FINDING CENTER STAGE
JANEEVA PETTWAY IS ALWAYS PREPARED FOR THE NEXT STEP.
IMAGINECHINA LIMITED / ALAMY STOCK PHOTO
For interdisciplinary artist Janeeva Pettway, no feeling compares to the joy of fulfilling one’s dreams. Since graduating from AMDA’s Dance Theatre Program in Los Angeles in 2017, Janeeva has accumulated a host of high-profile performance credits, appearing alongside prolific artists such as Kanye West, Justin Bieber, Megan Trainor, Quavo, Meek Mill and Tory Lanez. She has also performed as a main dancer for popular artists like Saweetie and fellow AMDA graduate Jason Derulo. With an ever-expanding résumé that reads like a who’s who of the contemporary music industry, Janeeva can only describe her situation as a blessing.
Janeeva’s star-studded credentials include several nationally televised performances on BET, NBC and ABC; popular music videos and world concert tours. As she tells it, developing the poise required to perform before masses of fans took time to develop. “I used to get nervous all the time. Now I thrive off that energy,” she says. “It’s so amazing to be able to give the audience an experience, not just a show.”
Janeeva’s AMDA education played a key role in her development, offering a creative outlet to refine her professional skills as a dancer. Her coursework provided extensive training in Contemporary, Ballet, Modern, Jazz, Hip-Hop, Tap, Broadway styles, and other forms of dance. “AMDA really got me together,” says Janeeva. “Doing the Black Box shows each semester helped me get used to a live audience. Dance for the Camera helped me understand and improve what I looked like on film, increasing my camera awareness.”
Janeeva’s passions extend into teaching, writing, singing and recording. “Music acts as my therapy,” Janeeva says. “Dance can be interpreted in so many ways and I wanted a clearer way to get out how I feel. To me, that was writing it down in words.” Recalling those first studio sessions, she says, “Those experiences were so scary. But it was the most vulnerable I had ever been in my life.” Janeeva adds, “I felt so much weight lifted off my shoulders when I was able to release, feel and heal through my music.” In the future, Janeeva sees herself venturing into more of a creative director role, developing concepts for live performances and music videos. “It stimulates me mentally. I’m so happy when I can tap into that creative side.”
What advice can Janeeva offer other aspiring dancers who dream of one day performing alongside their favorite artists? “The show is bigger than you,” she notes. “If you want to be successful in this industry, you need to be on it. Know your steps — left, right and backward. Work harder than everyone else and you’ll always be prepared — for any situation.”