Since arriving in New Jersey, Lees Hummel has been a major force in promoting dance through education initiatives and programming. She specializes in teaching Simonson Jazz Technique and Pilates Mat and Apparatus. Simonson Jazz Technique is a highly regarded jazz dance discipline which emphasizes understanding, conceptually and physically, how the body most efficiently and effectively performs dance movement. The technique was developed to cultivate the student's internal and external sense of body placement and alignment, thereby providing a safe and consistent way of working in class and performing. She also teaches Jump Rhythm Tap Technique which emphasizes full-bodied rhythm-making – transforming the dancing body accompanied by the scat-singing voice into an emotionally focused, rhythm-accurate percussion instrument.
Lees began her performing arts training in Reading, Pennsylvania with the Berks Ballet Theater of Regional Dance America. She then moved to New York City where she earned her B.F.A. in Dance and M.F.A. in Pedagogy & Choreography (ten years apart) from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. Upon completion of her B.F.A., she became a principal dancer with the Clive Thompson Dance Company and the New York City Jazz Company.
In addition to a myriad of jazz, modern and theatrical dance works, two world-premiere ballets: a futuristic adaptation of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (Roxey Ballet and Fort Wayne Ballet, Indiana) and The Masque of the Red Death based upon the short story by Edgar Allen Poe (Bowling Green – Western Kentucky University Symphony Orchestra) she was founding Artistic Director of the Nashville Dance Project, a professional contemporary dance company contributing to the education and inspiration of modern/jazz dance in the city of music.
She has held academic positions at the University of Miami, Rider University, Miami Dade Community College; New World School of the Arts, University of North Carolina Charlotte, Winthrop University Central Piedmont Community College, Western Kentucky University Southeast Missouri State University, and Raritan Valley Community College. She also taught at Dillard School of the Arts, Berks Ballet Theatre, and Conchita Espinosa Academy. In Miami, Florida she assisted in creating the Sunshine State Standards for Dance in grades K-12.
Since arriving in New Jersey, Lees has promoted dance through administration and education initiatives and programming in grades K-12 as the Education Director for American Repertory Ballet, Lustig Dance Theatre, and currently Director of Education and Outreach for Roxey Ballet, while holding adjunct positions at Rider University and Raritan Valley Community College. Currently, she teaches Pilates and group fitness classes at Rutgers University, Johnson and Johnson, Healthquest, and The Club at Ricochet. Visit: www.leeshummel.com