PITTSBURG — Jenna Housman will soon be twirling back to the Pittsburg Family YMCA as the new Y Academy of Dance director.
Housman started dancing with the Y Academy of Dance in 2004, until she graduated Pittsburg High School in 2012. She was in the Junior Company, where she performed ballet, jazz and tap dancing.
“The Y has always been really close to my heart,” she said. “When I found out they were looking for a new director I jumped on it really quick.”
Housman said her dance teacher, past Y Academy of Dance Director Shelley Van Shaar helped her meet her goals and gave her a leg up on her dance career.
Shaar helped Housman get her first professional job in Branson when she was 11 in Dino’s Christmas Extravaganza, which she performed in for two Christmas seasons at the Lincoln Center in New York City and in Branson.
“She’s the reason why I got to perform in Branson,” Housman said. “She was just an amazing teacher and I hope to be just like her.”
Housman continued to dance in Branson and has performed and toured throughout the United States and Canada in Las Vegas, San Diego, New York, Orlando and more with The Magic of Rick Thomas from 2015 to 2018.
She has also choreographed across the midwest.
Over the years she’s received several titles: Talent on Parade Southern National Teen Champion, Talent on Parade Southern National Senior Champion, Miss Showbiz, Miss Elite Dance and Stage One National Champion. She also received special honors for both choreography and technical excellence, along with a scholarship to go to the GoPro workshop in Branson where she worked with choreographers from Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
Housman said there are many things she has been taught over the years: To never give up on her dreams, to prove people wrong when they say you’re not good enough and “as long as your heart and mind are set for that one goal, you will reach it.”
On Aug. 27, Housman will be back, this time as director.
“I look forward to seeing the growth of all the students and seeing their potential and helping them with whatever goals they may have,” she said.
YMCA Director Mike Moore said he looks forward to seeing what Housman brings to the academy.
“I think she will do a nice job,” he said.
— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP and Instagram @stephanie_morningsun.