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The City Journals

Jessica Goodrich loves to dance as artist of the month

Apr 09, 2018 11:04AM ● By Holly Vasic

Jessica Goodrich leaping in the air in a beautiful pose, photographed by Sarah Rodriguez and Amy Rau. (Courtesy of Jessica Goodrich)

Art comes in an array of mediums and so do the artists themselves. Art can stand still in a painting or photograph but it can also move like film or dance, yet it all seems to come to life. Jessica Goodrich has been dancing since she was 4, a pretty common story for most dancers, but her new job has taken her out of the spotlight and given her an opportunity to advocate for the arts like never before. Experiencing movement in a whole new way, she is bringing classroom subjects onto the dance floor for children to learn with their bodies. 

Goodrich is Utah through and through, born in Salt Lake, her parents still living in Holladay. She always knew she would be a dancer. “When I was growing up I felt like it really helped me find my identity,” Goodrich said. The good feelings wrapped up around dance in her childhood memories led her to major in dance at the University of Utah. 

“I never even thought twice about it when I went to the U,” Goodrich said about choosing her major. She didn’t expect to be a teacher, but when she was nearing graduation she asked herself, “How am I going to make a career out of this dance thing?” Goodrich was not necessarily interested in going to New York and auditioning, so she stayed an extra year at the U and received a teaching license in English, which she completed in 2016. 

After spending some time trying her hand at teaching at Evergreen Jr. High, Goodrich was hired as a dance teacher for the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts Learning Program (BTSALP). BTSALP’s website explains that they “provide arts-integrated instruction to elementary students, effectively increasing student performance in every subject — from language arts and social studies to math and science.” Goodrich goes to two different schools to teach and has found the experience inspiring. 

Goodrich was nervous at first about working with boys. “I was teaching girls dance for seven years but I’ve never taught boys, really,” Goodrich said. As soon as she started she was pleasantly surprised with how accepting the boys were, especially the sixth-graders. “There is one sixth-grade boy that makes it all worth it to me,” Goodrich said. His willingness really stands out to Goodrich and how he expresses himself through dance. 

Bringing the classroom into dance is one of the biggest aspects of Goodrich’s job, and she has found fun innovative ways for the kids to do just that. 

“The last performance I did was all science based,” Goodrich said. For example, she had the fourth-graders who were learning about the water cycle create and become the clouds. Experiencing that in their bodies, Goodrich said, “it’s unlike anything else.”

Goodrich has also found a home at Silhouette Dance Studio in Holladay. She is keeping herself busy with her teaching gigs, and though she doesn’t dance much anymore she is still very active. “I try to take class when I can. I mostly do yoga now,” Goodrich said. She is very excited and grateful for her future with BTSALP because the art of dance is not limited to the stage.