10-year-old dancer defying the odds

Ja'Nihya Carter-Blue works on floor exercises before the start of her dance course on Sunday, June 3.

10-year-old dancer defying the odds
June 07
12:43 2018

Before Ja’Nihya Carter-Blue could even walk, she had an undeniable passion for music and dance. At only 16 months old, whenever she would hear music she would break out her best dance moves for whoever would watch. 

“She couldn’t event walk, but she would stand up just to dance,” said Philicia Carter-Blue, Ja’Nihya mother.

“So when she turned 2, I started looking for dance classes, and she just jumped right in like she had been dancing forever.”  

Today, at the age of 10, young Ja’Nihya, who is known throughout the community as JCB Dance, has turned that passion into a thriving business. For the past year, JCB has been teaching her own dance classes for children throughout the community.

She said what started as a dance class for children who are homeschooled like herself grew into something much more. Now, along with her Thursday classes, Ja’Nihya has added a Sunday course that is open to children of all ages and experience levels. 

“It’s so great to be given this opportunity. Learning new things and giving back at the same time,” said Ja’Nihya. “… it’s just so much fun. I like teaching kids new stuff. It makes me happy.” 

From hip-hop, to ballet and jazz, Ja’Nihya has spent time at almost every dance studio in the city and recently finished a course on ballet at the UNC School of the Arts. She also danced as a Charlotte Hornet Little Stinger during the basketball season.

While she is trained in various genres of dance, Ja’ Nihya mentioned her favorite genre is jazz because it’s so liberating and free.

“I love jazz because you can be sassy with it,” smiled Ja’ Nihya. “You can go sharp, you can go silly with it or freestyle. Jazz is by far my favorite.” 

Last weekend, this reporter had the opportunity to sit in on one of JCB’s courses held at Dance Explosion School of Performing Arts in Clemmons. After a quick warm-up, Ja’ Nihya broke down  a dance routine she created herself into small parts before those in attendance showed their own skills. After about 30 minutes, you totally forget that the instructor is only 10 years old.

Her knowledge of dance and willingness to help others shines through with every new dance move she teaches. Following the course, several students were all smiles, even those who were attending their first course. 

JCB is starting to receive rave reviews on social media as well. Elizabeth O’Boy took to Facebook to send praise. She wrote, “JCB dance is a spectacular teacher. She’s enthusiastic and passionate about dance, and is a very generous teacher.  Her choreography is age appropriate but isn’t basic. She can adjust the choreography if the students need alternatives. She encourages her students to reach their maximum potential and celebrates their achievements.” 
With the work ethic of someone twice her age Ja’Nihya isn’t settling on her recent success. She works to perfect her craft every day in hopes of one day owning her own dance studio. She also aspires to be a writer and an artist some day.

“10 years from now, I want to own my own studio and maybe move to Los Angeles or somewhere that’s not here,” laughed Ja’Nihya. “But I also want to do other things like write my own book.” 

While the studio in L.A. may be a few years away, here in Winston-Salem Ja’Nihya is looking to launch an initiative called the Dream Crew. The purpose of the dance troupe is to inspire children to pursue their dreams no matter their age. 

“I want to inspire them to start their own stuff. That’s what we represent with the Dream Crew,” Ja’Nihya said. 

JCB Dance courses are held on Sundays from 2:30 to 3:30 with the genre of dance rotating between jazz, hip-hop and ballet every week. While continuing to teach children her own age, Janihyn is also looking to add a class for adults.

For more information on JCB Dance, visit her official website at or contact her by phone at (336) 893-4209.

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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