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Meet Jessie Lee Thorne

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jessie Lee Thorne.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Jessie Lee. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
From hobby to passion to career. The journey from the beginning to where I am now is one that I often reflect upon, as I think it is an incredible thing to check in with all you’ve been through and remind yourself of all the lessons you’ve learned. I began dancing at a very young age when it was just a hobby, and it quickly developed into a deep passion as it became a home away from home. I remember the change from hobby to passion happened when my life at home went through a drastic shift. Dance became the place where I let my emotions out, it became the community I needed, and it eventually became the place where I found my true self. I decided at that point that this is what I wanted to be doing with my life. I just loved it and couldn’t get enough of it and how it made me feel. So, once high school came around, I auditioned for the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts. My time at LACHSA was such a pivotal time in my life.

My weakness came out to play and my strengths tried to beat them down. Being surrounded by an entire school of artists: dancers, musicians, and actors was something I now realize I took for granted. I learned so much from the incredible artists that surrounded me and was definitely formed by the lessons and examples I saw in this school. I then moved to Boston to attend The Boston Conservatory, which again was a life-changing time in my life thanks to the teachers and community of artists that filled the streets of Boston. This is where I discovered my love for choreography. Upon graduating, I moved to Italy for 2 years to tour with a dance company based in Tuscany. This truly was the life. I would ride my bike to “work”, and as I passed the Tuscany River and the gorgeous buildings, I would daydream and think how my child self would have never imagined this. And yet here I was, living in Italy, dancing everyday, traveling around the world, performing in gorgeous theaters, and eating the BEST food! What a gift to be able to do exactly what you want to do everyday.

As everything has to end at some point, that time came and I moved back to LA. Immediately life was different. No longer did the government support that arts like they do in Europe. We are on our own. We gotta fight to survive in our business. Thus the start of the change from passion to career. It was in this time that I learned if I wanted to dance in America, I would have to change my mindset on what it means to have a career as a dancer. I fortunately joined The TL Collective, an LA based dance company, right when I moved back, but at this time it was a project company, and other than teaching a bit, I realized I had to get a side job. This was a rude awakening. I felt that I had failed coming from a successful touring company and then needing to have a job besides dance to help pay the bills. After a lot of internal work and reality checks, I began to acknowledge that having a side job didn’t mean I was failing. BUT I also realized that I wanted to be financially sufficient through dance, and this meant I needed to step up and put myself out there more. I began teaching more workshops, choreographing, and performing as a freelance artist. I started my own company “Poets In Motion” and with lots of hard work, co-produced my first multidisciplinary event, and premiered my first 30 minute length work.

I truly believe that you have to commit to putting all your “blood, sweat, and tears” into whatever you do or else it just won’t happen. That and dealing with a little bit of bull sh>?!t along the way haha.

Has it been a smooth road?
The road is never smooth while having a career as a freelance artist. At least that’s been my experience. I think the best way to handle the bumpy road is to never lose faith, never forget why you do what you do, never forget the love you have for it, never forget all the things you gave up in order to become an artist and to always remember that when you have something unique to say, you just gotta say it.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
Being a performer, being a choreographer, it is the greatest thing I could do with my life. My company Poets In Motion is a company which houses dance performances, live and on film. I’m interested in creating a company that focuses on both realms, due to my love for both, and the fact that each medium can capture something different. I enjoy a piece with a good narrative, one with a clear purpose, one with theatrics, movement, and more. My goal is to create a new world for someone to step into. A place that captures you and takes you on a ride.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
We have a big melting pot going on right now. I think in the coming years we will melt more and more. Concert work is showing up in commercial projects, ballet companies are now performing Hip Hop on pointe, contemporary companies are infusing more styles, and technology is being featured in many works. Art is constantly changing, and I am excited to be a part of this continuous change.

Contact Info:

  • Email:
  • Instagram: @JessieLeeThorne

Image Credit:
Zachary Barrett Kemper, Megan Guise Photography

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