Written by Jessica Miller Tomlinson, Dancer at Thodos Dance Chicago

My name is Jessica Miller Tomlinson and I am the senior ensemble member of Thodos Dance Chicago. Thodos Dance Chicago’s upcoming Full Circle 25th Anniversary Performance on March 11th at the beautiful Auditorium Theatre is an occasion which marks several milestones. Firstly, this performance is my final time dancing with Thodos after 12 incredible years with the company. Secondly, this is the third year in a row that our company has had the honor of gracing the stage of the historic Auditorium Theatre, and lastly this year not only celebrates the 25th Anniversary of Thodos, but also coincidentally marks the last time the company will perform as an ensemble.

One of the best parts of being a member of Thodos Dance Chicago is the sense of family that the company provides. Although the family has changed quite a bit in my twelve years with the company, I can truly say that each and every dancer/person I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know on a personal and professional level has left an impression on my heart which will stay with me for the rest of my life. Not only has Thodos given me a second family but the company has also provided me with the opportunity to see the world. In my time with the company we have had a pretty impressive tour and performance schedule. Thodos has taken me (and my husband, lighting designer Nathan Tomlinson) to almost 30 different states including a month long, nine city tour to Alaska. I’ve also gotten to perform in the Busan International Dance Festival in Busan, South Korea and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland. Getting to visit all these beautiful places, with some of the best people I know, is something I could never replace. It is often thought that the dance world is sometimes a competitive and hostile one, but I can honestly say that Thodos Dance Chicago is both a supportive and loving environment.

My career with Thodos over the past twelve years has been unbelievable. I’ve had the opportunity to dance with some incredible individuals who inspire me daily with their artistry, humility, and passion for their work. I’ve also had the privilege of working with some of the most talented choreographers from across the nation. Melissa Thodos, our fearless leader, has given me and the company some pretty amazing opportunities to develop and grow as artists.

 With any transition period, there comes a plethora of emotions, doubts, feelings of nostalgia and reflections upon the past, present and future. I’m anticipating the Full Circle Performance on March 11th will be an evening full of heart, honesty, and depth. The evening will be one of celebration, but not without a bittersweet tinge, knowing that this is the end of an era, not only for myself but also for the company.