Jessica Holty has been with Arthur Murray Dance Schools for just over 15 years and started in the Southern California region as an instructor after seeing a newspaper ad for Arthur Murray. She has since grown in her dancing through out the years becoming certified in multiple levels, and then achieving her Master’s and eventually completing her Certified Examiners Test. She travels the world working with students and other Arthur Murray Professionals in developing their dancing so that they can reach the next level in their journey. Jessica doesn’t have a favorite dance that she likes to teach or dance to – she’s very music oriented, if she loves the music, she loves dancing to it.
Read on below to learn more about your judge, Jessica “The Bolt” Holty!
How did you get started with Arthur Murray?
In college I took a social dance class and they did like swing, and waltz, and salsa and I kind of fell in love with it. And so they had a rec center that taught some classes, an ex Arthur Murray Instructor taught there. So I took all of his classes, and then I took them again, and again, and then I became a leader and then again and again. I was working at Circuit City and kind of hated my job so I saw an ad in the newspaper for a Dance Instructor position with the local Arthur Murray, and I went in for an interview, and boom, that was it. History.
How has dancing changed your life?
I think that in general it just gave me such a fun career to be in, because I always loved to dance, but I didn’t think there was any way that I could do it as a living long term because I didn’t start dancing ballet as a kid or anything like that. It gave me an opportunity to do something that really inspires me that I love as a career for the rest of my life which is really special to me.
If you weren’t an Arthur Murray Coach, what would your job be?
I always wanted to be on Broadway – that was actually one of my original ambitions was to be on Broadway. I’d have probably ended up in New York and make a run for that so let’s just say that I’d be on Broadway.
What’s your favorite dance memory?
I think that the day I finished my certified examiners test. That was really a big day for me – it made me feel like a lot of accomplishment after all the hard work I had put in over so many years. For those that don’t know what a Certified Examiner’s Test is, it’s the point where you’ve done all of your certifications as an Arthur Murray Instructor, Bronze, Silver, Gold, all through the levels, Master’s exams – so it’s like the final examination to be able to judge at competition. It’s basically a culmination of a billion other tests and years and years of hard work all piled into one.
How would you describe your job as a traveling consultant?
I think that it’s basically that I’m just a dance teacher but my studio is ALL the studios. It’s a lot of fun because I get to do what I love and pass along dance knowledge that I’ve attained over the years from other people and sources and I’m a huge dance nerd so I love doing that. I love telling people all the cool things about dancing. And – I just get to spread it to a much wider audience which is very cool for me, it really inspires me to be able to have people from all over the Arthur Murray world to teach instead of just one studio.
What do you get asked to coach on more than anything else?
I think it’s really evenly spread across the board. I think I get asked to do a little bit of everything which is fun for me. I don’t think that there is anything that stands out that I get asked to do more of over anything.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve ever encountered as a teacher / coach?
I think that the biggest challenge as a teacher is just not getting burnt out and continuing to inspire yourself. You inspire people all day long every day to be better dancers and have more fun in their life, but I think at some point it’s hard not to get kinda stuck in a rut once you get pretty good at what you’re doing so I think that that’s always been challenging as to keep learning, to keep doing things that inspire me as a dancer so that I don’t get stuck in that rut.
What’s your favorite thing about your job?
I think that the creativity and the challenge of it is very fun for me. I get to walk into whatever studio every day and I don’t know exactly what’s going to be on the schedule – I just show up and they give me a schedule and I just do it! Sometimes it’s a lot of creative thinking and you have to be really thinking on your toes constantly because it’s all different levels of people, different dances, different challenges. You have everyone that have been dancing for 30 years that are really good at it, to people who just got into a horrific car accident and can barely walk. You have to figure out how to make the best impact on their dancing in that one session right then and there on the spot; that is a challenge but I enjoy the challenge because it exercises my creativity.
What new dances are trending right now?
I think that Bachata is huge – it’s really growing. You’ve also got the smaller ones that are starting to pop up like zouk, and there’s a little bit of kizomba that’s starting to creep in the scene, it’s kind of like a freestyle merengue. There’s a lot of little dances that are kind of sneaking up here and there so you don’t know which ones are going to win and stick around long term. But Bachata is the biggest one right now that’s becoming VERY popular.
What the most important thing to learn to be a good dancer?
I think the fundamentals are everything in dancing. If you want to be a good dancer, the better your fundamentals are, the better dancer you’re going to be. It doesn’t matter how many patterns you know, if you don’t dance them well then you’re not going to be fun to dance with. So to be a really good dancer, you have to continually progress in your fundamental knowledge in your dancing such as posture, footwork, leading and following – those things that are so basic – that’s what makes a good dancer is the better their basics are.
ONE FINAL TIP!
Always keep pushing yourself and trying new things and doing new things. It’s very easy the longer you’ve been dancing to kind of get stuck in the “this is how I do it, this is what I do, these are the events that I do, these are the dances that I do”. I think it’s always really good to continually try new things. As a newer student – the same holds true because you don’t really know what’s out there yet so if you’re not trying new things and doing things that challenge you, or that you wouldn’t expect you’d enjoy, you wouldn’t know if you really love them or not. It’s always important to do things that don’t seem like they would be your thing and just test them out because you never know what might be your thing or inspire you to greater heights with your dancing and your enjoyment of dancing.
Make sure to check back in when a new coach is in town to learn more about them!