Dancing queen

Jarrah Myles

Photo by stephanie maynard

Jarrah Myles first began to dance at the age of 3 when her mom took her to ballet classes with her best friend Kate. She’s been dancing ever since. The Chico native’s most recent performance was this December’s production of Cinderella at Laxson Auditorium. Myles graduated from the school with a double major in business and musical theater. She then sent out a single application for graduate school, to New York University. She was accepted and graduated with a master’s in dance education for both K-12 and higher education. Since returning to Chico three years ago, Myles has acquired five paid jobs, four of which involve her love of movement. She teaches everything from youth ballet to basic hip-hip to advanced jazz, working at Chico State, Bidwell Junior High, Chico Creek Dance Co. and running Full Force Hip Hop & Jazz Co. This May, Myles took on her fifth job at retail store Women Beautiful.

Why take a fifth job?

To make ends meet. Being in the arts, you’re not paid extremely high, but I love what I do and I feel if I charge less, more kids are able to dance. I think the arts save kids and help them get through their lives and help them find who they are.

Have you seen that in your classes?

Yes, in every kid. I think that dance connects to kids on a totally different level. A lot of the kids I work with have really bad home lives or have really hard emotional problems or learning disabilities, and yet at dance they’re extremely successful and they find a second home.

How did you get involved with Cinderella?

It was sort of a fluke. They [Chico Community Ballet] didn’t really know who to cast [as one of the stepsisters] and I kind of jokingly said to the director, “Well I can just be it!” and then I thought about it and thought, “Well, that could be really fun.” I haven’t gotten to be in a production for three years and before that I was doing seven to 11 performances a year. I really realized after doing this performance how much I missed it.

Tell me a bit about your character in Cinderella.

I was one of the evil stepsisters, who are traditionally played by men. So it was unique that women got to play the roles. I was evil and bossy. I stuck my tongue out a lot, I shoved people; I kicked people and generally caused havoc throughout the entire show. It was fun to be that alive on stage and to be fully in a character.

Do you have any regrets about the choices you have made in your education or career?

I don’t really have any regrets with my life. Sometimes I feel that because I have to work so much to pay my bills I don’t always get to do my jobs as well as I like because I’m tired, and that’s frustrating, but I really don’t have any regrets. I love my life and sometimes that’s hard for people to understand. But I really do love what I do.