When she came to SJC Brooklyn from Williamsburg, Virginia, Jayme Overton ’23 hoped to gain the skills that would enable her to fulfill her passion of helping those with special needs by pursuing a degree in therapeutic recreation.
Little did she know that she would also be able to fulfill another lifelong dream — dancing her way into her favorite off-Broadway play, “STOMP.”
“I grew up doing all styles of dance. I did many competitions and I have always been in love with all things artistic,” Overton said. “Although ‘STOMP’ is not tap dance, it is heavily rhythmic, so I thoroughly enjoy doing all of the rhythms with my body instead of just my feet.”
The joy of performing off-Broadway was preceded by the happiness of returning to campus this fall, a place she had not spent much time on — or had seen anyone at — since in-person classes were suspended due to the pandemic during her freshman year.
“I really missed being on campus and seeing a good amount of people there. The pandemic taught me to love and appreciate the little things,” Overton said. “I had to work harder in my classes that were remote because sometimes it got easy to get distracted but being able to appreciate that we are still being taught and learning awesome things was nice and made me push to do better.”
Though it took a while after originally auditioning for “STOMP” earlier in the summer, her opportunity emerged this fall.
“On Oct. 21, I received a call from ‘STOMP,’ telling me they needed someone to fill a spot in the New York City show and they wanted to offer me a contract,” she said. “I immediately went in and signed an eight-week rehearsal contract.
“This meant I was going to rehearse/train seven hours a day, Monday-Friday. After the rehearsal contract is up, I will then get a performance contract and start regularly performing,” she added.
Balancing the demands of performing and class comes naturally to Overton, who is grateful for the opportunity to chase her dreams and help others at the same time.
“’STOMP’ has been my dream show since I was little and the fact that that dream is coming true is unreal,” she said. “Likewise, I have always wanted to help the special needs community — I really enjoy learning all of the different forms of therapy, especially within dance and art, to better the lives of the special needs community.
“I look forward to fulfilling both of these goals — growing with my fellow cast members and performing every night through my junior and senior years, (while) preparing for my career serving those with special needs.”