Jess studied at Reed College and the London Contemporary Dance School before graduating from Cornish College of the Arts with a BFA in Dance magna cum laude. She teaches dance and yoga in Seattle at Velocity Dance Center, the Gage Academy of Art and at UPrep, an independent Middle and Upper School where she has been a member of the Fine Arts Department faculty for 12 years. Jess has also taught at the Bertschi School, led yoga for Dance This! at the Seattle Theater Group, choreographed for the Youth Theater Northwest, led classes at Fred, and been an Artist-in-Residence for the Campbell County School District in Gillette, WY and the Des Moines Elementary School in Des Moines, WA.
At UPrep Jess recently designed and led an immersive 3-week Art Lab course exploring the creative process through the intersection of dance, visual art, theater, writing and mindfulness for students in grades 7 and 8. This January she developed and co-taught an interdisciplinary course in collaboration with the Colegio San Jose school in Barranquilla, Colombia exploring culture, dance and identity for students in grades 10-12. Last April she travelled with UPrep's Global Programs department to Gabarone, Botswana where she co-led a cultural exchange program for teenagers including camping in Chobe National Park, learning marimba with the world famous group at the Maru-A-Pula School and experiencing one of the 7 wonders of the world, Mosi-oa-Tunya or Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.
In the early 2000's Jess achieved local notoriety as Debbie Dazzle in the Seattle guerrilla performance art duo FANKICK! The duo was named one of the "65 Best Ways To Love Our City" by Seattle Metropolitan magazine. "...these two women remind us that dance can happen anywhere, anytime and be just as uplifting when your tongue is firmly in your cheek." -Seattle Metroplitan. FANKICK! usually appeared dancing on the street in ephemeral art pieces. "Once the weather gets warm, the strains of David Bowie floating out of FANKICK!'s soundsystem may seduce you around a street corner." -Marcie Sillman, KUOW. The duo also performed at Velocity Dancer Center, Neumos, Chop Suey, Mo Pop, the Olympic Sculpture Park and more. FANKICK! was commissioned by Microsoft, the Seattle Art Museum, Henry Art Gallery, the Wexley School for Girls and the Capitol Hill Block Party. "...these two fabulous young ladies are armed with massive amounts of energy and neon-colored attire so they can dance their way into your hearts." -The Stranger.
Jess has performed with many notable choreographers and companies over the last two decades. She toured with Mark Haim Dance Theater's piece This Land Is Your Land which was named "one of the most influential works in the past 15 years." -Dance Magazine. Jess has performed both nationally and internationally at the Southern Theater (MN), PICA's TBA Festival (OR), the Myrna Loy Center (MT), Dance Theater Workshop (NY), the Joyce Theater (NY), American Dance Festival at Duke University (NC), the Consumer Electronic Showcase (NV), Colegio San Jose (Barranquilla, Colombia) and in the ArtDanThe Festival (Paris, France). She has worked with a variety of dance artists including the Seattle Opera, Pat Graney Company, SOM Performance, Amy O'Neal, Greg Thompson Productions, Crispin Spaeth Dance Group, LeGendre Performance, Scott Powell Performance, Reggie Watts, Tommy Smith, Deborah Wolf, Fae Rose Phalen, Rainbow Fletcher, the Castaways, Hypernova Contemporary Dance, Mark Haim, Diana Cardiff, Sara Jinx, Andrew Schneider and more.
Jess was featured in two Macklemore & Ryan Lewis music videos And We Danced and Thrift Shop. Other film work includes Karn Junkinsmith's The Chronicles of Cleo and Jack, Vockah Redu's Fantahsea, Kris Orlowski's Pieces We Are, and the Wimps' Dump. Jess has performed live with several bands including rock group the Young Evils and New Orleans legendary bounce artist Vockah Redu.
Jess completed her yoga teacher training with Shiva Rea at the Exhale Center for Sacred Movement in 2007 and continues to study with Kathleen Hunt of Samadhi Yoga. In 2018 she received a grant to travel to Rishikesh, Dharamasala and Varanasi India where she studied with Mittra Rawat, the Sheev Yoga Peeth and the Vishnu Yoga Shala. Jess is also influenced by studies with Dharma Mittra, Andrey Lappa, Seane Corne, Sharon Gannon, Kino MacGregor and Gary Kraftstow. In her personal practice Jess explores a variety of traditions from vinyasa and ashtanga to yin and meditation.
When not teaching, dancing or practicing yoga, Jess spends as much time as possible at the beach.