Jump Start Plus Dance Program Director
Following in her mother's footsteps, Jennifer Reiter Hand began dancing at the age of six in Peoria IL. She received her Master's degree in dance from New York University's Tisch school of Arts and her BFA in dance from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. Both of her degrees are in performance and choreography. Ms. Hand has taught and choreographed for private studios, universities, summer intensives, and theater companies in the Midwest and East Coast, including New York City. Her students are presently performing in national tours, ballet and modern dance companies, for Disney, in Hollywood, and on Broadway. Ms. Hand is also the author of several dance articles and has served as book consultant for publishers Taylor & Francis and DK/Penguin Random House. Ms. Hand believes that to learn to dance well, dancers must find joy in the simple act of moving. To that end, she constructs an environment that encourages a sense of play, experimentation, community, and humor. She works in an organized and respectful way not only towards everyone participating in the class, but also to the noble tradition of dance - a tradition she believes is beautiful and worthy of reverence. "Dance should never hurt the body or force it into feelings of strain or tightness. Instead, dance can open the body and create a freedom from within that can be pleasurable for your emotional and spiritual self, as well as the physical."