Tara Rooks brings dance instruction back to Jordan-Matthews high school

Siler City, NC – Dance classes return to Jordan-Matthews High School this fall for the first time in decades, with Tara Rooks being appointed last week as the school’s new dance teacher.

Tara Rooks is new dance teacher at Jordan-Matthews and Chatham Central.

As currently structured, the new faculty position will be shared with Chatham Central High School, with Rooks teaching both semesters in Siler City and Bear Creek.

Though this will be her first full-time faculty position in schools, Rooks taught residencies for K-12 students over the past year as a dancer and instructor with Annex Dance Company in Charleston, S.C. Before that, she served as a dancer, choreographer or instructor with Burlington Dance Center in North Carolina, West Virginia Dance Company and Infinite Dance Studios in Australia.

She received her her Bachelor in Fine Arts in Dance Choreography and Performance in 2019 from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Rooks describes herself as a professional dancer with a passion for creating and performing — with experience in competitive dance and acrobatics. Her strength is in jazz and modern dance, she says, and that has been focus of her professional performance. But she also loves musical theater and is interested in incorporating Latin dance into the curriculum.

“When I interviewed, I liked the feel of JM, and the idea of building a program from the ground up is very exciting,” she said. “High school dance was where I got inspired to study dance in college and make it my career. I want to bring this vibrant option to JM students, especially those who’ve never had a chance to study dance. Maybe they can discover a passion they never knew existed.”

JMArts President Rose Pate said this semester begins a new era for arts education at Jordan-Matthews, with theater and dance classes returning for the first time in many years. It comes at a time when students have been showing a real passion for the arts.

“With the start of the Dance Club last year, it was clear we had students who are interested in learning more about this art form,” she said. “I’m very excited that Ms. Rooks will be joining the Jets family and getting our dance program off to a flying start!

JMArts is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt, charitable organization providing what JM students need to succeed in dance, music, theater and visual arts. All money raised through individual donations, admission fees, fundraising events and grants goes directly to providing performance showcases, educational opportunities, instruments and supplies for students.

The nonprofit is best known for JMArts Scholars. Scholarships are awarded each year allowing returning JM students to pursue intensive study over the summer, usually at weeklong, residential workshops offered on university campuses. Other major projects include the school’s annual musical, a variety of public events and the New York Arts Adventure, where eight students travel to New York City for five days over spring break to experience the best in the arts and learn directly from several world-renowned professionals.

More information about JMArts, including a schedule of all upcoming arts events and information on membership, is available online at JMArts.org.