JAEMA JOY BERRY is an independent choreographer in New York City by way of Traverse City, MI, where she used to come home from kindergarten and cry because she couldn’t “run like the other kids.” Fearing for her future life as a hopelessly uncoordinated individual, her parents put her in a ballet class. She hasn’t looked back since!
Jaema holds a degree in Industrial Engineering from Northwester University, with a healthy side of dance major. While at NU she had the opportunity to work with Jan Bartoszek, Jeff Hancock, Joseph Mills, Molly Shanahan, Billy Siegenfeld, Joel Valentin-Martinez, Laura Wade, and others. She created work for student shows and served as Artistic Director of TONIK Tap, Northwestern’s tap dance company.
Jaema began presenting work professionally in Chicago as part of Dance Chicago’s Dance Slam. Her piece ranked seventh out of over thirty works by audience vote. Jaema co-presented her first evening-length work at Chicago’s Links Hall. This first collection of pieces, titled You Can’t Dance Out The Side of Your Mouth caused the Chicago Tribune’s Sid Smith to deem Jaema “precisely the sort of promising young talent the city would be wise to entice.” Northwestern University presented YCDOTSOYM in December 2009.
The Way We Danced 'Til Three, her second full-length work set to the music of George and Ira Gershwin, premiered in Chicago in August 2010. Jaema relocated to New York City in late 2010, and began showing work in various venues throughout the city, including Dance New Amsterdam, The Gene Frankel Theatre, and Steps on Broadway. After a successful campaign on kickstarter.com and a fiscal sponsorship from New York Foundation for the Arts’ Artspire program, The Way We Danced ‘til Three premiered in New York in May 2012 at Theatre80 St. Marks.
Jaema trained at Visceral Dance Center, Lou Conte Dance Studio, and performed in independent productions in Chicago. You can find her in class at Steps on Broadway and in various performance venues both presenting her own choreography and performing contemporary modern work.
She strives to present creative work that is relevant, personal, and that never takes itself too seriously!