What role does dance play in your day-to-day life? How about in your culture, community, family or background?
It sounds cheesy but dance is my life. All I have ever wanted to do is dance. I believe dance of all forms is undervalued in our current North American society, but when you look at ancient cultures from around the world dance, song and music are integral to these cultures, woven into everyday life. I truly believe we as humans heal, learn, communicate and feel united through dancing and singing together. It is a beautiful thing and I am so thankful to have dance in my everyday life.
Which artists are you most readily influenced by?
I am influenced and inspired by so many artists of all kinds. I am inspired by my peers and colleagues and the seemingly endless dedication and passion I see in the Toronto dance community as a whole. I feel very influenced and inspired by our local legends: Julia Sasso, Peggy Baker and Andrea Nann. Also, choreographer Tracey Norman. We graduated from York University at the same time and have had the pleasure of working together for over ten years. I don’t think I would be who I am as a dancer or a person without her influence and support.
What are your plans for the near future?
This summer I will be dancing with Kaha:wi Dance Theatre on a project called Tkaronto Bounce that was commissioned by and to be performed as part of the Pan Am Games. I am also dancing in a new work by choreographer Aria Evans set to première as part of Summerworks Performance Festival in August.
About Jesse Dell A graduate of the dance program at York University Jesse Dell has worked as a contemporary dance artist for a decade, performing across Canada and the US while creating over ten original choreographic works. Jesse has had the privilege of performing work by Peggy Baker, Kate Franklin, Susan Lee, Shannon Litzenberger, Tracey Norman, Julia Sasso, Holly Small and Samara L. Thomson, as well as for The Canadian Opera Company, Kaha:wi Dance Theatre with Artistic Director Santee Smith, Larchaud Dance Project, The Scandelles and JDdance, a collective she co-founded in 2009 with Jordana Deveau. As a choreographer, Jesse has created work for the Art Gallery of Ontario, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, The School of Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre, Festival of Dance Annapolis Royal, Half Second Echo and Dans Kamera Istanbul.