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, Ballet, and Jazz at the Mick School of Dance. After graduating from high school, she attended Ryerson University’s 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 (now Randolph College for the Performing Arts). Part of the first cohort of the accelerated three-year program, she graduated with a Diploma in Musical Theatre in December of 1999.
Throughout the years, Jessica has had the pleasure and honour to meet and study with notable tap dancers: the late Gregory Hines, Maurice Hines, Tre Dumas, Linda Sohl Ellison, Aaron Tolson, Dianne Walker, Lane Alexander, Jason Samuels Smith, Heather Cornell, Anita Feldman, and Sam Weber. 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. They were invited to perform in Juba! An Evening of Percussive Dance in 2011, and again in 2017 with the remount of William Orlowski’s Brandenburg Concerto.
In 2016, Jessica landed the lead role of Mavis in the toe-tapping comedy, Stepping Out at the Alumnae Theatre, in Toronto, under the direction of Brenda Darling, sharing the stage with an amazing and diverse cast of actors and dancers.
When not performing you can find Jessica teaching around the Greater Toronto Area. She is on faculty at Center Stage School of Dance (Liz Haupert), DeGazon Music & Dance (Anthony/Rachel DeGazon), and The Tap Dance Centre (Kim Chalovich): 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, The DanceShoppe, Wonderland Dance, Across The Floor, and Dance Extreme. She has also guest instructed at dance conventions, including Florescence, Dance Master’s of America, the Canadian Dance Teacher’s Association, Performing Arts Educators of Canada, and The Dance Project.
Jessica is proud to introduce dance to young people, and teaches a tap/rhythm dance class for Pre-School and Kindergarten classrooms, weekly, throughout the school year.
Jessica was on the dance faculty at the Randolph Academy from 2002 to 2010, and acted as interim 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 has taught tap at the Sheridan Institute of Technology 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.
When not teaching or performing, Jessica has choreographed for Lock and Keynote Productions, led by founder and musical director, Shari Porter. In 2013 Jessica worked with L& K to choreograph the musical, Willy Wonka Jr., at Memorial University in Corner Brook, Newfoundland. In March 2014, Jessica headed to Cochrane, Ontario for L & K’s March Break Glee Camp, choreography for singing and dancing hopefuls. Jessica has choreographed a number of productions including Bye Bye Birdie, The Sound of Music, and Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, for youth productions.
In May 2007, a proposal Jessica submitted to Dance Ontario’s Creative Partnerships Program was accepted. She was commissioned to mount an original 15-minute choreography. Collaborating with her husband and media artist, Richard Munter, collaborator and editor, Ken Clanfield, and with music composer, Michael Ella, her first contemporary dance choreography was performed to two sold-out audiences at the Fleck Dance Theatre in Toronto, in January of 2008.
Jessica acted as Project Coordinator for Dance Ontario – an arts service organization. She helped coordinate Connecting The Dots Halton; a forum for dance educators and studio owners to discuss the needs of today’s dance students. She completed a project in May 2011 called Dance From A Distance, funded by the Ontario Arts Council, enabling dance students in rural communities the chance to learn and create with professional dance artists from urban cities, using internet-based video blogging. She has programmed two satellite series events for Dance Ontario’s Dance Weekend, 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, in Toronto, Ontario.
She was the Administrative Assistant at Dance Ontario, DanceWorks, and The CanDance Network under the direction of Rosslyn Jacob Edwards and Mimi Beck for seven years from 2003-20010. Jessica has been heard on CIUT FM Radio promoting dance on the show Evidance. In late 2013, Jessica finished an arts administration diploma program through ManageCulture.com, affiliated through the University of Waterloo specializing in fundraising and board development.
Jessica is proud to take on new challenges in the dance world. She is the former Chair of the Tap Committee for the Performing Arts Educators of Canada, a dance syllabus organization. She most recently collaborated with Kim Chalovich on the first edition of the Tap Dance Centre Syllabus – an entire unique syllabus based exclusively on tap dance, tap history, and musicality.
She began a t-shirt company in 2012 called TappyTees. A t-shirt line dedicated exclusively to tap dancers, her unique and fun designs are concepts she her husband create together.
Jessica and her husband, Richard, welcomed their first child, Jacob, on July 25th, 2005, and their second, Anna, on February 5th, 2010. She lives in Clarkson, Mississauga, Ontario and will continue to tap well into her 90’s.