Jordan Francis

Jordan Francis is sitting on air! That’s the illusion, at least, as he leaps from a trampoline, lifts his legs parallel to the ground and reaches out to touch his toes. When he lands softly on stage, Jordan shows off his classical training with a quick, precise turn. He follows that with one of his freestyle street stunts, a one-armed stall. These diverse moves are all front and center as Jordan plays Barron James in the 2008 Disney Channel movie Camp Rock, a role he’ll reprise in Camp Rock 2. With a big-screen hit and TV and theater work under his belt, this commercial chameleon is on the rise.

Jordan, 18, has been perfecting his impressive technique for most of his life. At age 3 he began taking ballet, jazz and tap lessons in his hometown of Toronto, Canada. Then, at age 7, he added hip hop. Around the same time he began working professionally as an actor but kept training and competing in dance. At age 11, he was able to put his passion for performance and dance to work. He earned his first two dance-heavy jobs in the ABC television movie The Music Man and in the feature film Honey. Regardless of genre, Jordan says, “I’m more interested in the performance and showmanship versus just technique.”

At 16, Jordan nabbed his breakout role in Camp Rock. He actually got the job based on his acting and singing skills because the audition didn’t involve much dancing. But when choreographer Kishaya Dudley saw what Jordan could do, “I choreographed everything around him,” she says. “He makes every simple move, even a touch-step-side-to-side, look like a backflip.”

The reason everything looks so dynamic, in part, is Jordan’s combination of height, quickness and precision. At 5'11" he’s taller than most dancers, and combined with body control, his stature allows him to create especially graceful lines and inject extra energy into the simplest of moves. But it’s when he gets fancy that Jordan really stands out. In the Camp Rock song “We Rock,” Jordan climbs a lighting fixture on the side of the stage, then leaps to the floor. He launches into an aerial cartwheel, rotating 360 degrees in the air, and lands smoothly. Without missing a beat, he rejoins the rest of the cast to perform a jazz routine.

Since Camp Rock debuted, Jordan has focused on developing himself as a choreographer as well as an all-around entertainer. He even choreographed the music video for his own R&B song, “Girlz Trippin,” with tight, subtle shoulder, arm and hand movements.

Plus, Jordan is getting the chance to create dance numbers for some of his acting projects. He’s currently starring as Dave Whynot in the television show “Connor Undercover” on Canada’s Family Channel. Each episode features a music video that Jordan choreographs and performs! He’s even hoping a bit of his choreography ends up in Camp Rock 2. Regardless, this standout is one to watch, behind the scenes or front and center on the small screen.

Tim O'Shei is the author of 60 books and a frequent contributor to DS.

Photo by Kareem Ajani

Latest Posts


Photo by Jayme Thornton

How Paloma Garcia-Lee Manifested Her Dream Role, in Steven Spielberg’s "West Side Story"

On a rainy day in November 2018, Paloma Garcia-Lee got a call from her agent that brought her to her knees outside her New York City apartment: She was going to play Graziella in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story.

The call came after a lengthy audition process with Spielberg in the room, and the role, originated by Wilma Curley on Broadway in 1957 and later portrayed by Gina Trikonis in the 1961 film, was her biggest dream. In fact, it's something Garcia-Lee says she manifested from the day plans for the movie were announced in January 2018. "I wrote in my journal: 'I am playing Graziella in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story.'"

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Photo by @mediabyZ

Am I Less Committed to Dance Because I Have Other Passions? (Spoiler Alert: NO!)

Let's face it—dance is HARD, and in order to achieve your goals, you need to be committed to your training. "Still, there's a fine line between being committed and being consumed." Dancers can, and should, have interests outside of the studio.

Not convinced? We talked with dance psychologist Dr. Lucie Clements and two multifaceted dancers, Kristen Harlow (a musical theater dancer pursuing a career in NYC and Kentucky) and Kallie Takahashi (a dancer in her final year at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts), and got the inside scoop on how having hobbies outside of dance can inform your artistry, expand your range and help prevent burnout.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Photo courtesy of Brittany Conigatti

Go Behind the Scenes of Annie Live! With Brittany Conigatti

Unwrap your candy canes, pour the hot chocolate and round up your fellow theater lovers: NBC is kicking off the Christmas season with its latest live-broadcast TV musical. Annie Live! premieres December 2 and features a star-studded cast, including Harry Connick Jr., Tituss Burgess, Megan Hilty and, as the title character, young phenom Celina Smith.

Luckily, people got a taste of what the special will entail when the cast kicked off the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with a performance last week. But since you’re never fully dressed without a Dance Spirit exclusive, we caught up with Brittany Conigatti, one of the young orphans and adult ensemble members in the show, to learn what it was like putting together a large-scale live production for the small screen.

The cast of Annie Live! poses for a group photo. The cast of Annie Live!Photo courtesy of Conigatti


Keep Reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks

contest
Enter the Cover Model Search