Resident Artist Program


The Vitacca Resident Artist Program (RAP) furthers our mission to stay current and grow with the ever evolving contemporary and modern dance forms. Vitacca’s RAP offers a holistic approach to dance training, artistic development and an experience in both a personal and professional environment with leading dance professionals. The RAP is designed to build relationships with influential industry professionals and bridge the gap between guest master teacher and student. Audition required. 


Program Includes

Throughout the Vitacca season and over a pre-scheduled, five weekend commitment, invited RAP dancers will:

  • Participate in choreographic laboratories

  • Rehearse repertoire for performance

  • Attend master classes led by Resident Artists

  • Receive private coaching sessions by Resident Artists



Jess Hendricks + Autumn Eckman


jess Hendricks

Jess Hendricks graduated from the University of Colorado with a BFA in Dance. Her training includes Perry Mansfield School of the Performing Arts, American Dance Festival, Harvard Dance Festival, EDGE Scholarship, Gus Giordano and Hubbard Dance Street. 

Her credits include commercials and industrials for Godiva, L’Oreal, Reebok, Toys R Us, Universal Studios, Volkswagen and Warner Brothers. Jess worked on the tour of HAIR as Dance Captain for years, performed for the opening premiers of Moulin Rouge and The Great Gatsby and can be seen in such movies as Living Out Loud and Between The Sheets. She has danced in or been the assistant choreographer to the Elan Awards, Bob Fosse Awards, Ms. America Pageant, Carnival, Dance Break and Broadway Bares. Jess has choreographed the New York musicals The Shaggs, The Book Of The Dun Cow and Dead City as well as the movie musical Free Fall. 

She has choreographed the music video Just A Dress for the Berlin Film Festival, Mia Agapi Fotia for European artist Sofia Strati’s Eurovision and has been a finalist for the ACE Awards. Jess has taught at Universities and Festivals throughout Canada, Costa Rica, Cyprus, France, Italy, Japan, Korea, Norway and the United States. Jess has danced with “The Wes Veldink Movement” and co-created her own company “Two Peas & A Pod”. 

She recently created live work for the band “A Great Big World” at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, set work to be performed at Carnegie Hall and assisted with choreography for the Alicia Keys tour. Jess recently debuted a 30-minute work on Houston Met Dance that debuted this Spring. She is currently an adjunct professor at Pace University, on faculty with 24 Seven Dance Convention and a Co-Founder of Dancers Give Back Dallas.


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autumn Eckman

Autumn Eckman (Atlanta, GA) received her ballet training from the Houston Ballet Academy and is presently Assistant Professor of Dance at University of Arizona. In her twenty years as a professional dancer she had the privilege to work with and and perform the works some of the world’s leading contemporary, classical, modern and jazz companies including Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Luna Negra Dance Theatre, Giordano Dance Chicago, Lucky Plush Productions, Ron De Jesus Dance and the State Street Ballet. She is currently a member of The Cambrians- a Chicago based company that uses large collaborative processes to create evening length work. Through extensive training in an ever broader range of techniques including the modern techniques of Horton and Graham, partnering, improvisation and the contemporary movement practices, she has formulated an integrated approach to her own ways of teaching that appeals to dancers from diverse movement practices and technical backgrounds. From 2009-2014 she served as Assistant Artistic Director and Resident Choreographer of Giordano Dance Chicago and Director of its second company, Giordano II. She has also served as Artist-In-Residence for State Street Ballet and has choreographed for companies and universities including DanceWorks Chicago, Big Muddy Dance Co., Wylliams-Henry Dance Company, Missouri Contemporary Ballet, Western Michigan University, Grand Valley State University, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and the University of Missouri- Kansas City. Her work has been presented at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the Bates Dance Festival, Jazz Dance World Congress, Midwest RAD Festival, Florida Dance Festival, Detroit Dance City Festival and Kalamazoo Michigan’s Aesthetic Research and Education Program. From 2009-2015, she was an Instructor of Dance at Northern Illinois University and has been a faculty member of Hubbard Street’s Lou Conte Dance Studio, Visceral Dance Center, State Street Ballet Summer Intensive, Florida Dance Festival, Summer Dance Lab (Walla Walla, WA) and the Bates Dance Festival’s Young Dancers and Professional Division. Autumn is an Iowa Arts Fellow at the University of Iowa where she received an MFA in Choreography.