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Judi Jaekel

UGOT Instructor

Judi Jaekel
New York, NY

It is every young dancers dream to ‘make it’ in the big apple. And for Judi Jaekel the aspiration is no exception. “Everything is in New York! I’ve always loved the city and it slowly became a dream of mine,” explains Judi. “I wanted the full experience of being a dancer and auditioning in the big apple.” The aspiring professional dancer felt she needed the experience and knowledge that she could make it as a dancer in the city that never sleeps. “I have been dancing since I was three and it’s always been my daydream!” Judi Jaekel’s daydream, meet reality.

Judi moved from Michigan to ‘New York, New York’ and hit the ground running. She has joined a modern dance company, Shawn Bible Dance Co. and has performed at ‘Dumbo Dance Festival’ and ‘Choked’ at Battery Park Dance Festival. “We were performing right beside the Statue of Liberty, overlooking the water, and I knew I had made it!”

She credits her technique and work ethic to her long-standing coach, her sister. “My sister is the one that started dance before I did. She is four years older than me and she was always my coach and teacher. She would correct me before the teacher would even get to critique me across the floor. My sister made me a better dancer,” says Judi. Today Judi’s sister, Jessica is a hairdresser and very proud of her baby sister accomplishments in the big smoke. It was those caring words of guidance and encouragement that made Judi first consider teaching.

“I’m a very hands on person and communicating with my body comes naturally to me,” explains Judi. Teaching was the next natural progression in her career. Today you can find Judi teaching dance classes for kids in New York with UGOT Active Kids. “To see a young child’s accomplishments and to experience the joy of dancing for the first time is incredible,” smiles Judi. “When you can see them grow from the beginning of the year to the end of the year is very rewarding.” Judi also teaches yoga classes for kids in New York and is always up for the challenge.

“I’ve worked with one child, who started out as a challenge. But by this year it’s like night and day. His face lights up when he sees me and he always runs to the front to learn the choreography or new move,” explains Judi. The professional dancer is humbled by their spirit and determination and it fuels her passion for dance and performance. “Seeing the spark in their eyes when they know they accomplished a step or a routine, it is very gratifying. It makes teaching completely worth it.” Just another day in the world of a dance teacher.

Interview by Hillary McCarrel

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