The Dancer's Theatre
MIDWEST YOUTH PERFORMING ARTS CENTER
The Dancer's Theatre | Midwest Youth Performing Arts Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that believes arts education should be accessible to all young dreamers as a fundamental part to both a child's cultural and academic upbringing. We provide a safe space for children to pursue their passions, explore, discover, make mistakes, and take risks, all amongst a community of supportive peers, mentors, and leaders. Our programs promote one's self-confidence, appreciation of the arts, respect for self and others, innovative thinking, team building and cooperation. Our doors are open to all dream seekers and star gazers. We are a coalition of creatives, collaborating with and encouraging the next generation of artists, celebrating both self-expression and individuality as an essential everyday experience.
MRS. JESSIE JO SCHNACK, also affectionately known as "Ms. JJ", fell in love with the stage and stagecraft at a very
young age, and has continued to develop her performance arts discipline for over 30 years. As a tenured and certified
dance educator through the Chicago National Association of Dance Masters (CNADM), she has had the privilege of
learning from Harrison McEldowney, Jeremy Plummer, Lyn Kramer, and the incomparable Arthur Duncan. She earned
her first pre-professional role with the Iowa Dance Theatre as Clara in The Nutcracker, but her sugar plum dreams truly manifested when she had the opportunity to co-choreograph and perform as a guest artist for the Washington state's
Plateau Ballet Repertory Theatre’s annual production of the beloved holiday classic.
Born and raised in the Midwest, Jessie has also lived and studied on both coasts, as well as Paris, France. She is trained
to instruct ballet, tap, jazz, musical theatre, contemporary, modern, hip-hop, show choir and cheer/pom. She has
created performance art curricula for studios, camps, and schools under her studio and stage artistry company,
Footprints Gallery. Outside the studio walls, Jessie's studies include yoga and personal training, both of which have
broadened her scope and knowledge of the physical demands of the aspiring and professional dancer, and early
childhood and elementary education, giving her the insight to understand the various childhood development stages and
how important the social and emotional component is to dance class.
One of Jessie's true passions is choreographing for musical productions, which has included such shows as Catch Me If You Can, Bring it On, 101 Dalmatians, The Little Mermaid, and Newsies. Her award winning work as a choreographer is made up
of numerous specialty awards, including a Fabulous Fosse award. In 2020, she was also able to share her proficiency in
Fosse-style choreography as a guest teaching artist for the Nebraska Thespian Festival. Jessie's teaching style has been described as respectful, uplifting, and inclusive. She believes a dancer should always feel their studio is their safe space -
a place that is safe to create, dream, fail, succeed, and most of all, safe to be oneself.
Jessie resides in Johnston, Iowa with her husband, two children, and two corgis. She loves being outdoors, planting in her garden, cooking, reading, writing, going to shows, but relaxing with her family is her favorite way to spend her time.