Jessie Jeanne Stinnett

“together apart”

Jessie Jeanne Stinnett is a choreographer and CJP grantee.

“Inspired by 1989 documentary interviews following the collapse of the Berlin Wall—an event which sparked a complex process of healing and reunification—my collaborators and I explored connections between those stories and the experiences of the ongoing effects of the pandemic. Our practices as a team often centered around learning, sharing, and understanding multicultural perspectives on life, communication, and cooperation.”

“together apart” by Jessie Jeanne Stinnett, featuring dancer Khris Henry (Photo: Jessie Jeanne Stinnett)
Jessie Jeanne Stinnett (Courtesy photo)

Jessie Jeanne Stinnett is a dance teacher, choreographer, and co-artistic director of Boston Dance Theater with veteran Israeli choreographer Itzik Galili. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in dance performance from The Boston Conservatory and a Master of Fine Arts degree in “Creative Practice: Dance Professional Pathway” from Trinity Laban Conservatoire, in conjunction with Independent Dance/Siobhan Davies Dance.

Most notably, Jessie has performed for the Metropolitan Opera, Tate Britain (UK), Prometheus Dance, Institute of Applied Systems Analysis (Vienna), The Boston Baroque Opera, and Bard College’s SummerScape Festival. Her choreographic work has been described by Hannah Chanatry of WBUR as “conceptually driven performance that unpacks the complexities of being female, and pushes the academic boundaries of choreography.” Her work has been sustained in part by grants from The Boston Foundation with support from The Barr Foundation in 2016 and 2021, CJP, New England Foundation for the Arts, Assets4Artists at MASS MoCA, and Fidelity Charitable.

Some of Jessie’s recent teaching and choreography credits include TEDxCambridge, Boston Ballet School, Dean College Dance Department, Keene State University Dance Department, Providence College Dance Division, Endicott College, Goethe-Institut Boston, Emerald Necklace Conservancy, Jewish Arts Collaborative, and Emmanuel Music. She is the recipient of the 2020 Boston Dancemakers Residency grant award and was the 2020 choreographer-in-residence at Boston Center for the Arts and Boston Dance Alliance.

Visit Boston Dance Theater’s website, and read more about Jessie here and here.

How does your connection to Jewish community influence your art?

My newest project that is being supported by CJP embraces and draws upon a multiplicity of Jewish identities within a larger, multicultural lens of inquiry. The cultural heritage represented by the creative team includes Latinx, Cape Verdean, Arabic, Haitian, and Jewish American. This team’s creative process is highly collaborative and centers the individual contributions, voices, and experiences of each team member equally. It will be part of the artistic process to consider how contemporary art-making practices can draw upon conflict resolution practices to be inclusive and celebratory of the multiplicity that each artist brings into the creation space.

Finish this thought: In order to create, I need…

Artists have a level of responsibility to assure that their art-making is socially relevant, and this has become ever-more critical in the world that has emerged since 2016. Over the last few years, I have consistently made curatorial choices that amplify the voices of BIPOC and women choreographers and has made work that brings awareness to social issues such as climate change, environmental and racial justice, and women’s rights.

For me, the measure of artistic success lies in the ability of the artwork to convey a socially relevant message and to inspire audiences to deeply consider themes within the work. It is my belief that the performing arts has the power to convey meaning in a profound way and can potentially aid in a shift toward global transformation with regard to society and culture.

What’s your next artistic challenge or project?

I’ll be collaborating with Yoni Battat and the BIPOC dance artists of Boston Dance Theater to create a new work of dance and music that celebrates multiculturalism and resilience. Incorporating both historical and contemporary ideologies, the work will celebrate our multicultural heritage and community in anticipation of the emergence of a more interconnected and conscientious society in 2022.

Learn more about CJP’s arts and culture initiative.

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