(ext. 137), Karen Mills Jennings is the Chair of the Dance Division at the Flint School of Performing Arts where she supervises a pre-conservatory curriculum in ballet and modern dance. She is the founding Artistic Director of the Flint Youth Ballet and has nurtured that ensemble's growth as it has participated in community engagement projects, membership in Regional Dance America and participation in the Michigan Youth Arts Festival. Flint Youth Ballet is in its twelfth year partnering with the Balanchine Trust, which has provided master teachers and opportunities to perform George Balanchine's work. Mrs. Jennings received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Marygrove College in Detroit and has studied extensively with David Howard, Gayla Zukevich and Jürgen Schneider. She danced principal roles with Ballet Michigan and has been on the dance faculty for the Flint School of Performing Arts since 1980. She is the Artistic Director of the Flint Institute of Music's production of The Nutcracker, which is performed annually with the Flint Symphony Orchestra to sold out audiences.
As the Tuition Free Program Coordinator Mrs. Jennings facilitates programming for community partners both off and on site at the FSPA. She has been instrumental in the development of Super Start, the FSPA transition program for children from outreach programs who are inspired to continue the study of music and dance.
Mrs. Jennings has worked closely with Director of the FSPA Davin Torre, in the development of FSPA's teaching approach Beyond Boundaries. Together they present seminars to staff, faculty and community members. This innovative approach utilizes non-judgmental teaching techniques that encourage and support the goals and learning styles of all students.
Community Engagement has been a priority for Mrs. Jennings. Under her leadership, Flint Youth Ballet has participated in community projects with the Color Line Project, Creative Expressions Dance Studio, Urban Bush Woman and the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange GENOME Project. Flint Youth Ballet has also collaborated and performed with the Flint Youth Symphony Orchestra, the FSPA Jazz Ensemble, Exclaimation! Percussion Ensemble and the FSPA Chamber Orchestra in a special performance of the Opening Movement of George Balanchine's masterpiece Serenade.
Karen Mills Jennings is an ABT® Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Pre-Primary through Level Primary through Level 5 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum.