She’s been dancing for nine years and recently joined the Corpus Christi Ballet company. Although she at first meeting is a little timid and shy, on stage it’s a different story.
“I get a little nervous, but when I’m on stage I’m a whole other person,” Jessica said.
Her mother, Linda Urquizo, added, “She is very shy and quiet, but when she steps on stage I see a whole different Jessica.
“It’s as if that person doesn’t exist. Then she gets off the stage, and she gets really shy again.”
And for Jessica, it’s something more than just a passing phase. When she talks about dancing in her soft, sweet voice, there’s a searing enthusiasm imbedded in her every word.
“It’s fun. It’s amazing,” Jessica said with a smile.
“Ever since I was little, I saw it on TV, and I kept telling my mom I wanted to do it so much.
“I want to keep doing it forever. I just really love to dance. That’s what I want to do.”
And it’s that passion that keeps her going through a gruelling routine of classes, rehearsals and performances.
She takes ballet, jazz, tap, lyrical and folklorico classes throughout the week, including classes and rehearsals that stretch for hours during the weekends.
And now that she’s gearing up for her second Corpus Christi Ballet production, this time a performance of “Cinderella,” she’s more than a little busy.
“She practices every day. It gets to the point to where my husband tells her, because we have wooden floors, to stop because all we hear is the ‘thump, thump, thump’,” Linda laughed.
Jessica added, “The first couple of weeks it takes a while to get it right. But then when we get close to the show, we actually get it.”
But most of the kids at school don’t really know of Jessica’s ambitions outside of class.
“They know she dances,” Linda said “but they don’t know the passion she has for it.
“It’s hard for us sometimes if they have to do shows. Like this Friday, they did an educational show for the kids. And they give us a written excuse, and we have to take it to the school and they say, ‘Really? You’re going to miss school for that?’”
But it’s an excused absence that comes from the higher-ups since it was for education. And it’s just one of the many obstacles a young dancer must face.
Linda said, “My husband and I really support her. We go wherever she goes. We take her wherever she needs to go. And we buy her whatever she needs.”
And every year, the Joffrey Ballet Company from Chicago has come down and done summer sessions. You have to audition and may be chosen to join only the one hundred dancers asked to attend their workshop.
“Last year and the year before, she was chosen to do the workshop for two weeks,” Linda said.
“And this year, for unseen reasons and because she’s really busy, we couldn’t go to this year’s audition.
“She was a little upset, but everyone auditions in January and February for summer sessions, and this year she’s not going.”
But that hasn’t dampened Jessica’s spirit.
Last year, she had a few small parts in the Nutcracker performance, and she’s already gearing up for auditions after “Cinderella” has ended.
“I’m going to keep going to class and keep trying to do my very best because I want to try again for the Nutcracker and get a bigger, better part,” Jessica said.
And in the not-too-distant future, Jessica may soon have one of the largest crowds ever as she climbs the steps ever higher that lead to the world stage.
Jessica added with a gleam in her eye, “I look at the audience, and sometimes I daydream off because I feel like I’m in a whole different world. Like I’m in that story.”
However, she’s been in that story all along.
Paul Gonzales is the entertainment writer at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 116, or at thescene@mySouTex.com.