By Michael Howlett Staff Writer
November 28, 2013
The Wolfahrt Haus Dinner Theatre in Wytheville is presenting its Holiday Spectacular and one of the performers is Carroll County’s own Jenna Jackson.
Jackson, the daughter of Tom and Cindy Jackson, plays a variety of roles in the production, including a young Mrs. Claus, referred to as Carol, and Candy the Elf. She also performs in a Radio City Music Hall-type number and appears in a nativity scene at the close of the show.
“There’s lots of singing and dancing so it’s just perfect,” said Jackson, who graduated from Oklahoma City University in 2011 with a degree in American Dance Pedagogy, which not only provided instruction in dance performance, but also in the teaching and business side of the art.
“I had a vision of performing while I was young enough to do it, then teaching when I got older and settled down. I love working with children,” said Jackson.
Jackson, who began dancing at the age of five, got her first real taste of show business in 2004-2005 when she toured the country with Hoctor’s Dance Caravan Kids.
“The tour gave me a preview of the life of a performer and gave the inspiration to pursue a professional career in the performing arts,” she said.
During her summer breaks from high school and college, Jackson received further training. In 2006 she served a summer internship with the Boston Conservatory, and in 2010 was a dance assistant for the Pulse on Tour in New York City. She also served summer internships with the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes and with the Broadway Dance Center.
Jackson’s first job following college graduation was in Guam, of all places. There, she performed in a show entitled Dream, which was choreographed by Cirque du Soleil’s Christopher Childers. Jackson also modeled for print work and television commercials, and was a store front model for Marc Jacobs.
“I spent nine months there, it was wonderful,” said Jackson. “We did kind of a Las Vegas-type show with acrobats, contortionists and even live tigers.”
In 2009, she made her first appearances at the Wolfahrt Haus in the King and I and the True Meaning of Christmas.
In addition to her stage work, Jackson also appeared on the television show Extreme Makeover Home Edition in 2010 dancing with Tony and Emmy awards winner Kristin Chenoweth, danced in a Super Bowl commercial, and modeled for the Globe Ultra Lounge and in Uno magazine.
Although teaching may be in her future down the road, Jackson said she isn’t ready to give up the stage just yet.
“I think I’m going to give it several more years, perform as long as I can,” she said. “There’s nothing like doing something live. It’s the most exciting type of show. Plus, I love being able to light up the audience’s faces, allow them to get away from everyday life, and give them a positive experience.”