Jessica Zeller is an Associate Professor of Dance in the TCU School for Classical & Contemporary Dance. She holds a Ph.D. in Dance Studies and an MFA in Dance from The Ohio State University. Zeller is the author of Shapes of American Ballet: Teachers and Training before Balanchine (Oxford University Press, 2016), which unearths the work of several European and Russian ballet pedagogues during the pre-Balanchine era in the United States. Her research on nineteenth and twentieth century ballet pedagogy and pedagogues has been published in Dance Chronicle, the Journal of Dance Education, the Society for Dance History Scholars’ publication Conversations Across the Field of Dance Studies, and in the Oxford University Press anthology Dance on Its Own Terms: Histories and Methodologies. Zeller’s current research brings ballet into conversation with progressive pedagogical approaches and philosophies of embodiment. Zeller will be a Scholar-in Residence in the Department of Dance at Temple University in Fall 2019.
A New York native and student of Maggie Black, Rochelle Zide-Booth, and Jan Hanniford Goetz, Zeller’s studio teaching makes reference to their work and is complemented by her research into ballet’s national styles and pedagogies. Zeller has danced several works from the ballet canon—most notably the role of Giselle, the Sugar Plum Fairy, and the Act I Pas de Trois in Swan Lake. She has danced in Bebe Miller’s work, as a guest artist with the Indianapolis Opera, with project-based companies in New York City, and at the American Cabaret Theatre, where she collaborated with singers, actors, dramaturges, and musicians. She was on the ballet faculty of the BalletMet Dance Academy in Columbus, Ohio, before joining the faculty at TCU. Zeller currently serves on the Dance Chronicle advisory board, the Journal of Dance Education review board, and the board of CORPS de Ballet, International.
Book chapter: Zeller, Jessica. “‘Can you feel it?’: Pioneering Pedagogies that Challenge Ballet’s Authoritarian Traditions.” Forthcoming in (Re)Claiming Ballet. Edited by Adesola Akinleye.
Monograph: Zeller, Jessica. Shapes of American Ballet: Teachers and Training before Balanchine. New York: Oxford University Press, 2016.
Book chapter: Zeller, Jessica. “Developing the American Ballet Dancer: The Pedagogical Lineage of Rochelle Zide-Booth.” In Dance on its Own Terms: Histories and Methodologies. Edited by Karen Eliot and Melanie Bales. 283-304. New York: Oxford University Press, 2013.
Journal article: Zeller, Jessica. “On Dance Pedagogy and Embodiment.” Conversations Across the Field of Dance Studies 38. Society of Dance History Scholars (2017): 17-20.
Journal article: Zeller, Jessica. “Reflective Practice in the Ballet Class: Bringing Progressive Pedagogy to the Classical Tradition.” Journal of Dance Education 17.3 (2017): 99-105. https://doi.org/10.1080/15290824.2017.1326052
Journal article: Zeller, Jessica. “Luigi Albertieri: Bringing Italian Traditions to American Ballet.” Dance Chronicle 38.1 (2015): 55-80.
Zeller, Jessica. “In the Liminal Space: Pedagogy at the Intersection of our Ideals and our Humanity.” Presented in the Colloquium Series in the Center for the Humanities at Temple (CHAT), as part of the Scholar-in-Residence Program in the Department of Dance at Temple University. November 12, 2019. Philadelphia, PA.
Zeller, Jessica. “Fiery Tempers and Pocket Violins: Italian Ballet Pedagogues in Turn-of-the-Century America.” Panel presentation at the CORPS de Ballet, International annual conference. Florence, Italy. July 2018.
Zeller, Jessica. “Tradition and Innovation: Dance Manuals and Ballet Training in Early Twentieth Century America.” CORPS de Ballet, International annual conference, Provo, UT. June 2017.
Zeller, Jessica. Opening remarks at Maggie Black Memorial event (February 2016; New York City Center Studios; Maggie Black Memorial Planning Committee, sponsor).
Zeller, Jessica. “Destabilizing the Dance Studies Classroom with Constructivist Pedagogy OR Starting the Semester Without a Syllabus: My Experience Teaching ‘Dance Theory.’” CORPS de Ballet, International annual conference, Pittsburgh, PA. June 2014.
Member, CORPS de Ballet, International
Member, Dance Studies Association
Member, Society of Dance History Scholars (2007-2017)
Advisory Board, Dance Chronicle (A Taylor & Francis Journal)
Chair, Archives & History Committee, CORPS de Ballet, International (Council of Organized Researchers for the Pedagogical Study of Ballet, International).
Peer Reviewer: Oxford University Press; Dance Chronicle, Journal of Dance Education
Review Board, Journal of Dance Education (A Taylor & Francis Journal)
Board, CORPS de Ballet, International (Council of Organized Researchers for the Pedagogical Study of Ballet, International)