ARTIST SPOTLIGHT 08: JESSICA PRETTY
Get to know Jessica Pretty, movement maker and performer, and 8 of 10 presented artists during our upcoming performance series, Volume VI, Issue II: MOVEMENT CURRENCY from August 19 to 21, 2016. Learn more about Jessica on our Artist Spotlight and see her work in 01 RISK // Friday, August 19 at 7:30pm + 04 CREDIT // Sunday, August 21 at 7pm.
Three words that Describe your Choreography
Visceral, Euphoric, and Spatially Dynamic
Jessica Pretty holds an MFA in Dance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, with a Queer Studies minor. Jessica has performed for Jennifer Monson, Niall Jones, Cynthia Oliver, Abby Zbikowski, among others. She has presented work at three ACDA conferences, the Emerging Artists Concert Series at Green Street Studios, and Krannert Center for the Performing Arts. Jessica received the Wanda M. Nettle Prize for Student Choreography for her thesis “Part two: the spectacle of the us”.
About Jessica's Creative Process
As a black female dancing body I am constantly investigating methods of world-building so as to have a self created limitless potential for possibility within a society where my body is deemed impossible. I’m interested in friction and euphoria; tirelessly rubbing up against variant possibilities to fold into different times, spaces, and relationships. What I’m building for myself and others is something of a survival strategy; something of a method to the madness.
Define “contemporary dance/performance” in your own words.
I don’t think that contemporary dance is meant to be defined, which is what I like about it. Contemporary dance feels like the space where all of my dance training and interests can come together in a beautiful marriage that results in a bleeding of styles so often thought to be separate or needing to remain in categories. Contemporary pushes against that. Especially keeping with the theme of “newness” that often accompanies the word “contemporary” outside of dance spaces. Similar to street dances that evolve through the people participating and influencing each other, I think contemporary dance does that as well. Kind of morphing it’s way forward like a beautiful giant blob of goodness.
What does the dance/performance world need more of? Less of?
Bodies of color. Loud music. Non-traditional performance venues. Connection to audiences. Intention that isn’t mocking itself. Full bodied movement, physicality, movement that sweeps up space and takes the breath away. Movement that demands more of the body in a way that helps to unravel other potentials within said movement. I.e., world building, locating ecstasy, time travel.
What is your favorite part of the body, and why?
The entire part. I grew up being groomed to desire my body to always be different, smaller, less than what it was in order to “fit in” or seem “healthy”. It bred low self-esteem especially within dance classes, performances, etc. I had to tell myself that my body is exactly the way that it is meant to be. If I’m happy, that’s all that matters. If I feel good, that’s all that matters. So I love every part of my body. And I make sure to tell myself this everyday.
See Jessica in Volume VI, Issue II: MOVEMENT CURRENCY, in 01 RISK // Friday, August 19 at 7:30pm + 04 CREDIT // Sunday, August 21 at 7pm.