Jessica Tong (Associate Artistic Director) trained at the University of Utah with a ballet focus and danced with the Utah Ballet for two years while finishing her high school education. She began her professional performance career with BalletMet under the leadership of David Nixon. Tong then moved to New York City, where she experimented in a wide-variety of freelance work before taking a position with Eliot Feld’s Ballet Tech, eventually joining Hubbard Street 2 in 2004 under the directorship of Julie Nakagawa.
Tong advanced to the main company under Jim Vincent and continued under his successor, Glenn Edgerton, whose mentorship continues to this day. Over an 11-year span, Jessica was fortunate to dance with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago on local and international stages, performing principal roles in works by Hubbard Street founder, Lou Conte, and by contemporary greats Nacho Duato, Mats Ek, Jiri Kylian, Ohad Naharin, and Twyla Tharp to name a few. She has also originated roles in works by Aszure Barton, Alejandro Cerrudo, Jorma Elo, Victor Quijada, and Robyn Mineko Williams, among others.
Upon retiring from the stage, Tong assumed the role of Rehearsal Director at Hubbard Street, maintaining repertoire by the likes of Duato, Naharin, Crystal Pite and William Forsythe. Tong also assisted choreographers like Kyle Abraham, Brian Brooks, Rena Butler, and Osnel Delgado on new creations for the company. In Spring 2020, Tong was named Associate Artistic Director and led the company in a programming pivot. In this new role Tong planned and directed Hubbard Street’s first ever all-virtual Season 43, presenting five new dance films free of charge to online audiences everywhere, and created programming that partnered with Chicago DanceMakers Forum and Final Bow for Yellowface.
Named one of Dance Magazine’s 25 to Watch in 2009, Jessica has served on the Dance Ambassador committee for Dance for Life Chicago, served on national grants panels including the 92nd St Y’s Inaugural Future Dance Festival, and in 2013 had the honor of traveling to North Africa as part of DanceMotion USA, a program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and Brooklyn Academy of Music that facilitated cross-cultural exchange through dance. Tong has lead Hubbard Street summer intensives, translated works as a repetiteur, and conducted master classes throughout the states.