HTW | Jessica Stokes

To ‘inspire’ is probably Jessica Stokes’ main reasoning behind creating her new workshop program SCENE Co.  Wanting to give back to the up and coming generation of the industry and focusing on all genres including; dance, singing, acting & film, audition/ Casting Prep to build up the confidence and bring out that inner TRIPLE THREAT.
Bringing to you some of the hottest choreographers and mentors back into the studio, sharing their love and passion for the arts and mentoring the students bringing out their very best in a fun and friendly environment.
This is what is driving Jessica into 2017 and just some of what DanceLife spoke to her about recently…
Interviewed by Nikita Liddell

Q: What have you been up to over the past 12 months?

“Doing a lot of commercial work and a lot of teaching … I wanted to start my own workshop program, I’ve always been really passionate about giving back to the younger generation and it’s what I’ve been focusing on for the past year… I just wanted to start my own business up and build something along more of acting, singing and dancing as opposed to just focusing on the dancing aspect of it because even working a lot more as a dancer I just feel that because there’s not a lot of solid dancing work, kids really do have to train everything so they are working consistently in the performing arts industry! Otherwise they end up quitting… I just feel like if you want to be consistent you need to train everything.
Q: Who or what has helped shape the person you are now?
“A lot of the people that I work with I feel I look up to… Marko Panzic was probably the first person that gave me my first job in Sydney as a working dancer and I’ve really looked up to him my whole life… I really love what he believes in!
“Amy Dell, Michael Boyd, The Squared Division boys and there is also really business like people that I look up to as well. Growing up I guess I really looked up to the Gene Kelly’s’ and the Judy Garland’s and that’s why I feel really strong about singing, dancing and acting! They used to do it all and I feel like that doesn’t kind of happen anymore. So that’s what I grew up with and that’s what I’ve always had in my mind of wanting to do one day. That’s kind of what I want to bring into a workshop program just so kids are really pushing all those areas.”
Q: What’s one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
“Growing up I was that kid that kind of did everything, I had my Asian mother and she put me into piano when I was 4, I played the saxophone, the clarinet, I played the drums. I used to do swim training and swim with Olympian swimmers, we used to be up early in the morning to start swim training, then do cross country training before school and then go to dancing from every night! I used to do ballroom dancing, I used to own a pony and I’m an only child! I think that’s it!”
Q: What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
“To just live out of the box, I feel like when I first moved to Sydney everyone really likes to put you in a box and then when I moved to London, I didn’t realize that you could actually do more than one thing! I felt like everyone in London was a model and a singer and they would work in a creative advertisement place! They were doing so many different projects at once! But when I was living in Australia I felt like I was the dancer and I could only concentrate on one thing.
“I feel like my best advice is to really just open up your horizons and if there is something you’re passionate about, do it! And then turn yourself into an entrepreneur and you can do all these different things, you don’t have to focus so hard on one thing and feel like a failure if you don’t make it… just live outside the box, its really easy to be closed minded here and I just feel people can really do a lot more with their life… and live overseas that’s another thing! Go be inspired by so many creative people and figure out who you are!”
Q: You’ve just launched Scene Co.! Can you tell DanceLife Australia readers about it and how it came to be?
“Scene Co. came about because I’ve been teaching so much I feel like teaching in different studios I only get to teach one thing! I get so passionate about kids being able to do everything and I remember growing up as a kid loving to be inspired by all these different teachers and people from the industry and that was really the highlight of my year! I would go back refreshed and I would go back to classes and really push myself more and try and open up the way I thought about just one thing… I just wanted to be able to give back to kids and really try and bring up the up and coming generation and really just try and build their confidence in everything instead of just focusing on one thing. It’s more to just inspire the up and coming generation! That’s the main idea of it really!”
Q: How is the rest of 2017 looking for you?
“I live day by day, this year I’m really trying to push Scene Co. I really want to try and build that into something, that’s my main priority! I’m going to start getting back into my singing and writing again, that’s another priority of mine and just see what happens. It feels like a really good year!”

This January Scene Co. will be launching Their very FIRST performing arts workshop in North Sydney, with an amazing line up of teachers you won’t want to miss! The workshop is held over 2x days (25th & 27th of January 2017) and will be held at Industry Performing Arts, Hornsby.
Start the year off on the right foot and come and be INSPIRED, working with some of Australia’s working professionals from the Industry. Don’t be afraid to be the very best Performer you can be this year and release that inner TRIPLE THREAT!

Jess has been working and teaching in the commercial industry for the past 10 years. Sharing and giving back her passion for the performing arts industry to our up and coming generation has been a big part of her career.

Working along side of artists such as Kylie Minogue, PINK, Jessica Mauboy, Rikki Lee, Havana Brown, The Veronicas, Zara Laarson, Natalie Bassingthwaite, Luciana and many more.
She landed top 6 finalists in Australia’s top TV hit series – season 3 “So You Think You Can Dance” and has worked her way through every leading TV network this country has to offer.
Not only having such a strong dancing background, Jess has also had a great love for her music/singing and song writing. Performing throughout some of Sydney’s hottest events and nightspots, she has been working with European songwriters and creating music for the past 2 years of her career.
Being able to create a program for the young generation of our Industry has been an ultimate dream and is passionate about building the confidence and bring out the inner TRIPLE THREAT to those young pre-professional artists.