Jessica Roseman is a dance artist who incorporates healing arts philosophies into her improvisational choreography. Sensing and expressing the right action for the moment guides her work. She studied Dance and African American Studies with Honors at Wesleyan University. Jessica’s solo choreography has been presented by the Miami Light Project, Wesleyan University, The Dance Complex, Movement Research, and The Field. She danced professionally in New York in the 90’s, cofounding Prowess, a downtown dance collective for women of color. In Miami, she toured internationally with improvisational company Mary Street Dance Theatre. She has performed work with Bebe Miller, Clarinda Mac Low, and Headlong Dance Theater, among others. Jessica recently came out of dance retirement to reclaim embodied performance anew. She was honored with an Associate Artist Residency at the Atlantic Center for the Arts to work with Deborah Hay. She was selected for the Cambridge Dance Complex aMaSSiT Residency in early 2019. Jessica has been collaborating with composer/musician Jorrit Dijkstra in Buzz: Improvisational Duets for Dance and Saxophone for three years.  Buzz has been presented by Wesleyan University, at Constellation in Chicago, Dance Complex, and Driff Music Festival, and by the Somerville Arts Council. She lives with her 9 year old twin son and daughter in Lexington, where she practices therapeutic massage and the Feldenkrais Method.

artist statement

I am a Boston based dancer, choreographer, Feldenkrais Practitioner, massage therapist, mother. Sandwiched between helping my folks and parenting my kids, it often gets overwhelmingly complicated. My father is Jewish, my mother is from Jamaica, and they have been married for 52 years, despite the odds. They have dedicated their lives to support each other and their 2 artist children. My brother is a jazz trombonist in New York. My father donated his kidney so my mother could get a transplant. I recognize the privileges my brother and I have been afforded with our folks’ continued generosity. I would not be here as I am without them.

I danced professionally for a decade in New York, Miami, and Philadelphia, dancing in improvisational companies, pickup choreographies, and my own solo work. I retired from performing 20 years ago as I grew more interested in the Feldenkrais Method, helping people to sense, feel, and move better by building awareness and improving coordination. 

I moved back to my Boston roots to support my mother’s health, my father’s business, and eventually start my own family.  It’s not something I normally or easily talk about, but in the spirit of openness, I wanted share with you how I came back to dancing. My first son died while I was in early labor. He would have been 12 this year. Birthing him was the hardest thing I ever had to do in my life. I felt at once the extreme power and wisdom of my body, and at the same time a sense of betrayal by experiencing death in moment meant for life giving. My arms were empty, my breasts were leaking milk, my breath shallow, and I was psychically cut off from the waist down. It took a lot for work on many different levels to cope with PTSD, a process too difficult to mention here. Sensing and expressing the right action for the moment has been my process in healing others, in my own healing, and in my parenting. 

But, after many years of work at reclaiming my relationship to my whole self, I started feeling empowered, with a deep hunger to dance again. I felt it a necessary political act to express myself physically in the presence of others. Dancing is my means to express my existence. My body moving in space in relation to the world around me affirms that I positively effect change.

My trusted friend, saxophone player Jorrit Dijkstra, and I developed an improvisational duet together called Buzz, which we started performing over a year ago, and will perform again in Cambridge, MA in September, 2019. Buzz draws heavily upon free improvisation practices in music and dance. We dialogue across space with sound, rhythm, touch, weight, and expression to compose abstract stories. Buzz inherently explores the politics of our identities in space together. What does it mean for a Dutch man and an African American woman to share the stage? How do we communicate as equals?

I’m developing an evening length dance, Come To Me, of which I performed an excerpt at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in New Smyrna, FL, in March, 2019 and presented by the aMaSSiT program at the Dance Complex in Cambridge in June, 2019. This solo, with Dramaturgy by Grace Mi-He Lee, examines the cultural and physical practices of making oneself feel better. Instead of identifying and appropriating the sensations of trauma, I’m exploring approaches to pleasure: In these times, how do we delicately navigate our daily experience to find and share positive feeling?  Where and how do we find it? Can we find meaning and connection in our quest for balanced fulfillment, for elation, for endorphins? By what means can pleasure be conveyed in a performance experience? While examining these questions, Come To Me aims to challenge the audience’s perceptions of viewing dance.

I’m interested in the sound vibrations of the body, places where we resonate to specific notes. I’m excited and confounded by physical challenges, impossible dances, exposing the ugly. I also am exploring sensuality, endurance, and finding sustainable movement for my aging body.