Jenny Pommiss

Jenny is a Brooklyn-based choreographer, performer, filmmaker, and teacher. With a neverending interest in crafting movement language, she studied Dance at Oberlin College and received an MFA from the Ohio State University, where she was a recipient of numerous grants including the Graduate Alumni Research award. She has choreographed over 30 live performance works and has made 6 dance films. Her work has been presented in NYC, San Francisco, Connecticut, Miami, Philadelphia, Toronto, Germany and Switzerland. Her film Out Here was an official selection at FilmFest by Rogue Dancer in 2022, and the body is 80% water was an official selection at Dance Camera Pendemania/Dance Camera Istanbul in 2022. Jenny’s work explores configurations of movement, text, sound, costume and video to craft non-linear narratives of women who inhabit liminal spaces that lie beneath the surface of the everyday. As she excavates these hidden spaces, she mines them for clues about how we navigate shifting relationships and landscapes, and grapple with both the chaos and quiet of the human experience. Jenny has spent the past 10 years creating a new high school dance program at the Grace Church School in NYC. Her goal as an artist and educator is to facilitate a sense of embodiment, self-discovery, community and possibility.

LABA Project Description: 

In the proposed work, broken lines are fold lines (working title), I plan to trace blood lines and fault lines back to a time when my grandfather drafted patterns in the garment district and my great grandmother sewed dresses with no patterns at all. I will be sifting through family photos and letters, school report cards, half-scribbled adolescent notes, and my late mother’s diary from 1956. These will be layered with the study of taboo in classic Jewish texts, and patchworked to reimagine moments lost in time. A diary, by definition, is a private daily record. It is a receptacle for the things we want to say and do, but don’t. At times, it gives us an opportunity to play potential outcomes out on the page. At other times, it is where we process a transgression we have already committed. My mother’s diary, with 365 entries (she never missed a day), references historical events, such as McCarthyism and Elvis Presley’s famous 1956 appearance on the Milton Berle show. It also chronicles a young woman navigating the ever changing space between what’s taboo and what’s acceptable. Being given this rare insight into the mind of my mother at age 14, and her daily life in 1956 Brooklyn, I am continually struck by the choices she made and how those intersected with the historical events at the time. broken lines are fold lines will use movement, video, text, and sound to investigate how taboos have evolved over time, how they are passed down from generation to generation, and how we choose to uphold or go against them.

What Taboo Would You Like To Break?

Bacon and Christmas trees