Born in Hobart, Tasmania, Jesse Scales completed her early training in Adelaide with Terry Simpson where she gained the RAD Solo Seal at 16. Jesse then went on to study at the New Zealand School of Dance, majoring in Classical Ballet, and graduated in 2011 with a National Certificate in Dance Performance.
During this time, Jesse performed Jiri Kylian’s Evening Songs and Un Ballo, remounted by Arlette van Boven, George Balanchine’s Emeralds, remounted by Diana White, Paul Taylor’s Company B, remounted by Richard Chen See, Bournonville’s Napoli Act 3 remounted by Frank Anderson and Antony Tudor’s Continuo, remounted by Donald Mahler. Jesse was also selected to represent the New Zealand School of Dance in Tahiti as a Guest Artist in the 3e Rencontre Internationale De Danse, dancing Odette in Act 2 of Swan Lake.
In 2011, Jesse was a recipient of the Adopteer een danser Scholarship which allowed her to attend the Nederlands Dans Theater Summer Intensive in The Hague. During this Intensive, Jesse experienced the works of renowned Choreographers – Lightfoot/Leon, Crystal Pite, Jiri Kylian and Ohad Naharin’s contemporary Gaga technique. In 2009, Desmond Richardson awarded Jesse a full scholarship to study with him and Co Artistic Director Dwight Rhoden at the Complexions Contemporary Ballet Summer Intensive in New York.
Jesse has also received two Project & Development Grants from the Carclew Youth Arts Board and a Travel Grant from the Adelaide Festival Centre Foundation to help achieve her goals.
At the end of 2009, Jesse joined the Melbourne Ballet Company for Project Six: Moment of Inertia and worked with choreographers Simon Hoy and Robert Kelly for which she was awarded the Artistic Director’s Young Dancer Award.
Jesse also appeared in Meryl Tankard’s Australian Dance Theatre performance of 1998 and Graeme Murphy’s Swan Lake with the Australian Ballet.
Jesse joined Sydney Dance Company in 2012 and performed in the world premiere of Rafael Bonachela’s 2 One Another (2012-2015); Project Rameau (2012-2013); Emergence (2013 and 2015); 2 in D Minor (2014); Scattered Rhymes (2014), Frame of Mind (2015), New Breed (2015) and Triptych (2015). Frame of Mind won the 2015 Helpmann Award for ‘Best Choreography in a Dance Work’ and ‘Best Dance Work’.
She has also worked with guest choreographers Stephanie Lake (Dream Lucid) as part of Contemporary Women and Elektra; Alexander Ekman (Cacti); Jacopo Godani (Raw Models); Gideon Obarzanek (L’Chaim!); Andonis Foniadakis (Parenthesis); and New Breed (2014) including Gabrielle Nankivell‘s Wildebeest and Cass Mortimer Eipper‘s Dogs and Baristas.
Jesse was a part of the 2013 collaboration with Kaldor Public Art Projects for the contemporary art exhibition 13 Rooms where Sydney Dance Company featured in Allora and Calzadilla’s Revolving Door. She also toured North America, South America and Russia with the acclaimed 2 One Another, winner of the ‘Best Ensemble’ Award in the 2012 Green Room Awards and the 2013 Australian Dance Award for ‘Outstanding Achievement in Choreography’ and ‘Outstanding Performance by a Company’.
Jesse performed a feature role in William Forsythe’s Quintett for which she was nominated for a 2015 Helpmann Award for ‘Best Female Dancer’ for her performance and the winner of the 2015 Green Room Award for ‘Female Dancer’.