Jane Peck

About Jane Skinner Peck:

Performance  and Choreography

Jane Skinner Peck, Minneapolis, Minnesota, has researched, choreographed, and performed dance across the U.S., Canada, and France for twenty years. She finds that dance history enables her to combine her love of history with her love of dance. Jane feels that period movement conveys past cultures in a most immediate and authentic way. She has performed with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra at the Ordway Center, MN, and with the international faculty orchestra of the Madison Early Music Festival, WI. Her work is seen regularly at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minnesota History Center, and museums, colleges, schools of Midwest America. Jane has choreographed  for numerous dance, theater, and music ensembles, working with famed Shelley Gruskin, Grant Herreid (Piffaro), Catherine Turocy (N.Y. Baroque Dance Company), Jean Paul Cloutier (Canada), and  Sybille Dahms (Austria) among others. She has extensive training in both modern dance and dance history, directing  performances with her company Dance Revels Moving History since 1990. The group offers a unique view of upper Midwest regional history, as well as national history.  Prior to 1990 she was a choreographer for Ex Machina Baroque Opera.

Jane has years of experience working with both the court/concert dance of  1500-1920  as well as the folk dance and social dances of many eras. Jane was the recipient of a Jerome Travel/Study Grant for the study of both folk and court dance in France. She specializes in the French and French-Indian dance heritage of the American Midwest and Canada. Jane studied   French-Canadian  dance with Pierre Chartrand of Montreal and Jean-Paul Cloutier of St. Boniface, Manitoba , and Metis dance with Sandy Poitra of the Turtle Mt. Ojibwe Reservation in North Dakota.

Jane also specializes in the blending of commedia dell’arte theater with the dance and music of 16th-18th c. France. She studied 16th-19th c dance with Wendy Hilton, Catherine Turocy, Ingrid Brainerd, Charles Garth, Elizabeth Aldrich of U.S. and Cecilia Gracio Moura and Beatrice Massin of Paris. She studied commedia dell’arte with Josette Antomarchi (Lecoq school.) Her modern dance training is primarily with Nancy Hauser (Wigman)  and Erick Hawkins.

Jane’s research has been published  in Society of Dance History Scholars Proceedings and Dalcroze Journal,  and she is a highly regarded dance educator.

Public school teaching

Jane Peck, has taught dance to many ages for 30 years, and school dance residencies for the Minnesota State Arts Board and Young Audiences of MN since 1988. She mentored teachers in movement with the Minnesota Dance Education Initiative (now ACE) of the Perpich Center for the Arts.  Jane has a MA in education from Hamline University, as well as a teaching certificate. Jane’s master’s thesis, Designing a College Dance/Theater Methods Course for Pre-service Teachers, reflects her experience teaching both students and their teachers. Jane has lived in France and can teach in Frenchh has written several curriculums on dance education with themes of heritage, social studies (Core Knowledge), art, math, and science.

Higher education teaching

Jane Peck has been an adjunct professor of dance for MN Bemidji  MN State University, University of MN Dance and Theater Dept., and Gustavus Adolphus College Dance and Theater Dept. Jane has taught historical dance workshops to musicians at the Bloomington Early Music Institute, U of MN Music Dept., Madison Early Music Festival, College of Scholastica (Shelley Gruskin), National Suzuki Conferences, and college music departments across the upper Midwest. She also does workshops for college theater classes in period dance. Jane has done landmark research into Midwest regional dance history. She has multiple publications in academic journals: Society of Dance History Scholars, Dalcroze Journal,  Teaching Artist Journal. Jane has a MA in education. Her thesis, Designing a College Dance/Theater Methods Course for Pre-service Teachers, reflects her experience in training teachers in using the arts.

To Contact Jane Peck:

Email: revels@janepeck.com

Publications by Jane Peck:

Designing a Dance/Theater Methods Course for Preservice Teachers, 2004, Hamline University, St. Paul, MN. thesis.

Reconstructing Lewis and Clark; Dance as Diplomacy, 2006, Society of Dance History Scholars Proceedings, 2006

The Sarabande, vol. 30,#1, 2003, American Dalcroze Journal, with Kathy McLane.

Moving to New Ways of Thinking, 2005. Teaching Artist Journal, vol. 3, #1.

Heritage Dance Kits, multimedia curriculum, Volumes 1, 2, 3 published 2000, Perpich Center for Arts Ed.

Interdisciplinary Dance and Art Curriculum, 199, with Marcia McEachron.

Tracing the French Roots of Métis Dance, 1995, Society of Dance History Scholars Proceedings 1995.

Artist’s Statement

by Jane Peck

I see dance as a tool for learning about life today and the lives of our ancestors in past cultures. Dance and movement have an uncanny way of pulling out the essence of a subject or a time period in a memorable way. As a teacher I lead students of all ages and their teachers (or teachers-in-training) towards comfort in using the powerful tools of dance and movement to learn other subjects. As a dance historian I stage performances that help audiences connect personally with our community heritage.

I continue to find so many seldom-told true stories that are fascinating and worth telling in a dance and movement format. Often they reflect an unpopular view at the time of the event or a less powerful group of people. How many people had heard of the Métis (French-Indian) vision for an inclusive multi-cultural America, born here in the Upper Midwest, until my performances brought it to light?

To portray a story of the past in moving, three-dimensional pictures puts it closer to popular culture. It is no longer a formal, academic experience but once again a living culture. Each era in time is a culture. The daily movement, dance, and physical theater of a culture tell us far more than an article or a picture. Often a newcomer’s introduction to a culture is through folkdance or daily movement, such as Japanese bows or sweeping Italian gestures. These movements provide a view of the culture’s values in a concentrated form. Sadly, the dance and daily gestures are not often available for those exploring past cultures or history. I offer audiences and students an introduction to an era’s daily life from the inside, the muscle view. For example, once we witness the enormous differences between upper and lower class dances and gestures in Renaissance Europe, we begin to understand what it might be like in world without a middle class.

Many of us are aware of the music of different eras and the vast differences between the styles. Imagine that same music in three dimensions. That is what dance history can offer us. Dance can embody that music, making it larger than life and making the spirit of the music more clear. Music and dance are each evocative ways to experience cultures present and past. When used together they are even more powerful. With the addition of true stories of life in those past worlds along with the daily gestures and clothing, dance and live music performance can pull us into an era and offer us some of the wisdom and inspiration that has been hidden for ages.

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