Jessie Thompson is a Professional Dance artist
and Emerging Choreographer, specialising in Hip hop and experimental
contemporary dance. In 2021 Jessie received both a hatch award and residency
from Dance Ireland to develop her own work followed by the agility award to
create work with a cast and original music.
She also performed with Emma Martins Company,
United Fall in Night Dances with Dublin Theatre Festival and at PopUp in
Mermaid Arts Centre curated by Shaun Dunne and Nyree Yergainharsian. Jessie worked
with company Locked Creative on several productions and choreographer Joy
Ritter on Feature Film Directed by Floria Sigisimondi. She returned to choreograph
work for Dance2Connect Festival Leeds supported by Arts Council England, Lost
and Found Exhibition at Universal Space and Mentored artists at residencies in
Wexford Arts Centre supported by Issacs. Jessie choreographed several music
videos for Irish artists in recent years and worked on short/feature films, she
also performed in The Busk 2021 in support of Simon Community.
This year Jessie will be working on her own work
developing research initiated by the Agility Award and with Choreographers such
as Liz Roche, Monica Munoz and mentor Cathy Coughlan on new projects.
What did you do with your Agility award?
I researched and developed a new dance work with
a cast of 5 dancers in a week’s residency at Dance Ireland. We wrote to and
about each other, improvised about many challenging important topics. This work
is a reaction to relationships amongst the group, dynamics of friendship, a
support system and personal reflection of the past two years as artists. I was researching the work from both a film
and live theatre perspective and created accordingly hence why I worked with
two mentors Dancer, Robyn Byrne in District Funk Studios in my personal
residency as part of this award and Dancer/Videographer Douglas Reddan, who
also documented the research at Dance Ireland. Something that wasn’t planned
was exploring original music; this happened naturally with musician Jason
McNamara and gave the project a whole new life. Mentor and friend Cathy
Coughlan and Mateusz Szczerek gave some great guidance and tools throughout
this process for me.
receiving an Agility award meant to you as an artist/for your career?
For me receiving the award was a beautiful way
to reflect on where I am in my process as well as what I want to do and make
next. I got to explore and make work with my closest friends and be pushed past
my own personal limits, learn more about my creative process and upskill as a
maker/ collaborator. The collaboration
aspect of the process really stands out to me, as going forward now I have made
stronger connections with artists who inspire me. Professionally, receiving the
award has definitely attracted more opportunities for me as a Dancer as well as
an increase of support and interest for my own work previously made, to be
presented, or in the process of being made, to be supported.
you describe your creative process?
I would describe my creative process as
organised chaos, an instant reaction to life inside and around me. I improvise
and test ideas I have or sentences written down and pulled from a hat, on the
dancers around me, I really enjoy having someone there to bounce off.
Inspiration comes to me in many ways through nature, conversations and
synchronised events so often times I start over to just allow the flow of
something had a feeling of resistance. Playing many different genres of music
constantly while creating is also very important to me.
you say is your biggest challenge as an artist?
Being transparent, I would say balancing the
creative flow state while managing the administration and financial aspect of
being a young person working through a renting crisis and pandemic. I like to
spend a lot of time in nature and my personal practise every day to maintain
the ability to work in dance but sometimes this isn’t feasible for the current
state Ireland is in, which I find challenging. In saying that, I am extremely
lucky to be in a position I am in and getting the support I am, as we know
already how many people have close to nothing and that’s another reality I
struggle with processing. So I aim to
make work that has an impact and be able to help those in need further down my
the best piece of advice you received as an emerging artist?
Don’t be afraid of asking for advice.
who has influenced your practice the most?
The Irish street dance community, going to and
watching battles, the sessions and cyphers, the breakers, poppers, hip hop
dancers and krumpers and their support towards me to just do whatever I want to
do and be consistent with that.
are you doing next?
Next I’m going to seek further support
to continue research and development on my own works. I’m also engaging in a
programme to create and present a solo new work with an Irish Choreographer. I
am going to continue my practice and maybe pick up a new skill this year as I
explored some circus disciplines last year and had the urge to add more to my
practise. I will be organising another of my own events Battle of Zen and probably
take a step further into film. I am going to be studying some holistic
practises closely and begin to integrate them into my creative process and/or
my own dance/practise.