Tell us a bit about yourself (who you/your team are, your background, training, past projects?)
I’m Jesse, a Queer Jewish dance artist with a background in dance theatre, choreography, education and opera. I trained in London and Israel and have been freelancing in London for the past 5 years. This last year has been a bit strange – I have spent most of it living in a van in Spain with a bit of teaching online here and there. My work has involved teaching at London Studio Centre and UAL, dancing in opera for Glyndebourne and the Royal Opera House, collaborating with other dancers, visual artists and musicians in various contexts such at the Judson Church, New York and Lake Studios, Berlin – and lots of changing and shifting as a human being.
How would you describe your style of work?
I am interested in the possibility for expansion within my own life, in the work that I do and in the people I engage with. I feel that everybody is capable of expansion, of change and transformation but context often limits and even restricts this, and I am discovering how I can harness this within my own practice.
Did you do any creative work during lockdown?
For the first few months I was teaching online from my living room in South London and then I moved to Andalusia, Spain to do some farming and gardening. That all felt quite creative and I was able to move and take myself through some kind of class or self-practice in really beautiful open nature spaces. It was an opportunity to visit my dancer
self in a new way. I’ve also been working on my digital presence, experimenting with how I engage with online platforms, creating a new website and am currently doing a digital project called LIVENESS.
Has the lockdown changed your working processes, your career/company pathway or your vision for the future?
Yes, I have moved to an entirely new city after ten years of London! I’m in a new place now – the change and newness of that has made me feel available to life in a different way. My vision for the future is about engaging with a new dance community and cultural context where I can feel part of something tangible and allow my connections to lead
wherever they may go. My career has always felt like a wiggle rather than a straight-line – I don’t really experience myself going in one direction in life, it’s more of a smorgasbord and I’m happy adding more snacks.
When the industry starts to get back to a ‘new normal’ what would you like to see change for the better?
I would like to see more listening and patience across the industry. The pandemic has pulled into question some of the ideas we perpetuate like being so goal-orientated that we don’t give enough space for process and softness within what we do or forgetting to really listen to one another because we are always in a rush for the next thing. I think a lot of artists will feel fragile, I know I do, about reentering the physical space and I’d like to see the industry handle that with care. The online communities we’ve created need to stay alive, it’s been life changing for people who can’t leave their home and we now know we have enough technology to stream things and make our dance world accessible to people no matter where/who they are.
Digital dance has been popular during lockdown. Do you have a class/workshop/webinar/ performance you can recommend to others?
Tell us about your latest project
I’m currently creating a digital dance work called LIVENESS with Cj Zangerle Murray. It’s a commission from the performance research network at Newcastle University looking at liveness in performance. Liveness means something different in our current climate – it’s interesting to turn this over in a digital way and also to consider what it means to be alive and the liveness of that. It’ll involve nature, dance, poetry and digital sparkle. In my own time I’m also developing some kind of drag persona/performance about being a ‘cool jew’ where I dress up as a boy – I
need some more time to figure it out, maybe it’s just for fun, maybe it’s a show, I’m not sure yet.
How can people get involved?
You can catch up with my latest work through my website and Instagram page and if you want to connect with me email is best.