Faculty Profile Jessica Tong

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    Jessica Tong

    Jessica Tong



    Jessica trained at the University of Utah with a ballet focus and danced with the Utah Ballet for two years while finishing her high school education. She began her professional performance career with BalletMet under the leadership of David Nixon, and then moved to New York City where she experimented in a wide variety of freelance work before taking a position with Eliot Feld’s Ballet Tech, eventually joining Hubbard Street 2 in 2004 under the directorship of Julie Nakagawa.

    Tong advanced to the main company under Jim Vincent and continued under his successor, Glenn Edgerton. Over an 11-year span, Jessica was fortunate to dance with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago on local and international stages, performing principal roles in works by Hubbard Street founder, Lou Conte, and by contemporary greats Nacho Duato, Mats Ek, Jiri Kylian, Ohad Naharin, and Twyla Tharp to name a few. She has also originated roles in works by Aszure Barton, Alejandro Cerrudo, Jorma Elo, Victor Quijada, Penny Saunders, and Robyn Mineko Williams, among others. Upon retiring from the stage, Tong assumed the role of Rehearsal Director at Hubbard Street, maintaining repertoire by the likes of Duato, Naharin, Crystal Pite and William Forsythe. Tong also assisted choreographers like Kyle Abraham, Brian Brooks, Rena Butler, Osnel Delgado, Darrell Grand Moultrie, and Jermaine Spivey on new creations for the company. In Spring 2020, Tong was named Associate Artistic Director and led the company in a programming pivot, planning and directing Hubbard Street’s first ever all-virtual Season 43, presenting five new dance films free of charge to online audiences everywhere. She also created programming that forged new collaborative relationships with Chicago DanceMakers Forum and Final Bow for Yellowface.

    Named one of Dance Magazine’s 25 to Watch in 2009, Jessica has served on the Dance Ambassador committee for Dance for Life Chicago and on national grants panels and mentorship programs including 92NY’s Inaugural Future Dance Festival and Rhode Island Women’s Choreographic Project. In 2013 she had the honor of traveling to North Africa as part of DanceMotion USA, a program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and Brooklyn Academy of Music that facilitated cross-cultural exchange through dance. Tong directed HSDC summer intensives, translated works as a repetiteur, and has lead movement classes throughout the United States. Most recently, she has become a founding board member of Gold Standard Arts Foundation.

    Class Description:

    Jessica uses ballet exercises as the foundation for class, but further emphasizes the fundamentals of spiral, weight, and imagery to free up the emotional power of bodies in space. She guides artists with a sensitivity to and compassion for their vast experiences and perspectives, encouraging freedom in individuality, while also bringing joy and play to cultivate a love for dance above all else. In her years as a dancer and artistic leader alike, Tong directed HSDC summer intensives, translated works as a repetiteur, and has lead movement classes throughout the United States.

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