I have been a performer (coughcough a show off coughcough) since I could smile for photos. In every old-school VHS home movie, I’m the loud one trying to get my Dad’s attention, singing, or making up a dance (and forcing my brothers to join in). In junior high I LOVED choir and show choir.. a passion that continued into high school, along with theater and speech. I did not, however, ever take dance.. and it shows. I am NOT good.
That being said, for someone who knows nothing technically about it, I am MESMERIZED by dance. Telling a story without words, transmitting emotions through movement, so many backgrounds and styles, all connected yet all so different.
For an Omaha woman, dancing isn’t just a hobby, it’s been part of her soul for as long as she can remember.
MISS HEARTLAND 2015 STEFFANI JIROUX
“I started dancing since I was the ripe age of two and a half. Basically, I went from getting comfortable with walking into learning how to point my toes in a short time,” Steffani told me recently. “Ever since that first class, I fell in love with the art form of dance. I realized that it stimulates my brain and body at the same time while capturing every emotion I could feel. It is a beautiful way to express myself, and now it is a part of me.”
It’s a piece of her heart that Steffani shares every time she steps onto a stage.. which she does a lot. She’s danced at the collegiate level, as backup for Weird Al, and as you see below, for classic ballet performances.
Steffani competing at the Miss Nebraska Pageant in 2013 as Miss Lincoln & performing in a recent production
“Dance is my first love,” said Steffani, who in the last year alone has starred as Aurora in Sleeping Beauty and the lead in Paquita. “It is the thing I go to when I need a boost, and the stage is the place where I can say with the utmost truth, I feel alive. I truly live for the moment I step out of the light, BOOM, and await my music. It is those seconds where both nerves and enthrallment combine; it’s the moment you can hear a pin drop; it is the time I feel nothing but myself and God and where time seems to stop. With that, I am confident in saying that being able to share my talent with others is my favorite thing to do. It is sharing something that God has granted me, and in that I cannot ask for anything more.”
Steffani danced throughout her undergrad years at Creighton University, cheering on the sidelines of all home basketball games at Omaha’s CenturyLink Center (including for now NBA basketball player Doug McDermott). She’s still at Creighton, immediately pursuing her law degree after earning her BSBA in Management. Steffani plans to become an entertainment attorney.
“I think versatility is an element of uniqueness and I strive to fulfill it,” said Steffani. “Some can’t understand how the world of law intrigues me as a dancer and someone who likes to wear a lot of pink. Now, my nickname is Legally Blonde (and fun fact, I had already owned a chihuahua, Shadow, since I was 2). I am okay with that because it is a movie about embracing being yourself in a world that clings to conformity. No matter what, purely being yourself will guide you to your ultimate goals.”
That is a message Steffani is now bringing to young people as Miss Heartland, in addition to her personal platform ‘Arts For Academic Excellence; The Benefits of Fine Arts In The Education Of Our Youth’.
“I have been graced with the opportunity to partake in many forms of art, and I realize just how beneficial it has been throughout my life,” said Steffani. “I have started a service project called Tutus N’ Dance Shoes, where I set up boxes in dance studios around Omaha in order to collect lightly used dance wear and shoes. I organize them and bring them to dance programs where the children don’t necessarily have the means to buy a new pair of tap shoes because they grew out of their last one or just don’t have the means in general to afford the necessities dance requires.”
Steffani says she didn’t just wake up one day and decide to compete for Miss Nebraska, nor did she realize, as she puts it, that her lifestyle and experiences were preparing her for this role and competition. In a way, this adventure is simply another stage for Steffani to showcase her passions.
“The Miss America Organization provides brilliant young women with an opportunity to share their voices, touch others, and be the change they hope to see in the world,” said Steffani. “As Miss Heartland, I know that I can truly be myself through every step of the way. We are all ourselves, we are all so different and have so much to offer. I can honestly say that I present myself and act with the utmost respect everyday; none of that changes when we affix the sparkle upon our head. Competing to me means making a difference and making the days of all the new faces I see while on an appearance.”
Now, this law student, volunteer and dancing queen wants to stay in the spotlight.. but on a MUCH bigger stage.
“Being Miss Nebraska would be absolutely fulfilling,” said Steffani. “Because making everyone else’s day a bit brighter is my dream job.”
Follow Miss Heartland 2015 Steffani Jiroux and contact her for appearances and events
For information on becoming a future contestant, contact Director Chelsey Jungck at 308-382-1710 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Miss Nebraska Pageant will take place June 3-6, 2015 in North Platte. Click here to visit the organization’s website, to visit the pageant on Facebook, to follow the pageant on Twitter, and to follow the pageant on Instagram.
To read more about the Miss Nebraska Class of 2014, click on the ‘There She Is’ link at the top of the page.