I have learned so much, and Jessica is a joy to learn from.
Originally from Timmins, Ontario, Jessica began her dance training at the age of four, in Tap and Ballet, and later in Jazz, at the Mick School of Dance. After graduating from high school, she attended the Ryerson University Dance Program where she studied under the artistic direction of Nadia Potts. From there, she pursued Musical Theatre training at the Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts. Under the guidance of working professional faculty members including George Randolph and Ron Singer, she graduated with a Diploma in Musical Theatre in December of 1999.
Throughout the years since Jessica’s arrival in Toronto she has had the pleasure to meet and study with incredible tap dancers; the late Gregory Hines, Dianne Walker, Lane Alexander, Jason Samuels Smith, and Anita Feldman to name a few. Jessica was a member of the National Tap Dance Company of Canada for five years. On tour, the company travelled across Canada showcasing the works of Dora award-winning choreographer, William Orlowski; three shows included Oliver Button Is A Sissy, The Tin Soldier, and a choreographic collaboration, Feats of Feet.
Jessica is currently a member of What’s On? TAP!, a Mississauga-based tap dance company under the artistic direction of Kim Chalovich. They have performed at various venues across Southern Ontario including the Living Arts Centre and the Fleck Dance Theatre (formerly Premiere Dance Theatre), in Toronto. Most recently they returned from Chicago where they performed in Juba! An Evening of Percussive Dance, at the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art.
When not performing you can find Jessica teaching around the Greater Toronto Area. She is on faculty at Performer’s Dance Studio, DeGazon Music & Dance, and The Tap Dance Centre, Ontario’s premiere school for tap dance education. She has taught at Swansea School of Dance, Randolph Dance Theatre, Canadian Children’s Dance Theatre, TDS Dance Space, Martha Hick’s School of Dance, Innovative Rhythm Dance Studio, Dance with Alana, The Swing and Tap Academy of Toronto, MBS Performing Arts Industry, and Dance Extreme. She also is a frequent guest teacher at dance conventions, including Dance Master’s of America, the Canadian Dance Teacher’s Association, and The Dance Project.
Jessica is proud to introduce dance to young people, and teaches a tap/rhythm dance class in Senior Kindergarten classrooms weekly, throughout the school year. She also teaches a Teacher’s Tap class at Centre Stage School of Dance for dance teachers and studio owners looking for inspiration to bring into their own classes
Jessica was on the dance faculty at the Randolph Academy from 2002 to 2010, and acted as Head of the Dance Department for one season. She was also a contributor to the success of the academy’s application for Private Career College acceptance by writing the curriculum for Tap. Jessica teaches tap at the Sheridan Institute of Technology to students in the Performing Arts Preparation program, led under the direction of Mark Melymick.
In February 2004, Jessica accepted the role of Interim Artistic Director of Dance Alive Productions, a workshop-focused dance producer. Later in November of 2004, Jessica presented Muskoka Dance Weekend 2004, at Deerhurst Resort in Huntsville, Ontario. The unique workshop presented thirty-three dance classes over two days. Professional dancers and instructors from across Canada came to teach classes in: Jazz, Lyrical Jazz, Tap, Ballet, Modern, African Dance, Breakdance, Hip Hop, Flamenco, Yoga, and Pilates.
In 2007, Jessica headed up to Northern Ontario to choreograph for Lock and Keynote Productions. Led by Founder and Musical Director, Shari Porter, the three-week Musical Theatre workshop welcomed children from Cochrane, Timmins, and the surrounding area, and gave them the chance to sing, dance, and act in a professionally directed show. In 2013 Jessica worked with L & K once more to choreograph the musical, Willy Wonka Jr., at Grenfell Campus in Corner Brook, Newfoundland. In March 2014, Jessica back up to Cochrane to choreograph in L & K’s Glee Camp to singing and dancing hopefuls.
Jessica has choreographed a number of productions with DeGazon Music Studios; a school dedicated to teaching school-age children instrumental music and musical theatre by giving them experiences with professional directors, musicians, and choreographers. Works included Bye, Bye Birdie, The Sound of Music, and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. In 2013, Jessica initated a dance appreciation program through DeGazon Music offering an Intro to Dance class with a sampling of ballet, jazz, tap, and hip hop.
In May 2007, a proposal Jessica submitted to the selection committee of Dance Ontario’s Creative Partnerships Program, was accepted; she was commissioned to mount an original choreography. Her first Modern dance choreography was performed to two sold out audiences at the Fleck Dance Theatre in Toronto, in January of 2008.
In addition to performing and teaching, Jessica is a part-time Project Manager for Dance Ontario. She recently helped to administrate Connecting The Dots Halton; a forum for dance educators and studio owners to discuss the needs of dance students. She completed a project in May 2011 called Dance From A Distance, funded by the Ontario Arts Council, allowing dance students from rural communites the chance to learn and create with a professional artist from an urban centre using internet-based video blogging. She has programmed two events for Dance Ontario’s DanceWeekend at the Fleck Dance Theatre, including a Tap Dance Series (2004) and a Latin Dance Series (2005). Also in 2005, Jessica programmed and performed in, Dance Ontario celebrates TAP: Mr. Bojangles and Friends; a one-night only Tap gala held at the Harbourfront Studio Theatre, Toronto, with T.O. Tap, Turn on the Tap, What’s On? TAP!, and the late Kimberley Timlock.
She was an Administrative Assistant for DanceWorks and The CanDance Network both under the direction of Mimi Beck. Jessica is proud to take on new challenges in the dance world. Jessica has been heard on CIUT FM Radio promoting dance on the show Evidance, and was also the principal actress in a television commercial for Royal Taxi, in 2004. In late 2013, Jessica finished an arts administration diploma program through ManageCulture.com, affiliated through the University of Waterloo specializing in Fundraising.
Jessica and her husband, Richard, welcomed their first child, Jacob, on July 25th, 2005, and their second, Anna, on February 5th, 2010. She is thrilled to be a mother and has embraced this new and exciting role.