Jes DeVille is a choreographer and creative producer working across mediums to perform, commission, and present environmental dance across the globe. Their work bridges the gap between participatory performance and social practice, using awe as an access-point for altruism.
A hybrid of creative movement and adventure storytelling, DeVille’s work heralds physical fluency as a pathway for reconciling the relationships we have with ourselves, our communities, and the Lands we call “home”.
When asked about what their work means to them, Jess shares the following:
"My work with the body has evolved immensely during these past 16 years. From stage to screen, in schools, in senior centers, for circus-cabaret, and in ritual theatre or nightlife…I suppose there is a resonant theme of finding dignity through having the hard talks; Carving space for equity, vulnerability, agency, and access.
"In a time where we are at constant odds with so many systems of subjugation - I use dance as a form of resilience technology. It programs new operating systems for body, mind, and spirit; it uses regenerative thinking to tackle the complexities of generational trauma; and when performed in thoughtful ways - it has the potential to teach us the principles of social permaculture."
"What might our natural environment tell us about our own skills, strengths, and identities? Folk arts like dance and storytelling weave togetherness, represent our shared values and allow us to pass down valued knowledge that might otherwise be lost to time or circumstance.
"I believe we need this work now more than ever. Not to mention, in an era of a pandemic, bringing intention to the ways our feet find closeness with the Earth, growing appreciation for her - and accountability, as well, is a matter of survival.
"Truly, movement is medicine."
Jess's business Openhaus Athletics is a collection of entertainers and educators offering site-specific performances, classes, activations, installations, and storytelling adventures at the intersection of art and environmentalism.
It’s through this framework that they are building their latest installation as a resident of Design Science Studio.
"Through this project, I'm inviting participants to explore the principles found in nature through dance - and to dream into reality a world that holds reverence for all life."
You can support Jess and their work by following them on Instagram (@devilledance_co)!