Jeanne Speier


Jeanne Speier, Dance

Jeanne Speier has an MA degree in Dance Therapy and a BA in Communication Through Movement. Her dance expertise includes The Katherine Dunham Technique and Classical Balinese Dance. Jeanne teaches Hatha Yoga classes and yoga for Kayakers. Most recently Jeanne has resumed her dance therapy work and is teaching the waltz to autistic children. Botany and the piano are two of Jeanne’s main interests.

Below, Jeanne shares additional information about her dance training, shows a video from a Balinese dance practice session and explains her vision for the dance program at TNSM.

Dance Training

In addition to an MA degree in Dance Therapy and a BA in Communication Through Movement, I trained with Katherine Dunham for almost 20 years and was certified by her to teach her technique.  I also immersed myself for nearly two years in the Balinese culture and learned the classical dances of Bali.

The dance curriculum I teach to elementary students at TNSM involves a three-year cycle of dance forms including Balinese Dance, the Katherine Dunham Technique, and Creative Movement. One of the reasons I share these dance forms with students is so they can learn about dance from cultures where dance is so visible and accessible.

Balinese Dance (2016-17)

  • The island of Bali is a great example of a culture that values and places a great emphasis on dance. Dance classes have hundreds of children in one studio. Grandparents, teenagers, farmers and infants all share in the dances of Bali.
  • Balinese dance is exotic and regal. A great deal of emphasis is placed on the upper torso with arms lifted high, fingers and toes pointed upward and eyes darting with the quickness of a grasshopper. The gamelan music is mesmerizing and the costumes and makeup are elaborate. This dance form originated as entertainment for the gods.

Katherine Dunham Dance Technique (2017-18)

  • Last year our dance curriculum focused on the Afro-Haitian movements of the Katherine Dunham Dance form. This type of dance involves movements which emphasize the lower torso with pelvic movements, stomping and a great variety of leaps and steps.
  • Both Balinese and Afro-Haitian in the Dunham form are danced barefoot and involve the use of isolations (moving one part of the body at a time).  Both dance forms give students an entrance into cultures quite different from the Cincinnati milieu. Both forms are inclusive and offer such a wide variety of movement opportunities that all students can engage fully as they express themselves in unusual ways.

Creative Movement (2018-19)

  • In this dance series, I guide students in exploring a wide range of movements. In the process I bring in different rhythms, props, movements, and groupings of students.
  • The dance techniques during the other two years has dancers making the same movements at the same time. Creative movement is a great lesson in working together, yet still showcasing each individual’s style.
  • Sometimes students create a story that instructs their movements, and other times movements are driven by the music itself.