sprains.”
Generally, dancers find it difficult to stop due to an injury as that sets them back a few classes and as a result, they may miss out on opportunities which are rare, so they want to keep going . As an instructor, Jodie always maintains that a dancer’s body needs to be taken care of first and she sends dancers to physiotherapists or ensures that the injury is treated immediately.
Jodie has grown and achieved more than expected in the past few years and is dedicated to serving her community. For her, it doesn’t matter what the circumstances are, if you have the passion, dedication and support, anything is possible.
Keep Going Jodie!