Jessica has served as Assistant to the Artistic Director and Director of Academy Operations at Ballet Fantastique since 2018.
Jessica received her training as a scholarship student at the Milwaukee Ballet School. At 16, she was one of three dancers chosen to dance the lead role of Marie in Lisa De Ribere’s Nutcracker with the Milwaukee Ballet Company. At 17, Mackinson won first place at the Carey Rose Winski Memorial Ballet Competition, using her scholarship award to further her ballet education. She attended the prestigious School of American Ballet summer intensive in New York City, where she studied under Suki Schorer, Julie Kent, Darci Kistler, and Jock Soto. Jessica also attended the Boston Ballet School Summer Program and the Vail International Dance Festival. She completed her dance training with the Chautauqua Institution in New York, where she was invited to perform repertoire with Charlotte Ballet for their summer season.
Jessica danced professionally with the Milwaukee Ballet, BalletMet, Rockford Dance Company, Madison Ballet, and Elements Contemporary Ballet. Her favorite ballets to perform include Valse Fantasie by George Balanchine, Dracula: A Rock Ballet by W. Earle Smith, and the classic Coppelia by Marius Petipa. She has also had original works created on her by Lisa De Ribere, Yoko Ichino, Jeanette Makaroff, Diego Carrasco, and W. Earle Smith, and has performed as a guest artist for Indiana Ballet Theater and Innervation Dance Chicago, as well as a back-up dancer for comedians Weird Al Yankovic and Hannibal Buress.
Mackinson earned a Bachelor of Science in Anthropology & Sociology from Rockford University, where she also served as an adjunct Professor of Dance. She became the program manager for Design Dance in 2014, overseeing after-school and in-school dance education initiatives in California, New York, and Illinois. Mackinson has taught extensively throughout the Midwest for over a decade, instructing students and professional dancers at Ballet Chicago, Madison Ballet, Central Midwest Ballet, Ballet University, and Indiana Ballet Theater.