Yokota airman wants to dance
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- Everybody has a hobby. It can be a way to blow off steam after a long day of work or something that is a challenge mentally or physically. For Senior Airman Jessica Turney, 374th Operations Support Squadron air traffic controller, her hobby is dance, every single type and style of it.
"I've been trained in different styles of dance such as ballet, tap, point, jazz and contemporary and when I moved away from home, I took up hip-hop," Turney said. "I started in freshman year of high school, so it's been almost been 10 years."
Turney says that she was involved in theater when she was little. As a child she was a part of the community children's theater where she participated in a lot of plays. It wasn't until much later on that she discovered her love of dance.
"When I started high school I had a bunch of briefings on the different clubs offered and I remember that the dance team was having tryouts," Turney said. "I just randomly chose to go and really enjoyed it. I've never been good at sports, but dance was something that came easy to me."
She was lucky enough to be able to practice dance and other interests during school. Unlike most high schools in the U.S., Turney's was a school of the arts. She had normal classes from eight to 11 a.m. and after that until five p.m. the school would bus them to a university downtown where she would take musical theater.
Since finishing high school, Turney joined the Air Force. This type of change in someone's lifestyle and where they live can make someone's hobby difficult to continue depending on where they get stationed. Fortunately, problems like a language barrier in Japan don't really have an effect on Turney's ability to hone her dance skills.
"No matter where you go, there's always somewhere to dance," Turney said. "When I was stationed near Enid, Oklahoma, I danced and taught at this little hole-in-the-wall studio. Even in Japan with communication problems, the language and terminology of dance is the same. I'm still able to learn and dance."
Being able to move around the world has actually been beneficial for Turney as she gets to experience new styles and what's popular.
"In Japan, the style of hip-hop dancing is different," she said. "Their style is more 'house' and 'pop and lock', where back home in San Diego, breakdancing was more popular."
Turney's not really sure what the future holds in terms of a career in dance. She says that she loves to teach so maybe she will open up her own studio, but for now she remains unsure. She has a hand in a lot of different projects, one of which is her own called the dance project.
"The dance project is a small group of individuals here on base that have danced during the youth festival, the Mrs. Sakura Pageant along with a few other events," Turney said. "We've also danced around Fussa, Japan, a few times."
No matter what Turney decides to do in the future, one thing is clear.
"Dance will always be in my life and I'll continue to practice it until I'm much older," Turney said. "I'm going to be that old lady doing hip-hop. I believe that once a dancer, always a dancer."
Know someone whose accomplishments, talents, job, hobby, volunteer work, awards or good deeds qualify them for 15 minutes of fame? How about someone whose claim to glory is a bit out of the ordinary – even, dare we say, oddball? If so, nominate them here.
Spotlight on You Gallery