Welcome to the JJGirl Spotlight, a series featuring the smart, talented, fearless young faces of Jo+Jax.
Today, meet 17-year-old Payton Johnson! Payton trains at Jean Leigh Academy of Dance in her hometown of Baton Rouge, LA, and she’s well-known on the competition and convention circuit as a standout at events like New York City Dance Alliance and JUMP. But Payton’s more than just a comp kid. “I have many exciting dance moments I’m really proud of,” says Payton. “Stepping onto the Grand Ole Opry stage for the first time as Clara with the Rockettes in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular was an experience I’ll never forget. And dancing on The Ellen DeGeneres Show was pretty cool, too!”
Favorite dance style: Contemporary
Favorite teacher: “Jason Parsons. We have a special bond from working together since I was 8 years old. I appreciate his movement quality and the fact that he brings a taste of professional contemporary company work to the dance convention arena.”
Dance idols: “Sylvie Guillem for her beauty, grace, and longevity in the dance world, and for her transition from classical to contemporary work. And my sister, Caitlin, who is the reason I first stepped into a dance studio and started my love of dance. She’s the choreographer of the solos that helped me win six of my national titles, and she’s the person I know I can always turn to.”
Dream role: “I’d love to dance in a professional contemporary company like Batsheva Dance Company.”
Favorite school subject: “Math, because there’s always a definitive answer.”
I am so thankful for dance in my life and this amazing community of friends and mentors. And it's almost Thanksgiving!? So, I'm teaming up with Jo+Jax this weekend to host a #JJGetThankful contest! Entering is easy 1. Follow @joandjax. 2. Tag a friend in the comment section below and tell us why you are thankful for that person. BOOM!That's it! It is super easy to share the love and gratitude. One lucky winner and the friend they tagged will receive a $50.00 Jo+Jax gift card! Winners will be announced on Monday November 21st. #JJGirl #joandjax Congrats to @kjohns07 & @kiara1epac for winning our JJGetThankful contest! Thank you to all who entered!! The contest is now closed. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!!
Favorite ice cream flavor: Chocolate chip cookie dough
If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be? “Avocados…and cookies!”
Favorite book: The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Favorite movie: Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Must-see TV: One Tree Hill
If you could perform a duet with anyone, who would it be? “I would dance with Randi Kemper to something she and Hefa Tuita choreographed. I may consider myself a contemporary dancer, but I would kill to hip hop like them.”
If you could travel anywhere, where would you go? “Australia. I love Australian accents, and I want to hug a koala!”
If your life were a movie, who would you cast in it? “Blake Lively would play me — she could easily be strawberry blonde. Amy Schumer would be my best friend, because she’d keep me laughing. And Liam Hemsworth would play my love interest, so he could talk to me with that Australian accent!”
What’s the weirdest thing in your dance bag? “Random crumbs.”
Favorite way to hit the stage: “I’m not a big competition person. I’d say solos because of the freedom of expression, but ugh, I actually hate doing solos! So I’d say a group dance for the bonding experience and the chance to bring a choreographer’s vision to life.”
Favorite Jo+Jax: “I love my Go To Leggings and anything in the Cosmic print. I own a lot of leggings, but these are my absolute favorite. They feel great, move great, and transition flawlessly from studio to street.”
Meet the rest of the JJGirls!