Jackie Balls, better known as Miss Jackie, is a dancing icon in the Cayman Islands. Thousands of students have been through her doors since her dance school began more than 40 years ago and she is still going strong.
Every year, people flock to The Crescent in Camana Bay to see Miss Jackie’s Christmas Recital, when students from the age of 5 to over 50 take to the stage to entertain families. This Thursday will be the fourth year for the event and if the attendance numbers from previous performances are anything to go by, it will probably be standing room only this time around.
The “Rockettes” are scheduled to make an appearance once again – ladies in Christmas garb with terrific kicking prowess – and dancers performing in a variety of styles, including Broadway, ballet, tap and jazz. There are no singers – it’s all about the dancing on this night.
“It has been wonderful to see how the show has grown since we started in 2013,” said Miss Jackie. “In the first year, I think we had about 75 people in the audience. Since then, the crowd has got bigger and bigger to the point that I would encourage those who want a seat to get there early.
“Perhaps come for a meal at one of the many restaurants beforehand.
“The recital appeals to all ages – it is a lovely night out that everyone enjoys, including, of course, the dancers,” she concluded.
How it all began
The Balls family arrived in Cayman in 1972 and after much persuasion, Miss Jackie decided to open The Ballet School. In January 1973, the school opened its doors with 32 students.
Miss Jackie instructed all dance classes for 26 years. There were numerous shows over these years in the Town Hall in George Town, such as “Easter Parade,” “Alice in Wonderland,” and “Christmas Fantasy.” Those who were students at the time will remember the excitement of their costumes arriving on the island – proper tutus and ballet slippers in beautiful bright colors.
Over time, the school moved through a couple of different locations before finally settling in Pasadora Place on Smith Road, where it was renamed Miss Jackie’s School of Dance in 1998.
Miss Jackie’s Christmas Recital starts promptly at 6:30 p.m. on The Crescent, Camana Bay. There is no entrance fee. For more information about Miss Jackie’s School of Dance, please visit the website www.missjackieschoolofdance.com.