From professional dancing and choreographing to renowned artistic direction, Marissa Jean makes the most of her students’ formative years. Get to know the force behind New York’s Kinections Dancegroup.
Dance started early for Queens native, Marissa Jean. By the age of 3 she was enrolled in local dance classes. By the age of 12 she already knew that if taken seriously, dance could be her future. As a teen she ventured into Manhattan to watch older dancers and learn additional styles beyond the tap, jazz, & ballet that she was accustomed to.
Broadway Dance Center was her go-to spot as a teen, as it is for many tristate area young people looking to expand their horizons. Coinciding with her high school experience she began to incorporate hip hop and musical theater into her repertoire. After school jaunts to dance class and daily practice required a sacrifice of Marissa’s social life. But all was not lost. Afternoons of rehearsal and routines led to early gigs at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Today Show, and famed beauty retailer, Clarins
Everything started to click for Marissa Jean in college. While her daily technique classes and repertory were preparing her for her college performances, she expanded her outlook towards concert dance with involvement in workshops and classes offered through Gibney, Peridance, Paul Taylor School and Mark Morris. As she grew her knowledge base she also embarked on a new journey that included instructing younger dancers.
Connecting the dots of the dance education journey is what led to the formation of Kinections Dancegroup. Marissa Jean and her team focus on introducing young dancers to the professional side of the business. They are mentored and taught to understand what a college career could look like and what the different tracts are that they can follow. In New York, anything is possible. A dancer could be part of a renowned professional company, an award-winning choreographer, or a company director. By presenting the options while personally mentoring young dancers, Kinections molds well-rounded artists to be ready for whatever comes their way.
Marissa Jean’s focus on creating community is why her popularity has soared in recent years. Even during Covid-19, Kinections has continued on with virtual learning that allows dancers to grow in their own personal spaces. The needs of the dancers are always first and foremost to Marissa and her team. Safe spaces are created for young artists to speak their minds and express themselves through dance. For more information about programs and enrollment, one can apply here. Check out some of Marissa Jean’s favorite New York spots:
Best New York Pizza: New Park Pizza in Howard Beach, Queens. Thin crust with the perfect ratio of all ingredients. Crafted to perfection and not too heavy.
Best New York Coffee: Joe’s Coffee on Columbus Ave/UWS. The most satisfying and consistent cup of Ice Coffee in the city.
*Photo Credit: Jayna Maslechko Photography