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Instructor Bios


Jessica Hayden founded SHOCKra Studio in 2007 and has been featured on Larry King Live, TLC's Masters of Reception with Kelly Ripa, Coca-Cola World Cup Trophy Tour Promo, and was a videoblogger for Psychology Today Magazine. She has her own series of dance videos called SHOCKra Dance for Beginners (HERE). Jessica began teaching when she was studying at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA. After thousands of students, Jessica has developed specialized techniques for Absolute Beginner Body Awareness with offerings as an Executive Dance Consultant as well as Group Dance Lessons in virtually every style of dance. She is an associate of the Stage Director's & Choreographers Society and was selected as a semi-finalist for DanceBreak. Jessica has also assisted Broadway choreographers and set works on Broadway professionals with her company SHOCKra Arts. She choreographed an off-Broadway production called "27 rue de Fleurus" at Urban Stages in NYC and most recently performed in productions of "White Christmas" and "The Buddy Holly Story" at the Alhambra Theater in Jacksonville, Florida.


Jessica's 4 Week Crash Courses

Watch a client video testimonial.

"High level of energy, enthusiasm and passion to teach..this is what makes Jessica different from many others..

I had a fabulous experience with her recent Hip hop workshop at the SHOCKra Studio. This is by far the most effective dance workshop I have ever been to. I am only an occasional dancer but I can recall all of the 20+ moves she taught. Just 90 minutes of lesson gave me tremendous confidence. I was so impressed that I went back right next day for another workshop.

All of this credit to Jessica's friendly and encouraging attitude, a quality I consider the most important for a dance teacher. Her knowledge and the overall environment of the studio are an added asset."

"I took the absolute beginner's Hip Hop dance class with owner Jessica. I had no dance experience coming in and I was definitely nervous, especially being a guy.

The class size was nice and small and Jessica put everyone at ease immediately. Everyone really was in the same boat experience-wise (a concern of mine) and the pacing of the class made it easy to follow Jessica. By the fourth class I definitely felt improved, and the one on one session included was very valuable at recognizing areas of improvement.

Jessica's instruction is easy to follow and she invites feedback to make the class as worthwhile for her students as possible, right down to asking for specific song selections during class. I am looking forward to taking another class at Shockra and would recommend Jessica for anyone else out there who would like to feel a little more comfortable on the dance floor."

"THANK YOU, Jessica and the SHOCKra Dance Studio staff, for making my group's first experience with belly dancing and pole dancing absolutely enjoyable. We had so much fun that we're still talking about it days later. Despite our being older and in various sizes and shapes, not once did you make us feel out of place. Your energy and enthusiasm, coupled with your patience and earnestness to help us conquer the moves, really built our confidence. We stand a little taller, smile a little brighter and walk a little sassier because of you. Again, THANK YOU!"

"I have no dance experience and I completed the absolute beginner club dance/hip-hop class with studio owner Jessica Hayden. It was a small class of only 5-6 ppl with plenty of individual attention. As an instructor Jessica had incredible energy and even though these were evening classes, she was able to get everyone pumped up and dancing. I'm the kind of person that when I tried to dance at a club or wedding, I didn't really know what to do with my arms and my feet barely moved. I'm glad I found a class where concepts that natural dancers know intuitively were clearly explained (e.g. to nod your head, where to place your hands, etc.). She does a great job of breaking down movements by explaining them in simple descriptive terms while showing you how to do them step by step. E.g. imagine your heel is touching hot water when it hits the floor, so you know to pull it back quickly, or imagine you're picking up a suit case when you're doing shoulder dips. You dance to music that you would expect to hear at any club/bar. I can definitely say after this I am more encouraged to go out on the dance floor and try out what I picked up in class. Additionally, the 20min private lesson that comes with the class is great, but I recommend doing 1 hour in order to accelerate the learning curve. I ended up taking the class again because I wanted to reinforce what I had learned, pick up new moves, and keep getting more confident. Overall, I think this series is a great way to gain confidence and feel comfortable going out dancing and having a good time."

"I just took my first clubbing dancing class with Jessica. The classes are fun and very easy for beginners to follow. Jessica is not just a great dancer but also very talented as a teacher. It's inspiring to see her. She can see what the students struggle with and create exercises on the spot, responding to the students needs and difficulties. It is so much easier and faster learning this way."

"I went to SHOCKra for the crash course in hip-hop/club dancing by Jessica, mostly cause I can barely bob my head to a beat. She was a great teacher, very patient and very receptive to what we wanted to learn. I thought it would be embarrassing to dance in front of a professional dancer, but it was quite the opposite as she was very sweet, offering encouragement and concrete tips on how to look more natural. It was nice being able to take advantage of her years of expertise. Her passions for dance and teaching were palpable and it was clear that she was having as much fun as we were. Her love of dance was contagious, and when the group was finally in sync, thanks to her abundant patience she was happier than we were! The two hours sped right on by, amazing, considering it was after a 12-hour workday. I would definitely sign up for any class Jessica teaches, she’s that good. But my advice is to sign up quickly, since she has to come in from out of town, so her classes fill up pretty fast."

