Dancer Jade Whitney performs alongside Nick Jonas at MMVAs
Jade Whitney’s first real exposure to dance came when her mother enrolled her in ballet classes as a young child. At the time, it was only a childhood hobby; but when Whitney was 11 years old and saw a tap dance performance for the first time, dance went from a hobby to a passion. She set out to immerse herself in the art form, learning how to tap and from there, expanding to many variations of the craft. Now, not only is dance her passion but also her obsession.
“I love having a deep connection with my body through movement. I love having knowledge in dance that I am able to teach and the experiences I get to have on camera and on stage are amazing. I also love being able to communicate my thoughts and emotions through movement. It’s so great to have an outlet for expression that I am able to share with others,” Whitney said
Throughout her successful dance career, Whitney has continuously shown the world just why she is such a celebrated dancer. In her early career, Whitney gained international recognition when she took home Dancer of the Year Award at the 2012 Regional Tours of American Dance Awards in Buffalo, 3rd Place Solo Award at the 2013 National Championship of American Dance Awards in NYC, and America’s Young Choreographer of the Year Award at the 2015 National Championship of American Dance Awards in Orlando. Following this success, Whitney began appearing on televisions all over the world in several acclaimed films and television series, including Suicide Squad, the Lifetime TV movie Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B, followed by Disney’s Z-O-M-B-I-E-S, The Next Step, and Schitt’s Creek.
It’s not just the world of scripted television where Whitney has had the chance to dance for millions, but she has danced on many live programs alongside pop superstars including Nick Jonas at the Much Music Video Awards in 2015. The MMVAs is an annual award show broastcast by the leading Canadian television specialty channel Much to honor the year's best music videos.
“I have always been a huge fan of Nick Jonas. When I heard he was hiring dancers in Toronto, I was extremely excited, and I knew this would be the experience of a lifetime. When I found out that the Squared Division would be choreographing, I was ecstatic because I loved their choreography and was eager to work with choreographers from Los Angeles. I had been watching the MMVAs since I was a child and it had always been a dream of mine to dance on stage with one of the artists,” said Whitney.
Despite a rigorous rehearsal process and challenging choreography, Whitney loved her time working on this MMVAs performance. She found the entire process of working with the Squared Division to be amazing and all the dancers were so filled with excitement that it pushed her to work even harder. She danced in heels, which created the added challenge of staying in balance and required a lot of practice. When it was time for the performance, Whitney went all out and executed the choreography alongside the other dancers flawlessly. She was one of two dancers that performed in the middle often dancing right behind or beside Nick Jonas, meaning she was one of the dancers that had the most screen time. It made for an exhilarating performance and one Whitney will never forget.
“I loved the choreography and the song choice. The performance was to “Chains”, which is an incredible song. The choreography was some of the best that I have ever seen for an artist. I loved the elements that were added on top of the dancing. For example, there were moving walls during the performance. The energy that the audience gives to the performers for them to execute at the highest level is amazing to experience. I like that the MMVAs brought some of the biggest names in music to perform at one single event. I also loved the costuming and set design,”
The MMAVs are always a massive success around the world, and this show was no exception. More than 4.4 million Canadians tuned into the 2015 MMVAs and it delivered an astronomical 2 billion social impressions, according to Bell Media. For Whitney, knowing she was a part of such an incredible success is a feat she is still proud of and she looks forward to more performances just like this in the future.
“I worked extremely hard to give the best performance that I possibly could. It was a challenging yet fulfilling process and I am so glad that it turned out amazing for the viewers. Hours and hours of preparation, time and effort goes into a five-minute performance in order to produce the highest result,” Whitney concluded.
Moving forward, Whitney will be working as a lead dancer with choreographers Will Loftis (Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift) and Teddy Forance (Madonna, Janet Jackson) at NUVO Dance Convention and JUMP Dance Convention. She will also be working closely with Forance at CLI Studios, an online dance education platform based in Los Angeles.
Headshot by Mike Seager
Photo of MMVAs performance courtesy of Getty Images