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Hi there, my name is Jade Rodgers. I am 26 and living and working in Belfast as a freelance dance artist and personal trainer. I am delighted to be representing Belfast and hope I will do everybody proud.
From I was young I got heavily involved with voluntary work. I travelled internationally with a group of street artists who used chalk board drawings, puppets, juggling, balloon modelling, etc to engage passers by. I was fortunate enough to start that at the age of 8 years old and continued until I was 18. During that time I worked in South Africa, Brazil and covered the East Coast of America working with the international team. As well as working throughout Ireland (Donegal every summer) and Scotland. I was lucky enough to work with people in inner city areas that were very troubled, favelas in Brazil, shanty towns in South Africa; as well as country areas and in schools where children had nothing. It was a very humbling experience and I know I am extremely blessed to have had the opportunity to engage with people who maybe didn’t have much or were in extremely difficult situations. I feel like this truly developed my character and gave me insight into life in a much broader way and allowed me to experience different cultures too. From a young age I had friends from all over the world.
I found dance when I was 17 years old. I was a very shy growing up and lacked a lot of confidence. I was finally brave enough to join a small class and from there auditioned for college and got accepted. Before I knew it I was off to Dance School in Belfast. I trained 3 years full time in ballet contemporary and jazz. From graduation Istarted working full time in the industry, performing, teaching and choreographing. I took an interest in diversifying my styles to include commercial, hip-hop and Bollywood dance. I had a particular love for Bollywood and Indian Classical dance and one of my professional high lights was choreographing for the Belfast Mela an audience of 30,000. I now run my own business ‘Jade Rodgers Dance and Fitness’.
I have always loved Donegal and thought it was very beautiful. I loved English Lit. in school and we studied Dancing at Lughnasa’. It was total surprise when I wound up modelling for the picture that would become the main Dancing at Lughnasa and Brian Friel Festival image. I am very excited to be in Dungloe this summer after having such fond memories of being in Donegal every summer and up with my family in Killybegs. I am very grateful to be selected as the Belfast Mary and very much looking forward to being a part of the festival and meeting everybody.