Contact for information about classes, lectures, and the studio.

What people are saying about Jessica...

"I've been taking classes with Jessica for many years & now that she has her own studio, I can say that I recommend her entire vision! The crew of professional dancers/teachers she's gathered are down to earth & even as a beginner (have taken hip-hop & salsa, but just starting with the pole) I am getting authentic dance instruction --- not another "exercise lesson" but the real deal!"

“Yes, I am finally ready to publicly admit that I am a member of NYC's dancing-impaired population. I don't know whether to blame my poor hand-eye coordination or rhythm challenges, but I know that I do not attract any men on account of my dance moves. Anyway, when I saw "absolute beginner - NO DANCE EXPERIENCE" for club/hip hop, I took it be a sign. I took the 4-class series in the winter and enjoyed myself so much that I signed up for Jessica's 3-hour bootcamp this month. Jessica is the best! Her upbeat attitude and sense of humor make it a pleasure to accept some constructive criticism about my ability to raise the roof. Her class is greared towards real world applications...She paired us off a few times to practice dancing at a bar or wedding. She also breaks each move down very well, happy to revisit anything tricky. Overall, I feel more confident about my ability to dance to top40 music in public settings. I would definitely recommend the class with Jessica for anyone looking to do the same."

“I came to Shockra because my girlfriend bought me 4 sessions of the "Absolute Beginner hip hop/club" class. I've always been afraid to dance and have never been able to do so in public (sober anyhow). I was the only guy in the class of 6 and was pretty nervous the first day. This instantly changed thanks to Jessica who was able to make me and the rest of the awkward and rhythmically challenged students feel comfortable from the get go. Jessica managed to make the class both enjoyable and productive.

I learned a lot in just four sessions and now feel comfortable dancing on any occasion. I highly recommend taking this class and/or private lessons with Jessica, there's no better way to start dancing.”

“I recently took a club/hip-hop beginner class here with Jessica and loved it! She truly is an awesome teacher - knowledgeable but approachable. She breaks down the moves step by step and is very attentive to her students. Jessica knows exactly how to pinpoint what you need to adjust in your dancing and is also encouraging when you're doing well! I enjoyed the class & would take one with her again!

“I was very happy with this class. It's the first time I looked forward to any kind of dance classes. I took a few in the past but never completed them, since I always felt overwhelmed and uncomfortable. This class finally got me to enjoy dancing and feel comfortable enough to stick with it, even if I don't look good doing it yet. I feel like i have learned so much. Jessica is a great instructor, she is patient, energetic and teaches moves that are practical to use on the dance floor. I definitely look forward to taking more classes with her!”

“I have been interested in hiphop for years and always wanted to learn how to dance like the guys in music videos, but I always played sports growing-up and never had a chance to learn. Then I found Shockra Studios online and read about their hip-hop beginner’s class. I was a little nervous on day one, but it has been great. Jess is an awesome teacher and has a unique way of breaking down complicated dance moves into something more manageable. Here energy and charisma is contagious. The Atmosphere gets you fired up every time. Jess seems to have the newest music and the hottest beats straight from the club. Class sizes are small, so you can easily ask questions and get 1-on-1 training. I also scheduled a private lesson to help get me to the next level. I always wanted to learn how to moon-walk and after 1 hr and some practice on my own, I am dancing like a natural. Before class I was shy on the dance floor, now after 4 sessions I have been known to circle people up at the bar and dance in the middle, totally dominating the dance floor…. Thanks Jess and Shockra for all the new moves…see you again in the fall!"

“This studio just has a really good vibe. I felt very welcomed as soon as I came in. I took the absolute beginner hip hop workshop and had such a great time. Jessica is extremely nice, and makes you feel very comfortable and relaxed. She also learned everyone's name and seemed to genuinely like and want to help everyone in the class. I left feeling so good and I felt like I wanted to take a million more classes there. I did, in fact, sign up for the level 2 hip hop class, and can't wait for it to start. This is the place to go for beginners! very worth it!”

"I took Jessica's 6 week absolute beginners dance class and after a few weeks i realized it was more then just a dance class. It made me understand my body in a whole new way. Not only can I now dance to any type of music be it hip-hop, rock or reggae, i feel comfortable dancing with anyone (or around anyone) no matter what the atmosphere is. The variety of people that the studio brings together is also really amazing. I highly recommend Jessica's classes to anyone!"

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