Dancing through life (and a pandemic)


Karley Garcia

At En Fuego Ballet, children and adults can take dance classes. Not only are there children’s ballet classes, but recently, adult Zumba, belly-dancing, and beginner ballet are now offered as classes at En Fuego.

Kylie Jacobs, Managing Editor

A mother. A wife. A scientist. A dancer. All of these aspects help to make up the owner of En Fuego Ballet, Jessica Solis Cano. But no singular trait defines her, or her careers. 

After barely getting the doors open in early 2020, they were shut due to the pandemic. But this past September she was able to get those doors open again. Classes were limited to only children, but Cano was thankful to be teaching again. 

Thurs. Feb. 25, at En Fuego Ballet, young dancers are learning the basics from ballet teacher Jessica Solis Cano. (Karley Garcia)

“We’ve got six students right now, and they’re learning about the introduction to ballet,” said Cano. “They’re also learning some choreography, so they can see why they’re doing everything they’ve been learning about.” 

Most recently in January of this year, she started to open up her classes for adults again. She’s offering a beginner ballet class, as well as Zumba and a belly-dancing course. 

Belly-dancing holds a special place in Cano’s heart, because it was something that kept her passion for dance alive even when she was unable to take classes for it anymore. 

Ballet dancers at En Fuego are learning the basics from teacher Jessica Solis Cano. (Karley Garcia)

An alumna of UW-Whitewater, she chose to study in the sciences. After attempting to minor in dance, but finding too many class conflicts, Cano had to give that up. But she and a group of friends organized a belly-dancing group. Through it all, she loved the mental toughness that dance brought to her. 

“Putting yourself through that rigor where you eventually get to a point where you think you can’t – you just have to breathe, try it again, and then again and again. Eventually you get it.”

At En Fuego Ballet children and adults can take dance classes. Not only are there children’s ballet classes, but recently, adult Zumba, belly-dancing, and beginner ballet are being offered. (Karley Garcia)

Cano emphasized that the mental toughness she developed from dancing kept her going when she was studying science at UW-Whitewater. It allowed her to persevere when she felt overwhelmed, and eventually got through to her degree. That led to her eventual career in Madison, where she also works as an associate scientist for biopharmaceuticals. 

That work, along with her studio En Fuego, brought together her love and passion for both the arts and the sciences. 

Dance instructor Jessica Solis Cano teaches a new ballet student how to place her feet on her first day of ballet class. (Karley Garcia)

“I never really knew which passion to follow. I loved both science and dance,” said Cano, “I never thought I could do both until I finally decided to get the ball rolling with both, and then everything just fell into place.” 

Her mission bringing En Fuego to Whitewater was simple. She wanted to have an open dance space for everyone. A place that was affordable, and that didn’t bring the anxieties that could come in a theatrical or competition setting. 

UW-W alumna Jessica Solis Cano teaches tap dancing Feb. 25 at En Fuego in downtown Whitewater. (Karley Garcia)

“I want this to be a safe place for everyone. Ballet is something that starts so slow and controlled that anyone can do it. Anybody, any age, and physicality – anyone. That’s what I was looking for when I came here, and since I couldn’t find it, I wanted to be able to offer it for everyone,” said Cano. 

She also hopes for UW-W students to find passion and be able to lose stress with her belly-dancing courses like she did. She wants to be able to bring something she felt was desperately needed in the community, a place for people to explore dance in their own movements. 

To register for classes at En Fuego Ballet, visit the studio on 174 W. Main Street in Whitewater, or visit the studio online at http://enfuegoballet.com/ for more information.