Remembering MCB School Days – Jessica

Post by Jessica Shults

I look back on my MCB School days with the fondest of memories, and a huge amount of gratitude for the wonderful growth and opportunity I was allowed to experience there. I joined the School in its inaugural year. I was 11 and had just been dancing in Boston over the summer with my aunt. She was also a dancer who actually had performed on the Boston Ballet stage with Edward Villella in her youth. She told me that “Eddie Villella was opening a company school and that I had to go there”- so I did.

Jessica Shults as a MCB School student.

We were still in the MCB studios on Lincoln Road back then and I loved every moment! We would take classes with the Lincoln Road crowd staring in and then finish up the day by running over to Granny Feel Goods or the Cuban Café on the corner for eats. I have always said that the very best part of the School was being able to study alongside the Company. I would peek into the doorway everyday and watch Company rehearsals or Edward teaching class. I gained so much by just observing and I also figured out pretty fast that there wasn’t anything more that I wanted to do than dance with those incredible dancers and work for that amazing, charismatic director. When I was just 16 I auditioned for the Company. My teachers told me to go for practice so that I would be ready for the real thing the following year when I graduated. Soon after the audition I was called into Edward’s office and asked to join the Company on tour to the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta! I left his office trembling, went downstairs to my friends, and broke down in tears. They thought something was wrong but I was just so overwhelmed with happiness and excitement! The following year I finished my senior year dancing with the Company as an apprentice and continued on to dance for the next 10 years with those very dancers and director that I had admired so much. I am so honored to have had all the opportunities that both the School and the Company provided for me and grateful to both Edward and Linda for their commitment to building such a fine and exceptional arts organization here in Miami, my home.

Jessica Shults © Lucrecia Diaz

Jessica continues to be part of the Miami City Ballet family as a member of MCB’s Upper Room — the Company’s young professionals group.

The 2012 Student Showcase is May 18-20! Click here for more information.