All Grown Up

Dancer Gallery Eight

Jamie's 2003-04 Gallery

Meet the HEAT Dancers

MIAMI, Feb. 8 - You probably recognize her by her freckles – freckles that once covered her face so adorably that her friends gave her the moniker Punky, from the 80’s television sitcom Punky Brewster. Or maybe you receive a sense of déjà vu when you see her mesmeric smile during a performance.

If you think you’ve seen Jamie before, that’s because you probably have. The second-year HEAT Dancer was a member of the HEAT youth dance group, the Jr. Jam, when she was 13-years old - when she had a baby face and short dark brown hair.

Now, at age 19, Jamie is still dancing for the HEAT. The dark brown hair is now long and blonde with highlights, the cherry flavored lip gloss is replaced by red lipstick and the cute, black jumpsuit once worn as a Jr. Jam dancer has been swapped for a red Spanish tassel dress. And even though she still has the same freckles and schoolgirl face, don’t let that fool you – she’s all grown up.

But the transformation from shy schoolgirl to presumptuous woman may have been brought on by the HEAT – literally.

Before joining the Jr. Jam, Jamie, who is attending Florida International University, spent the majority of her adolescent years as a gymnast. Her athletic ability as a tumbler gave her the knack to do many of the latest hip-hop moves with a certain flair. And when she heard about the auditions for the Jr. Jam, Jamie knew she had everything it took to make the final cut – everything but confidence.

“I was so nervous,” she said. “I would do the dance, but I wouldn’t smile. I wouldn’t put any emotion into it because I was so nervous. I was a shy dancer.”

Jamie made the team, and day by day she gained the confidence needed to become a performer.

“During the first game, I was so afraid that I was going to mess up, but that helped me become more of a confident dancer because you have to get used to dancing on the court in front of everyone.”

By time she was 18-years old, Jamie was ready to take the elite step to the HEAT Dancers.

“When it was time to try out for the HEAT Dancers, I was kind of like I’ve already done this. It made me feel ahead of the game,” she said.

Even though her Jr. Jam experience gave her confidence, it didn’t necessarily give her an edge in her auditions. That’s because the once little girl with cute freckles and short hair had made a transformation to a full-fledged woman – a change so radical that the same HEAT officials who selected her for the Jr. Jam no longer recognized her.

When they finally found out that Jamie used to dance for the HEAT youth dance group, they were shocked.

“They said, ‘That is not you. You’re so grown up, you’re a woman,” she said.

Jamie’s transformation went far beyond the physical change from girl to woman. As she became older, a new talent was unlocked at each stage of her life – from tumbling as a gymnast, to finding her forte in hip-hop dancing to now singing.

Mix those attributes with the radiance, beauty and class it takes to be a HEAT Dancer, then you have a star in the making.

“If I can sing, and if I can dance then I can do it all,” she said. “I love to perform.”