Lees Hummel – Education Director Lees comes to lustigdancetheatre from a distinguished background in dance performance, choreography and education. After earning her B.F.A and M.F.A in Dance from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, she was a principal dancer with the Clive Thompson Dance Company, New York City Jazz Company, Nashville Dance Project (Artistic Director), Miami’s Momentum Dance Company (Assistant Artistic Director) and Kinetic Works Dance Company where she performed in works created by noted choreographers Danny Buraczeski, Bill T. Jones, Billy Siegenfeld, Rosiland Newman, Maria Chang, Milton Myers, Rudy Perez, Cliff Keuter, Anna Sokolow, and Doris Humphrey.
Lees Hummel is an honorary member of S.A.G appearing in the film Spring Break Reunion as Mrs. Peterson, opposite Frankie Avalon with visibility in commercials for Del Taco and Sea Escape cruises. Her professional performance engagements include: Cassie in A Chorus Line and Shy in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. At age 17 Lees began her professional career in Hershey Park’s review Dance, Dance, Dance. She then went on to perform at Action Park, Busch Gardens, Opryland USA, and Les Violins Dinner Theater in Miami.
In Nashville, Tennessee, the City of Music, she performed on the following television specials: Country Music Awards, the Tommy Lasorda Tribute, the Ray Stevens Show, The GMC True Value Country Showdown, The Spirit of America starring Brenda Lee, Love My Country starring Louise Mandrell, the Miss Tennessee and Virginia Pageants starring Lee Greenwood, the 1995 Governor’s Inauguration, and the Music City News Songwriter Awards Show starring Marie Osmond, which she also choreographed. Lees has also appeared on stage and screen with Billy Ray Cyrus, Tanya Tucker, Lucie Arnez, Dolly Parton and Willie Nelson.
Her academic positions have comprised of: Director of Dance for Berks Ballet Theatre, Reading, Pennsylvania, Lecturer at the University of Miami, Adjunct Professor; Miami Dade Community College, New World School of the Arts, University of North Carolina Charlotte, Winthrop University and Central Piedmont Community College, Assistant Professor; Western Kentucky University and Southeast Missouri State University, Director of Education for American Repertory Ballet and Director of Dance at Dillard School of the Arts, Fort Lauderdale and Conchita Espinosa Academy, Miami, Florida where she assisted in creating the Sunshine State Standards for Dance in grades K-12.
Lees’s choreography has been presented by Berks Ballet Theatre, Nashville Dance Project, Momentum Dance Company, Fort Wayne Ballet, American Repertory Ballet Gala and the International Hispanic Ballet Festival as well as the University of Miami, Western Kentucky University and Southeast Missouri State University. Her choreography has seen at prestigious summer programs such as: American Ballet Theatre, Detroit, Michigan, the Fort Wayne Ballet, Fort Wayne, Indiana, Virginia School of the Arts, Lynchburg, Virginia, Florida Dance Festival, Miami, Florida, and Berks Ballet Theater in Reading Pennsylvania. .
Lees is a certified Simonson Instructor and has completed her level 1, 2A and 2B Touch For Health kinesiology training with Norma Harnack, the National Representative for Touch For Health Training in St. Louis, Missouri and Pilates training from Ray Kurshals of the Physical Mind Institute, Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Teaching Philosophy – Lees’s teaching philosophy is to incorporate body awareness techniques and integrated dance forms to motivate the student to inquisitively learn new ways of comprehending dance movement while safely teaching diversified dance techniques. .
Because dance is a highly physical sport, it requires fine control of all musculature best found in a strong mind/body connection. The process of motivating the student to become their creative best involves activating their conceptual creative self. Positive conceptual images allow the student to physically accomplish the thoughts they conceive concerning movement sequences. Dancers are encouraged to perform from an emotional place allowing them to become creative artists who are marketable and interesting performers.
Lees specializes in teaching Simonson Jazz Technique (developed by Lynn Simonson, Founder and Former Director of Dance New Amsterdam, New York City). This highly regarded modern/jazz dance discipline encourages the student to expand their mind/body connection by enhancing their internal understanding of muscular alignment, while connecting it to their mind’s visual images. Simonson technique emphasizes understanding body alignment, body maintenance, the mental connection, and how to work with rhythmic coordination.
Lees’s pedagogy belief is that all forms of dance can be taught by giving an explanation, at least, three ways by speaking and demonstrating the body part being used, the action or dynamics that accompany it and the rhythm or count that it occurs on, It allows the student to apply their natural, unique way of learning to eventually be comfortable with understanding choreography and instruction at a quicker pace. By picking up the combination, choreography and in-class instruction faster they, thereby, develop one of the skills necessary for successful audition technique. Enabling the student to achieve personal confidence in their dance abilities allows them to become more successful at withstanding a long performing career. Positive reinforcement combined with self-assessment creates a confident professional dancer and performer.