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Interview with JCAL's Janora Blackman

During this time of uncertainty, JCAL has continued to provide art education and entertainment online via Youtube. Janora Blackman is one of several teaching artists holding a weekly class on our channel. We asked Janora a few questions about her career and her goals for the future.

1. How did you get into your art? What were some of your earliest influences?

I got into the arts at the early age of two. I come from a very artistic family and my parents realized at an early age my creative outlet was dance. Through out the years I excelled throughout company classes and studied many different styles of dance. (Ballet/pointe, modern, jazz, tap, African, hip hop, and world dance.) I was influenced mainly by my parents and my phenomenal teachers/mentors who helped push and motivate me into auditioning and teaching. Without their help and hard core training I would not have had all the many opportunities I was given throughout the years.

2. What are some things that make you unique/define you as an artist?

Some things that define me as an artist and make me unique is my background in various styles of dance and my ability to create on the spot no matter the concentration. Although at JCAL l I am known for my kids hip hop classes, I have extensive training in various concentrations and have trained under prestige dance companies, one being Martha Graham. Because of my wide range, I enjoy incorporating a little bit of everything into my choreography and showing my versatility.

3. What advice would you have for a young creative looking to take a similar path?

Some advice I would give to a young creative wanting to follow a similar path is never stop training. There is always something new to learn. Continue to explore and try new things even if it is out of your comfort zone. Being able to adapt to many art forms will broaden your opportunities and set you aside from the rest. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable and put your self out there!

Janora Blackman's JCAL dance class

4. What do you hope to accomplish through your art going forward?

Some things I wish to accomplish moving forward with my career is expanding my brand as a hip hop and heels instructor. Having the ability to tour and teach classes world wide and become a teacher/ director of dance within a performing arts high school or college.

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