By Deborah Searle.
Jessica Orcsik is an experienced dancer and actor, having starred in several Australian and international films and television shows, theatre productions and commercials. With a long list of dance and even modeling credits to her name, Jess Orcsik is a young determined artist with a passion to share her love of performing. The daughter of acclaimed actors John Orcsik and seven time Logie winner Paula Duncan, Jess has the support of a vast network to help her reach her goals and change the lives of young artists across Australia.
Dance Informa spoke with Jess about her thriving studio, J.O, Studios, and how her family is assisting young artists across Sydney.
“I was inspired to start a studio as I love to teach and I love the arts”, Jess explained. “My father has had his film and television school for many, many years and I knew that together we could create a family business that we could treasure and be proud of – a business that could reach all ages and all areas of the performing arts industry”.
With a wealth of experience Jess is sure to be highly successful. “My performing arts background is a long one”, she tells us. “Both my parents are actors so I have spent all my childhood in and out of industry projects. I think my first professional job was when I was five years old on a television show called Richmond Hill”. With extensive dance training and film and television education with TAFTA, NIDA and TVI Actors Studio, Los Angeles, Jess has appeared in several feature films including Me Myself I with Rachel Griffiths and Son of the Mask with Jamie Kennedy, where she was a dancer.
But even with such experience there are so many studios popping up across the country. So what makes J.O. Studios different? “J.O. Studios started in 2007 with a goal to create one of the very first companies that not only offers training in all styles of entertainment (dance, singing, drama, film, television and acrobatics), but also allows its members to showcase their talents in eisteddfods, competitions, corporate and charity functions, musicals, stage productions and much more”, explains Jess. “J.O. Studios is different and unique for a couple of reasons”, she went on. “Firstly, we are an elite school. We try to harness individual talent and showcase each student to the best of our ability. There are many big performing arts schools out there but sometimes it’s hard for students to stand out as the groups are so big. We want to let each child shine, not just those who perhaps do the most classes. Every kid with a passion and determination to be a part of our industry should have their shining moment”.
And with the help of her mother Jess is able to help students with a scholarship program. “The scholarship program is designed to help talented students, who might otherwise not have the money, to have the opportunity to train in any area of entertainment”, said Jess. “So far J.O. has acquired sponsorship for four students. They are all incredibly talented and all have very different stories. Each one though has drive, belief and a love for our industry that has touched my heart”.
So how do they come up with these funding dollars? “We go out there with the help of my beautiful mother Paula and find companies that can stretch their hearts to help make these kids’ dreams come true”, Jess explains. Paula, who has been honoured with an Order of Australia Medal for her outstanding contribution to the arts and the community shares, “I am absolutely committed to the development of talent in all forms of the arts. So much so that I give my time voluntarily to seek sponsorships for talented students who cannot afford to train”, she explains. “I am building awareness through the media and also developing corporate relationships with the arts and the community”.
Jess is very grateful to her parents for their support and industry knowledge. “My parents have been an amazing support to me. I am in partnership with my father and The Australian Film and Television Academy (of which he is Director), where we are working together to build a great relationship between the film and television industry and the performing arts. He has also introduced me to some of his amazing teachers and instructors who continually come and work alongside our teachers in the many different workshops we run”. With J.O Studios linked to TAFTA we asked Jess how this association can help her students. “There are amazing benefits”, Jess shared. “Firstly our students get access to a great range of teachers, directors, producers and casting directors. TAFTA has been built on the understanding that students are trained by industry professionals that are on a daily basis casting roles in different television productions and films. These teachers work within our workshops at J.O. Studios and our students get first access to any workshop run by TAFTA”. Paula agrees that this link is invaluable. “Jessica’s students will be more confident by the experience of TAFTA courses and will be able to handle themselves in film and television drama, interviews and television performances such as So You Think You Can Dance”. And the association doesn’t stop there, explains John Orcsik. “Ultimately I see a more substantial and creative synergistic link with classes provided by JO Studios for TAFTA actors wanting or needing these classes”.
Having recently performed their annual showcase, Pandora’s Box where students, as well as the studio’s distinguished faculty, such as Mariana Baltodano from Three2Tango and Karina Lawrence of Zoop Co. performed, J.O Studios is receiving exciting feedback. “The feedback has been amazing. People are blown away by what we have achieved in such a short time. It’s truly amazing to see the progress in our studio and its students and teachers”, admired Jess. And the audience agreed. “What struck me was the depth of experience from your dance teachers. The performance of your soloists and troops truly showed the teachers’ influences”, commented audience member Alistair Percy. Such success does come down to a committed and experienced teaching staff. With teachers such as Kevin Privitt from the English National Ballet, Queensland Ballet and Dancenorth, Jess stresses that only the most experienced teachers are working at J.O. “We want our studios to have the best”, she says.
And with such success and a support network behind her, Jessica’s students are bound to have the best. Good Luck Jessica! Thank you for making a difference.
J.O Studios are holding a Performing Arts Intensive Course this December for dancers aged between 7-21 years. For more information click here.
Very top photo: Jessica with students Alysha Percy and Ashlee Hutcheon