Student Spotlight! – Jackie Quinones

What companies/classes are you currently in?

I am currently in Sr. CATS and Tap CATS. 


When did you start at Center Stage?

I started in 2004 when I was 4 years old. 


What was your Center Stage journey?

First I was in a ballet/tap class with a tap dance, then I went to Sue for jazz classes along with Musical Theatre with Laine. After doing that, I auditioned for Jr cougars where I did Pink Panther then I went through the companies all the way to Sr CATS. I started tap company I think in Jr. or Sr. Cougars 


Do you remember your first dance routine?

I don’t remember the name of the dance but it was a tap dance and I was a cat and ended on the ground meowing… it was really cute. 


When did you start doing roles in the Center Stage shows, and what has that journey been like?

I’ve always loved to act, I started acting in the little kid shows when I was in 3rd or 4th grade, but I started acting in the older shows when I was in 6th grade. My journey there has been awesome and I loved every second of it. I always look forward to singing and acting on stage with my friends. 


You’re a Triple Threat:  Actor/Singer/Dancer.  Did you start out in just a dance class?  What attracted you to the others, and when did you begin singing and acting?

I started out my first year in dance, but the next year I did musical theatre as well. I started to take singing lessons in 6th grade because I started the older shows that year too. 


You’re at the State Theatre this week, performing in your last Center Stage show.  Many of our alumni have come back to the State Theatre on touring shows.  What’s it like performing at the State Theatre, and what are your favorite memories?

It’s kind of hard to believe. The State Theatre truly feels like my home, and knowing that so many professional shows have come and passed by at the Theatre is crazy… We’ve performed on the same stage, and for that I am so grateful. Some favorite memories of mine are the photoshoots I’ve taken with my company throughout the theatre, exploring around backstage and upstairs, and the feeling I get while walking through the stage door or the dressing rooms. Although, my all time favorite memory has to be when we give the seniors their gifts and they give us their letters on the stage. It’s really emotional, but it’s overall my favorite CATS tradition.


Favorite role in any show, Center Stage or otherwise?

My favorite role has to be Mindy from Five Women Wearing the Same Dress, which we did for the acting showcase in Pre-Professional. I was new to the class that year, and I feel like that role made me improve so much more as an actor.   


Why has it been worth all of the energy you’ve put in to it and the sacrifices you’ve made?

I really love to performing on stage. Competitions and acting showcases and shows at the State Theatre will always be a part of me, and I wouldn’t have done it any other way. However, the most worth while part of my time at Center Stage was the family I have made here. My company and these instructors mean the world to me, and I’m so grateful to have made these friendships that will last a lifetime. 


How do you feel about having 2 Q’s in your name?

I actually love it. Fun fact: J and Q are the only two letters not on the Periodic Table


What’s your favorite movie and why?

Ok I really love dramas that make me cry, but not romance as much as ones that make you think or learn something. My favorite is The Imitation Game with Benedict Cumberbatch, because it’s about World War II (I really like history) and it includes a lot of important topics about life and society. Other notable mentions are Forrest Gump, The Great Gatsby, and A Beautiful Mind. Oh! I really love disney too, so my favorite disney movie is Inside Out or Wreck-it-Ralph!   


Favorite Broadway show?

I LOVE In the Heights sooooo much. I’m spanish, so I can really relate and appreciate the music. It’s an added bonus that Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote it and is in it too. 


TV Show you’re embarrassed to admit you used to watch?

I used to watch Riverdale, which is kind of embarrassing but I loved some of the characters a lot. Also, I’m a HUGE fan of the food channel. 


If you were an animal, what animal would you be?

I’d probably be a dog, because no one is sad when they see a dog. They get so much attention and love, and they get to play and sleep all day. Yeah being a dog would be awesome. 


What’s next?

I’m going to the University of Maryland next year and I’m double majoring in Journalism and Dance with hopefully a minor in Environmental Science. I’m also going to be a part of their research program freshman and sophomore year.  


Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

In ten years I want to be traveling to different countries either being a journalist or helping the environment in some way. I’d love to have an Australian Shepard named Cosmo too.   


Will you come back to visit Center Stage, or are you gone for good when you’re out the door?

I’m 100% going to visit next year. I’ve made too many memories here not to.