Dancing with life

Written by Kerrie Alexander

At just 13 years old Jeanette Jordan had opportunities at her feet that most teenagers could only dream of.

The Hervey Bay dancer devoted herself to training in the hopes of being chosen to represent Australia at the World Championships of Performing Arts in Los Angeles.

In 2011, this selection is what put her success story in motion.

From the get-go a young Jeanette, who was born in the Philippines, was addicted to dancing in front of the TV to music and watching dance movies.

Her parents knew those moves were something special and encouraged their daughter to attend dance lessons.

After moving to Australia in 2004, Jeanette incorporated gymnastics into her routine coached by Stacey Van Der Wegan and became a star pupil at Hervey Bay’s Sparks Dance Centre under the watchful eye of owner Tina Sparks and mentor Keri McInerney.

It was here where she spent most of her time training in every kind of discipline including jazz, lyrical, contemporary, musical theatre, hip hop, acrobatics and ballet.

“Once Sparks DC opened that’s when my career really started; Tina has been a big help,” Jeanette said.

“I was still so young when I was chosen to go to the championships and I won all these awards, started to get agent deals in America and a scholarship at Millennium Dance Complex. It was just crazy yet eye- opening.

“Because I was still so young, unfortunately I didn’t take the scholarship but that’s okay, I knew bigger things were coming.”

It was clear to Jeanette that a career as a professional dancer, acrobat and aerialist was what she wanted and dedicated her life too.

Her parents took her to several workshops and opportunities around Australia while also completing high school four days a week at Xavier Catholic College and dance training at least 30 hours a week.
“Mum and dad have been amazing since day one and I am so grateful for them.

“They have always been big believers in going for your dream and making sure it happens.”

Jeanette danced, went to school, became an assistant teacher at Sparks and completed her Certificate 3 in Dance.

“Tina’s training was very elite, and she was such a great support.”

Tina believes it’s imperative to mentor students to choose the best career path, while also looking after their mental health and well-being.

Jeanette is a testament to that training.

“We are all so very proud of her,” Tina said.

“Jeanette’s career has only just begun, and she has achieved so much and is working hard to make every moment count.

“We can’t wait to see where her career takes her next.”

Jeanette’s next great move was relocating to the Gold Coast to train at Dynamite Studios for a year of full time and complete her certifications while also performing in her first ever musical, Miss Saigon.

At the end of that year Jeanette, who is also a fantastic singer taught by her vocal coach Twila Whittingham, landed her first international contract in Singapore with Nickelodeon followed by a 13-month contract at a theme park in Dubai, being a dancer and stunt performer in the much- loved hit production of Step Up LIVE!

“We opened a brand-new theme park and did the Step Up show, creating with the choreographer that worked with Channing Tatum.

“It was incredible to open that production.”

Jeanette was in high demand both internationally and in Australia where she travelled back and forth to various contracts, choreographing and teaching at studios all around the world.

The fierce and versatile dancer has performed as a cheerleader for the NBL’s Brisbane Bullets, worked on Disney Cruise Lines, Holland America Lines and most recently MSC Cruises.

Being a main stage performer in dream shows like Aladdin the Musical, Frozen and Believe are amongst some career highlights.

“That was a very special time for me,” Jeanette said.

“Dancing for Disney was a dream of mine so getting to dance those shows was very special.
“You have Mickey as your boss… how can you go wrong,” she said with a laugh.

“I feel free when I’m on stage. I can really express myself and showcase who I am and what I can do and it’s so rewarding when you see the audience smiling back at you.”

“I know I am fulfilling my role to make them happy and be entertained.” Jeanette was on the last day of this contract when Covid-19 was declared a pandemic and borders started to close.

It was time to head home.

“We were the first batch of people to do two weeks of home quarantine in Australia.

“It was a scary time. We didn’t know how long everything was going to be closed for, the cruise industry shut down and we couldn’t even do live theatre.

“I was home for too long and got itchy feet. I had to get back overseas.”

An offer from Motiongate in Dubai saw Jeanette get back to work on the Step Up LIVE stage show once again.

This is where she met the love of her life and acrobat aerialist – Sergio!

“We started working and training together doing Aerial performances and we just hit it off.

“We did that for six months and came back to Australia to go back on the cruise ships.

“We now currently do duo acts together so we’re kind of a package deal now.

“I am very lucky that I am doing this with my partner now.

“We are trying to create our own acts and perform as a couple only. “They say we’re a power couple,” she said with a laugh.

Jeanette’s career has taken her to almost every country in the world. She has met some life-long friends and experienced a myriad of different cultures.

“I just love it! It’s great waking up to a new place every morning and the people you meet too are so wonderful.

“I get paid to do what I love… travelling and dancing!”

It does, however, come with sacrifices.

“It’s so great to have these contracts and I love the life but sometimes you do miss big events.

“You’re not home for Christmas, birthdays and friend’s weddings. My brother and his partner just had a baby and I wasn’t there for that.

“I am very lucky that I am doing this with my partner now though. He’s a great support and makes it that bit easier to be away.”

Jeanette’s advice to aspiring artists is to work hard and don’t give up on your dreams.

Every time you get a ‘no’ be sure to get back up and fight harder for the first ‘yes’.

“Being a dancer, there are so many ‘no’s’ before you get that ‘yes’.

“You need to have thick skin in this industry and the drive to get yourself to your dream.

“At the start I did so many cruise ship auditions and they said we love your style and look but you’re too short. I couldn’t do anything about my height,” she said with a laugh.

“That used to get me down but once I changed my mindset and just kept going and kept training, eventually I got that ‘yes!’.

“Ever since the Dubai contract the work has been consistent and often comes from recommendations.

“Not only is it just about getting your name out there but also being consistent within yourself, your training and finding new inspirations.”

Like and follow Jeanette on Instagram, Facebook and http://www.jeanettejoffical.com