Jess Burgess (co-artistic director & founder) is a performer, choreographer and dance educator living in Richmond, Va. A James Madison University graduate, Burgess has trained extensively with acclaimed professionals in the dance community in the United States and abroad, including Sonia Rafferty, Donald Laney, Toneta Akers Toler, Isabel Gotzkowsky, Scott Smith (Siobhon Davies) and Keith Thompson. Delicately balancing a keen eye for the creative and a strong sense of business development and management, Burgess has flourished after graduation in an arts administration capacity in the nonprofit sector.
Burgess is also the Artistic & Executive Director at Dogtown Dance Theatre. RVA Dance Collective operates as the company in residence at this historic Manchester arts building. She is responsible for conceiving, developing, and implementing the artistic vision and focus of the organization, and for major decisions about the ongoing development of the aesthetic values and activities.
Hungry to satisfy her creative needs and entrepreneurial tendencies, Jess immediately began creating work and performing. Artistic Director and founder of her solo project, jessburgess|dance, Jess’ work has been seen by patrons of the arts at Jack Guidone Theatre (DC), Dance Place (DC), James Madison University and Courtsquare Theatre (Harrisonburg, Va), Mcvey Studio Theatre (RVA), Grace Street Theater (RVA) and Merce Cunningham Studios (NYC). Burgess also worked with Z Mullins Dance Company for three seasons as a company member, choreographer and graphic designer. Jess’ choreography piece of mind was selected to be a part of the 2009 Dance Place in Washington, DC.
Her passion for dance extends well beyond the stage and into the studio. A seasoned educator, Burgess has taught and choreographed for Dance & Company in Harrisonburg, Va, Little People’s Creative Workshop (RVA), University of Richmond, Radford University, James Madison University and St. Catherine’s school in Richmond. In 2008, she had the opportunity to reach at-risk adolescents in the Richmond community through a project she co-spearheaded with support from the Lifenet organization and Tara Mullins of Z Mullins Dance Company. The Utopia Project was designed to help teens find creative alternatives within the healing process through movement and self-awareness. Jess currently teaches advanced and intermediate modern technique classes, improvisation and choreography at The Dance Company (Mechanicsville, Va).
jessburgess|dance toured the east coast with the creative force of DK Dance Productions under artistic direction of Danica Kalemdaroglu in 2008. As the calendar shifted into 2007, jessburgessdance and DK Dance Productions merged to form rva dance collective to invigorate the modern dance scene in Richmond, Va. The collective continually works towards their on-going mission to bridge the gap between artists of all mediums in the city of Richmond. Formed under the assumption that great art cannot survive without the spirit of collaboration, the ultimate goal of rva dance collective is the union of all types of art in the Central Virginia area.
Jess continues to grow and evolve as a dancer, choreographer and person, and is thrilled about her journey ahead.