Jackson native who performs with Cirque du Soleil comes home to teach young dancers

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) — The motto “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” doesn’t apply to Johnny Burgess.

The Jackson native tries to come back home as often as he can to teach children how to dance.

“People leave Mississippi, and they never come back,” Burgess said, a performer with Cirque du Soleil. “They always take away what Mississippi gives but never come back.”

“It’s great, having him come from Las Vegas to come teach us what he’s learned,” dancer Shasa Cochran said. “It’s a really amazing experience. I’m glad that he’s teaching us.”

Burgess joined the Cirque du Soleil show in Las Vegas two years ago, but it wasn’t easy getting there.

“I started at the age of 19,” he said. “I had to train my body to move in a way that, somebody already been doing this since they were like 5. So they were already 15 years ahead of me. So I had to work extra hard.”

Burgess started dancing at Hinds Community College. His love for entertaining grew from there.

“He utilized the program effectively and took in all the aspects of it,” HCC teacher said. “He really reached a great altitude of stardom. It really makes you proud to be a teacher.”

HCC Student Hannah Kaminsky said she is learning from Burgess a big inspiration.

“The fact that he likes to give back to us, and teaches us what he knows to see us succeed it’s just an amazing experience,” Kaminsky said. “It’s something that you never want to pass up on.”

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