Jenny Green lives in Shepparton in rural Victoria. Open plains run along the river and the paddocks are dotted with horses. Tin sheds and furry canines all bring character to her home. At first glance you wouldn’t guess Green ‘does pole’ and now teaches classes. The 49 year-old began pole dancing after the passing of her daughter in late 2017. Her daughter Jacalyn Williams, known by many within the pole community, competed all across Melbourne and interstate. This hobby was a huge part of Jacalyn’s life. Jenny decided to take up pole dancing in memory of her daughter and created The Rock-it Foundation, named after Jacalyn’s stage name ‘Rock-It’.
“I wanted to dance for my daughter because this is something she loved,” she said. “I wanted to feel the way she did, I wanted to know why she loved it so much and why it was a big part of her life.”
“When I started I realised how wonderful the pole industry is, it was like having another family, everyone supported me with what I wanted to do.”
Pole dancing has kept Green connected to the legacy of her daughter although some days are easier than others, her determination to make a difference has helped to excel her tricks, routines and raise awareness for the cause. She regularly reflects on all the shows she attended to support her daughter. Dancing was Jacalyn’s life and she influenced many lives on and off the dance floor.
“She would just eat sleep and drink pole,” she said. “It was 24/7 [and] it drove me insane but I still went and watched her regardless. She made me join her class once and that was an epic fail. Carpet burn,” she jokes.
Although the Rock-it Foundation is still in its early days it has already made a difference for those who otherwise would have struggled to afford classes.
“The Rock-it Foundation is set up to pay for people’s appointments that can’t afford to privately have a session,” she said. “It helps them to get seen in a quicker time frame so hopefully it will stop someone doing what my daughter did.”
As a busy mother doing everything she can she still emphasises the importance of reaching out to those who need a listening ear. She wants to encourage the wider community to cradle, nurture and support those in need.
Becoming a part of the pole community she knew it would make a statement. It took tragedy, a goal, determination and the endless love of a mother to defy the odds and prove that age is just a number.
To launch the Rock-it Foundation, a Pole Gala was held to help raise funds for the growing organisation. To aid the foundation, pole dancers and instructors from pole studios all over Melbourne banded together on the night. It was Green’s first public performance and the emotional display brought everyone to their feet as they cheered for Green’s courage and commendable performance .
The stage was where Jacalyn found a sense of belonging and was her avenue of self-expression. And now Jenny has found the same.