Listee Features — Dance

Nancy Reynolds


Inspired early on by her love of ballet, Nancy Reynolds began training as a ballet dancer at the School of American Ballet in 1951. In 1957, she was invited to join the New York City Ballet, where she danced for five years while continuing to train at the School of American Ballet, The Juilliard School and the Martha Graham School. From there, she studied briefly at Sorbonne University in Paris in 1962 before achieving a Bachelor of Art in art history at Columbia University in 1965 and entering the field of publishing as an editor with Praeger Publishing from 1965 to 1971. While she was no longer dancing herself, Ms. Reynolds still found herself drawn to the field of dance

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Starting out in dance classes when she was just 3 years old, Carolyn Vance-DeVour attended Brooklyn College, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in modern dance and secondary education. She also spent time at the Bernice Johnson Cultural Arts Center, where she studied under such notable figures as Michael Peters, the choreographer for Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” music video; Ben Vereen, who appeared in such Broadway productions as “Jesus Christ Superstar” and “Pippin”; Arthur Mitchell, the first African-American dancer with the New York City Ballet; and Bernice Johnson, for whom the center was named. After touring as a dancer for a time, she began her work in education, joining the New York City Department of Education and serving as

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Peggy J. Mueller attended the University of Texas at Austin, and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in home economics and child development in 1974. From 1972 to 1980, she garnered experience as a dance teacher at numerous schools, including the Shirley McPhail School of Dance, Texas A&M University, Sul Ross State University and the Jean Tarlton School of Dance. From 1980 to 2010, Ms. Mueller held a position as a dance teacher at her alma mater, the University of Texas at Austin, and, since 1980, she has worked as a dance teacher at the Jean Mueller School of Dance. Since 1972, she has dedicated her time as the recreation chairperson of the St. Martin’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and a

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Jan Heyn-Cubacub


Having accrued more than four decades of inimitable experience in the field of performing arts, Jan J. Heyn-Cubacub has garnered a laudable reputation as a dancer, choreographer and educator. The daughter of a professional tap dancer, she studied ballet while coming of age and has always been possessed of a natural aptitude for the visual arts. She enrolled as an art student at Northern Illinois University in 1974. Quickly realizing that her talents were stronger than what the school’s fine arts program could support, Ms. Heyn-Cubacub transferred to the University of Illinois, where she attained a Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance in 1978. From 1976 until 1978, Ms. Heyn-Cubacub found success as a dance captain at Marriott’s Great America

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Kira Seamon


Kira Kanani Seamon discovered the joy of dance while coming of age. As a classically trained ballet dancer, she thrived in traveling throughout the United States and Europe, and participated in a trainee summer intensive program at the famous Joffrey Ballet School. She later relocated to New York to continue her intensive training. After suffering what doctors called a career-ending leg injury at 21, Ms. Seamon resolved to study body mechanics and kinesiology, in order to heal herself and return to pursuing her passion. Ms. Seamon became a certified exercise physiologist through the American College of Sports Medicine. She also received certification as a personal trainer and group exercise leader through the American Council on Exercise. A year after returning

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Having accrued over 45 years of inimitable experience on stage as a ballerina, Janet Sassoon retired from her position as the associate director of the Academy of Ballet in San Francisco in 1997, having previously the role of the director from 1974 to 1989. Initially known as the Pacific Ballet Company, the institution offers training for students on the verge of launching their professional careers and those who are merely beginning to immerse themselves in the art. Moreover, the Academy of Ballet boasts programs specially focused on children and adults, with a more rigorous curriculum available for professional dancers. Born in Indonesia, Ms. Sassoon attended a ballet at the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco at the age of

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Joan Tatum


Passionate about her students’ success, Joan J. Tatum’s philosophy was that if you feel that you want to teach, then the subject matter was not as important than being able to teach. Beginning her career in dance and education, she felt it did not matter whether it was a ballet arabesque or a technology computer program; she had a passion for sharing whatever her knowledge was with others, and teaching was the logical way to do that. Her mother did not have much formal education, but was passionate about its importance so education was where she felt she belonged. Ms. Tatum started her professional life as a substitute teacher within the Sarasota Public School District in Florida in 1966, remaining

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With an interest in dance from a young age, Darwin Prioleau, EdD, was always inspired watching others dance on stage. She was most inspired by the performances of ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev, as well as the then-soloist of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Judith Jamison. She embarked on her academic path at Bennett College, obtaining a Bachelor of Arts. Dr. Prioleau concluded her studies with a Master of Arts at New York University and an EdD from the University of Massachusetts. Dr. Prioleau began her career in 1967 with the Greensboro Ballet Company in Greensboro, North Carolina. She would later perform in New York as a soloist with the Ed Kersley Dance Company and the Nat Horne Dance Company,

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