Workshops + Events





October 17th – 19th

Jess Pretty Residency

Choreographer • Dancer • Teacher • Writer • Artist


A teacher is an inventor, mediator, observer, participant, facilitator, and sharer of knowledge. My best teachers were the ones who never quit. Who always pushed me further, who made themselves available for critical conversations, who wanted to see me succeed, who didn’t scare me away with their power. Being a teacher is one of the most vulnerable positions to be in, but requires the most confidence. So much is at stake; there is the pressure to perform well, to pass on knowledge to students, and to help them realize their purposes. I want students to recognize the aesthetic histories and importance of the African diaspora so that when they engage in dialogue with their peers they know the stakes of what it is we’re doing in the classroom. So that they know that the rigor I push for in the classroom comes from a long line of dancing to heal, dancing to survive, dancing to find oneself in a world of no possibility. My goal is to create a domino affect of great leadership, through encouraging investigation, limitless possibilities and the importance of individuality. I believe everyone has the ability to push themselves beyond the perceived limitations of their bodies. Part of my role as a teacher is to help them realize this. And to realize that their presence, the energy coming off of their body, plays a role in knowledge, culture, and community building.

Jessica Pretty is a New York based dance artist, choreographer and teacher. She received her MFA in Dance from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign with a Queer Studies minor. Pretty has performed in works by Will Rawls, Jennifer Monson, Niall Jones, Cynthia Oliver, Abby Zbikowski and more. She has presented work at panoply performance lab, the CURRENT SESSIONS, three ACDA conferences, the Emerging Artists Concert Series at Green Street Studios, and Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.

Hip Hop with Jess Pretty

October 17th – 19th

Exact dates, times, and location to come!


Hip Hop is a multi-faceted culture that has continued to ebb and flow over and through time via the people in the community that continue to give it life and make sure that it grows forward. This hip hop class in particular is an investigation into three movement styles that contribute to the form; house, street jazz and commercial hip hop. We will use these styles to interrogate the ways in which we can locate euphoria and pleasure into the moving body as we digest our place within current societal relations. How can we use dance as a vessel to achieve this? What is the place and importance of music and popular culture in this investigation? Hip hop and house dance in particular were created and codified to be widespread forms of resistance against societies constraints and restraints on black and brown bodies. Forms of resistance that largely resulted in the building of the very communities that push the form forward. This class will focus on the development of community, body, awareness, artistic expression, movement quality and spatial awareness. Other focuses for the class include taking risks, building confidence, and using movement as a vehicle for stepping outside of our comfort zones. Students will build a diverse set of skills through a hip hop lens that will aid them in the future.

contemporaryTRAP with Jess Pretty

October 17th – 19th

Exact dates, times, and locations, coming soon!


This class is highly physical and highly sensational. I approach this class the same way I approach my research: How can we locate pleasure in euphoria in the body as we dance and carry with us the real stakes involved with being a part of our culture? Through looking at the multiple ways in which the body can process and produce movement influenced by an Africanist vernacular and aesthetic we will investigate the ways in which we use the strength and agility of the body to push ourselves our of our comfort zones and into a deep questioning of our physical practice. This includes but is not limited to; falling into different rhythms and directions by utilizing movement that invited us to be off balance, constantly shifting our weight, challenging our musicality and creating space that allows us to feel the volume of our kinesphere so that we may build trust within our moving selves.

Sneak peek of contemporaryTrap!

This residency is made possible through a Project Support Grant from the Arts Council of Indianapolis.