Jessica Madden was born and raised in Frederick, Maryland. She was first introduced to dance at the age of 8, and studied at Mid-Maryland Performing Arts Center from 1998-2008. In 2008, Jessica had the opportunity to attend Broadway Theatre Project, before heading to Slippery Rock University where she received dual degrees in Dance and Elementary Education. Upon graduation, Jessica moved to Chicago, where she worked for five years as a Teaching Artist for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago in their Education, Youth, Community, and Adaptive Dance Programs, and with whom she continues her Teaching Artist work during her summers. From 2017-2018, Jessica also had the privilege to expand her teaching to include Lookingglass Theatre and Chicago Ballet Arts. She is currently a third-year M.F.A. Candidate in Dance (Choreography) at The University of Iowa, where she received an Iowa Arts Fellowship and Teaching Assistantship position within the Department of Dance. During her time at Iowa, she has had the opportunity to create several new works, expand her creative practices, and to be a part of the process and presentation of works by Ailey Picasso, Stephanie Miracle, and Melinda Jean Myers, in both Iowa and Chicago.
Artist Statement (Excerpt)
As an artform based in the body, I believe that dance is uniquely situated to be a catalyst of human connection and empathy, through the interrelatedness of our own corporeality and the carriage of our common humanity and experience. It is my belief that the purpose of dance is to create work that connects and communicates with intention and purpose . . . It is through this visceral communication that I believe empathetic connection can be found.
•Kinesthetic Empathy (and how to cultivate it), and its potential to catalyze human connection and social change.
•Embodied Memory (as a source of movement generation).
•Use of narrative and text within in dance performance.
•Tactile elements, as possible entry points for kinesthetic engagement of an audience in choreography.