Shirley Jenkins' love affair with dance started at the tender age of two and three quarters when she took her very first dance class. She went on to receive a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) from the University of Utah, majoring in Modern Dance with an emphasis in Performance, Choreography and Teaching. While completing her BFA requirements in 1975, she was asked to be a founding member of the celebrated Bill Evans Dance Company. In 1976, the board of directors of Dance Theater Seattle invited the company to move to Seattle. Jenkins had a prolific career as a touring member and master instructor of the Evans Company, performing in major cities and rural communities via the National Endowment for the Arts Dance Touring Program.
Jenkins formed her own company, Strong Wind Wild Horses-which rapidly became a Seattle favorite at Bumbershoot Festivals and the Allegro series during the 80s and 90s-and collaborated with musicians, including Denny Goodhew, James Knapp, Scott Cossu, Michael Cava, Mark Seals, Steve Kim, Tom Bergersen, Fred West, the Kinetics and others. Jenkins also founded a non-profit organization, Dance On Capitol Hill, for the Seattle community and established outreach programs by producing summer dance camps for homeless children. Jenkins has been an Artist-In-Residence at scores of universities and dance festivals throughout the U.S. and internationally. Her choreographic and teaching residencies have included the University of Washington, Cornish College of the Arts, Bill Evans Summer Institutes, Rhode Island University, Middlebury College, Pennsylvania State University, Columbia College, Alaska and Kentucky Out-Reach Programs, and international festivals in Bonn, Germany and Taipei, Taiwan.
In 1997 everything changed. Jenkins sustained a severe spinal injury while dancing, followed by uterine cancer. Nine years later she endured surgery and chemo/radiation therapy for breast cancer and in 2007 she underwent surgery for a total hip replacement. She never knew she could fight so hard to pick herself up from the ashes, and she often wondered if dancing again was a crazy idea. She decided she is
crazy and embraces it!
Jenkins is currently an Adjunct Instructor at Cornish College of the Arts and on the teaching staff of Velocity Dance Center
. She is a Pilates instructor at Pilates Seattle International
, and specializes in athletic injury and rehabilitation for seniors. In 2010, Jenkins formed a new dance company, DanceJENKINSDance, that performs in and around the Seattle area.
Awakening, healing and renewing the soul through modern dance.
DanceJENKINSDance was born with a mission to share the beauty, joy and vigor of modern dance as a channel for healing and renewal, for both audiences and students alike. Returning to the world of dance after a 14-year hiatus due to debilitating injuries and health issues, Artistic Director Shirley Jenkins creates work that reflects her personal journey back to health and the stage. Enriched by her process toward health, her contemporary choreography is infused with a poetic, sensitive tone that only life's richest experiences can bring. As sole choreographer for the company, Jenkins takes inspiration from the physical prowess of her soulful dancers and artfully creates heart-felt, uplifting, well-crafted, rhythmic, and sensual dance narratives. Her relentless perseverance is reflected in her works, which acknowledges all ages and walks of life with choreography that is poetic, humorous and introspective, celebrating the resiliency of the human spirit. The company performs formal full-length concert performances as well as narrated lecture demonstrations. DanceJENKINSDance performances are suitable for all walks of life, including young audiences. More information at DanceJenkinsDance.com