Originally from Dallas, Texas, Jessi Stegall is a dance-theatre artist, applied ethicist, arts educator, and media designer based in Boston, Massachusetts. Jessi approaches art-making to create dialogues through and with concepts that ignite her social curiosity and civic responsibility. She has been an artist-in-residence at the Harvard ArtLab, National Parks Service, Windhover Performing Arts Center, and Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, and was recently featured as one of Dance Magazine's "25 to Watch" (2022). Her choreographic work has been featured at the Dance Complex, Motion State Dance Film Festival, Cambridge Art Association, and Boston Arts Consortium for Health. As a dancer, Jessi has performed works by Jill Johnson, Ilya Vidrin, Ali Kenner Brodsky, LROD, and Jamila Glass. In addition to her work in dance, Jessi holds an M.S. in Bioethics from Harvard University, a B.S. in Expressive Art Therapy from Lesley University, and is an alumna of Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts.
Jessi works as a Research-Practitioner with the Partnering Lab, an applied research initiative focused on investigating the roots of ethical physical interaction. Jessi uses her experience in dance and creative healing to investigate the relationship between ability and expression in creative practice. While she believes art heals on multiple levels, Jessi's research focuses on the potential for harm and trauma in artistic processes. For her master's thesis, she worked with Clinical Psychologist Dr. Miriam Rowan, conducting research that investigated the ethical underpinnings of clinical interventions in professional dance companies. In her research, she asks: What is the role of bioethics in spaces with performance-specific ends? What are the roles, responsibilities, and virtues that are necessary to cultivate healthy, flourishing relationships in professional arts organizations? How might the ethical issues that arise in these spaces be uniquely situated within creative cultures? Jessi is committed to bringing Bioethics into professional dance and dance education spaces, utilizing existing frameworks to promote respect for autonomy, beneficence, nonmaleficence, and justice within dance communities. She currently teaches "The Ethics of Artistry" at Walnut Hill School for the Arts.
Jessi is a media and design fellow with the Learning Lab at the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning at Harvard University. In this role, she leads creative projects on integrating film, projection, and digital design into courses within the Theatre, Dance, & Media department.
Jessi is a proud alumna of Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (BTWHSPVA) where she studied Theatre & Dramatic Arts. Here she received formal acting training in the Stansilavski system, Strasburg Method, and Meisner technique. From 2016 - 2017, Jessi studied Theatre & Performance at Emerson College. She has studied under including Karon Cogdill, Ruth Zapporah, Christie Vela, Charlton Gavitt, Cassie Tunick, and Erin Schwall. She has performed a wide range of works including Stephen Sondheim, Aristophanes, and Thornton Wilder. After college, Jessi met choreographer and researcher Ilya Vidrin, who trained her in Latin Ballroom, Contemporary Ballet, and Modern Dance. She has since gone on to train with Jill Johnson, LROD, Mike Tyus, and Adrian Hoffman.
In addition to her performance and ethics career, Jessi is a visual artist specializing in acrylic painting and mixed media.