Jessica Hayden founded SHOCKra Studio in 2007 and has been featured on Larry King Live, TLC's Masters of Reception with Kelly Ripa, Coca-Cola World Cup Trophy Tour Promo, and was a videoblogger for Psychology Today Magazine. Jessica began teaching when she was studying at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA. After thousands of students, Jessica has developed specialized techniques for Absolute Beginner Body Awareness with offerings as an Executive Dance Consultant as well as Group Dance Lessons in virtually every style of dance. She is an associate of the Stage Director's & Choreographers Society and was selected as a semi-finalist for DanceBreak. Jessica has also assisted Broadway choreographers and set works on Broadway professionals with her company SHOCKra Arts. She choreographed an off-Broadway production called "27 rue de Fleurus" at Urban Stages in NYC and most recently performed with Charles Shaughnessy.
Really? Hands down, the best place to learn a new dance style! – I've been to plenty of other dance studios. Beat for beat, bar for bar, step for step, Shock Ra is the best place you can go to learn some new moves and/or body awareness. What really sets Shock Ra apart are the super cool dance instructors and learning atmosphere there. And I attribute that to Jessica, the talented dance professional in charge of the place (by the way, gentlemen, she is super cute...ow).
What I learned in her classes were not only the moves but more importantly how my body was capable of performing them and more. You've heard the adage "Give a man a fish he eats for a day. Teach him to fish and he eats for a lifetime." Here you learn not only how to catch a "salmon" or "trout," but how to pull off or create your own moves armed with the new found knowledge of how your body works. I remember the day I discovered my rib cage (circa lesson 2 or 3) could move independently of the rest of my body. A light bulb went off over my head and I thought "so THAT is how Chris Brown does that!" That was a good day indeed.
High level of energy, enthusiasm and passion to teach..this is what makes Jessica different from many others..
I had a fabulous experience with her recent Hip hop workshop at the ShockRa studios. This is by far the most effective dance workshop I have ever been to. I am only an occasional dancer but I can recall all of the 20+ moves she taught. Just 90 minutes of lesson gave me tremendous confidence. I was so impressed that I went back right next day for another workshop.
All of this credit to Jessica's friendly and encouraging attitude, a quality I consider the most important for a dance teacher. Her knowledge and the overall environment of the studio are an added asset. -Sam
Could not have asked for a better experience. I came here last weekend with friends and we did a one hour belly dance & pole dance class with Jessica and it was awesome. Belly dancing & pole dancing can be very nerve wrecking and can take you out of your comfort zone but Jessica made it very easygoing and fun!
THANK YOU, Jessica and the SHOCKra Dance Studio staff, for making my group's first experience with belly dancing and pole dancing absolutely enjoyable. We had so much fun that we're still talking about it days later. Despite our being older and in various sizes and shapes, not once did you make us feel out of place. Your energy and enthusiasm, coupled with your patience and earnestness to help us conquer the moves, really built our confidence. We stand a little taller, smile a little brighter and walk a little sassier because of you. Again, THANK YOU!
Life-changing, at least. – As a bit of background, I'm a guy who came to Shockra simply to learn and expand my mind a little bit. Dance is something I've kind of always wanted to try, but never "had the time for." At some point, I decided to stop making excuses, and dove headfirst into it......
Since coming to SHOCKra, I've taken a bunch of beginner dance lessons here, and I believe just showing up will mean that you will at least be able to dance with the best of them at any club in the city.
The bottom line is that Jessica is a fantastic and very patient teacher. She's as good a teacher as I have ever had in any subject, whether that teacher was in school, in sports, or at the workplace. I like to describe her teaching method as organzied chaos.
You will fail horribly the first time you go. You will feel out of place and awkward. You will undoubtedly trip and stumble multiple times. And then, at one glorious moment, perhaps halfway through the second, or perhaps the third lesson it will all make sense and you will never look back again. If you are a person with two left feet, like me, it could be one of the most rewarding experiences you will ever have. I've gotten much much better, and the improvement is pretty stark just after a handful of lessons.
The bottom line is that If Shockra can teach this awkward patent attorney how to dance, then it's motto-- "anyone can dance"-- certainly rings true. I'd highly advise you to give it a shot. - Willy
Shockra is a Great Place for Dance Lessons – I recommend Shockra Studio very highly. I'm taking group Hip Hop and Salsa classes there now. I was a complete beginner to dance lessons and Shockra has proven to be a great place to learn. The classes are perfectly paced for a beginner. The atmosphere is very friendly and I look forward to my classes each week. Jessica is an excellent teacher; she is upbeat and motivational which makes the lessons fun. - Pete
Great workout, great fun! – If you're like me and the gym bores you to tears, then Shockra's the place for you. You get a great workout AND learn something new every time. Jessica's ballet class is, simply put, great fun. She is a fantastic teacher and breaks everything down very clearly, keeping the class non-intimidating, but still pushing you just a bit farther each time. It's a great workout and the hour simply flies by. My posture's improved and my back doesn't seem to hurt as much anymore. Now try getting all that on the treadmill! - Evelyn
Finally, a studio that's a non-threatening environment for adults to dance, get a great workout, and have fun! – After several unsuccessful attempts at a gym membership, I decided I needed to exercise in a way that I knew I would enjoy, instead of feeling like a gerbil on a wheel. I have always loved to dance and had decent training all the way through my teenage years, but I hadn't stepped into a dance studio in 15 years and let's just say I'm pretty out of shape! But I thought, this is New York, right? There must be a million dance studios where an adult semi-beginner can have a myriad of choices. In a city where professionals abound and dance studios seem geared toward producing future Broadway or Radio City performers, however, I had a hard time finding a studio that was truly a non-intimidating environment for adult beginners who just wanted to enjoy dancing for some exercise and self-expression. Then I stumbled upon SHOCKra Studios. I was so relieved that everyone else was just like me - regular people with regular jobs who just wanted to try something different. Not only did I feel 100% comfortable from the moment I stepped in, and not only was I impressed with how easy-going yet professional the instructors were, and not only is it everything I wanted in a dance studio, but I've also lost weight since I started class! The instructor (and owner), Jessica, is so engaging and energetic. She's really good at helping you improve your technique, no matter what level you're at. Our classes have a mix of people, from zero dance experience to former dancers like myself who just haven't done it in ages. Everybody loves it and everybody improves. It's non-intimidating and tons of fun, and it's the highlight of my week! - Julie
I went to SHOCKra for the crash course in hip-hop/club dancing by Jessica, mostly cause I can barely bob my head to a beat. She was a great teacher, very patient and very receptive to what we wanted to learn. I thought it would be embarrassing to dance in front of a professional dancer, but it was quite the opposite as she was very sweet, offering encouragement and concrete tips on how to look more natural. It was nice being able to take advantage of her years of expertise. Her passions for dance and teaching were palpable and it was clear that she was having as much fun as we were. Her love of dance was contagious, and when the group was finally in sync, thanks to her abundant patience she was happier than we were! The two hours sped right on by, amazing, considering it was after a 12-hour workday. I would definitely sign up for any class Jessica teaches, she’s that good. But my advice is to sign up quickly, since she has to come in from out of town, so her classes fill up pretty fast. - Edward