We Are L.A. Unified

Some aspiring artists quit after one rejection. Jashuan “Jayy” Gamble isn’t one of them.
Last Saturday, the 2013 graduate of Reseda High School joined celebrities, Nigel Lythgoe and Alyson Reed, at Let’s Celebrate!”, the ongoing series of spring festivals sponsored by the L.A. Unified Arts Education Branch.
 
The event, which showcases dance, will was held at Van Nuys High School from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Jayy will perform during the opening ceremonies.

When he was 14, Jayy auditioned for the Reseda High dance team. He was pumped. He was ready. And he was turned down.

“It was the worst experience,” said Jayy. “I didn’t know what to fix.”

Over the next several months, Jayy showed determination and drive that is the trademark of people who succeed in the arts. He took dance lessons, improving his breathing techniques, flexibility, and body control.
 
The training paid off. At the next audition, held early in his junior year, Jayy made the squad consisting of 10 boys and 40 girls. He stayed with the team through the next year.
“Other students didn’t enjoy it (being on the team) as much as I did,” he said. “I was at practice every day, picking up new steps.”
 
He continued to take dance lessons in Hollywood. He kept the secret from his parents, who to this day hope their son uses electrical engineering, his major course of studies at California State University, Northridge, as a career path. At the university, he’s also studying dance.
 
“When I told them I wanted to be a dancer, they were against it,” said Jayy of his parents. “They’re not artistic-minded.”
 
Perhaps, his ambition came from genetics. Jayy signed in 2013 with the Movement Talent Agency, leading to several auditions for film, television and video productions. Before turning 18, Jayy was grouped with the child dancers, which made little sense.
 
“When I was 17, I went to audition for ‘X Factor,” he recalled. “Since I’m six feet, and the child dancers I was against were about three feet shorter, I didn’t get the part.” When he turns 21, he said he will be competing for roles against adults.
 
His long-term goal is to put together a small touring group and perform in foreign countries. In the meantime, he’s happy at home.

“Los Angeles is a great place for dance,” he said. “I want to stay in L.A. and keep building myself up as a dancer.”

-Thomas Waldman

To nominate a teacher, student, employee or volunteer, send an email to Thomas.Waldman@lausd.net or call 213-241-6766. To see more profiles on the Distirct's website, go to http://bit.ly/1Fp25bG