Blog / Choreography / Dance

Stand Up For Art



I sat down to write this post and found myself browsing the internet instead.  I haven’t been inspired to write lately and I think it’s because I am so frustrated with the dance world right now. I’m being a little dramatic to categorize my feelings into the entire dance world but I think it boils down the the publics opinion on dance.  Thanks to youtube, instagram, and access to unlimited video, art is slowly fading away.  No one attends live performances anymore and reality TV stars have become more important than great thinkers and artists. I’m no internet bully hiding behind my computer. I respect and often times am impressed by the talent I see on shows like Dance Moms, SYTYCD, and Dancing With The Stars. Many close friends have participated on these shows and have had great success. I sit here to question the value of those shows. I’ve auditioned for SYTYCD and actually got through vegas week.  Its was hard but an amazing opportunity to be dancing along side americas best.  The only problem was that the producers and judges were only interested in my back story or if I could do cool tricks.  I stood there as a nervous 19 year old as the judges proceeded to tell me I lacked personality.  Am I not interesting enough as a dancer? What about as a human being? What about as an artist? Is art defined by the amount of turns I can do or how flexible I am? I certainly hope not because I won’t get very far if that’s the case.  Art is exploration, not perfection. Art is visual. Art is human expression.

You may be offended to hear this but little dancers on stage in chin stands and scorpions does nothing for my soul! Flips and tricks is old news guys.  Where is their room for real dancers in this industry? The world believes dance is about the wow factor and perfect dancer bodies.  It’s not.  It’s about pushing the boundaries of what’s been done and challenging our bodies past their limits. I wish the world could see what goes on in the studio and the magic that happens there. Why is it so hard for you to hire me without a famous name or TV show under my belt?  Is my talent enough? It’s sad that some of the most brilliant dancers I know are turned away SYTYCD or America’s Got Talent because they didn’t show off cool tricks on stage.  Boring! Or they didn’t have an inspiring enough back story.  That boggles my mind. Everyone has fought their own personal battles, large or small, let it be about dance! Because I’ve lived a “normal life” and have a normal girl body type I won’t make it in this business. I refuse to believe that. I stand up for art and my craft.  Its about time the rest of the world does too…




  • Olivia
    April 20, 2015 at 2:50 am

    I couldn’t agree more. So awesome to hear this from someone who’s actually been through SYTYCD. Dance is art!! not just competition!

    • jessie.james
      April 22, 2015 at 5:32 pm

      Thanks Olivia! It was quite an experience and I’m glad I had the opportunity to do so!

  • Angie H
    April 20, 2015 at 2:32 pm

    Thank you Jessie! I completely agree. I have watched you grow up dancing via the competition circuit and always thought you embodied the perfect dancer. You never forgot about the ART of dance! Thank you for expressing what I have always felt!

  • A dance mom
    April 20, 2015 at 6:24 pm

    AGREE 100%. While you find this in many of the “competition” studios its very sad to think that the “real” world has the same opinion. Everything ebbs and flows so will this, or at least I hope so!

    • jessie.james
      April 22, 2015 at 5:31 pm

      I hope it changes soon! Dance is so special to me and I don’t want it tainted anymore with reality TV!


Leave a Reply