The Peanut Butter & Jelly Dance Company was founded in 1980 to present performances and programs for children by adult professional dancer/teachers, to sponsor concerts for the public, and to teach classes and workshops for children and teachers. PB&J currently has three facets:
- PB&J Dance Co, a company of professional dancers who perform for and do workshops for children,
- PB&J Dance Classes for Kids, an after-school program of dance classes for children ages 3-8, taught from a creative movement perspective, and
- SMALL FEETS dance company, a dance company for children ages 6 and up.
The PB&J Dance Company has presented assembly programs, workshops and residencies to over 70,000 children in 300+ sites around Massachusetts since 1980. In 1997, the company presented their work at the ‘dance and the Child international’ conference in Finland, where they were well received by young dancers and teachers from around the world. The SMALL FEETS dance company, formed in 1997 has presented an annual concert and programs in schools, community events, and elder homes. SMALL FEETS and Peanut Butter & Jelly Dance Company have shared their work with dancers at the daCi USA intergenerational gatherings in Philadelphia in 2005, Provo, Utah in 2008, and Denton, Texas in 2011.
PB&J is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that is supported in part by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency. We have also received grants from the Brookline Council for the Arts and Humanities. We are also a City of Boston approved contractor.
Who’s Who In the Company
Jim Banta, a member of PB&J for 18 years, has also danced locally with Ballet Theatre of Boston, Impulse Dance Company, Boston Liturgical Dance Ensemble, and most recently with Kelley Donovan, Marjorie Morgan, Margot Parsons, Rozann Kraus, Cambridge Chamber Ballet, Back Pocket Dance Company, Ballet Arts Winchester, and Tim Miller.
Paul Kafka-Gibbons has danced with PB&J since a lively audition in 1997, when he and Jim were both taken into the company. Paul also dances with Joe Burgio, Andrew Eisenberg, and Josh Jefferson in an improvisational dance, free-jazz quartet, Skinny Ému. He and fellow Peanut, Lynn Frederickson, are Lynn and Paul Dance. Paul has written novels and book reviews. His fiction can be downloaded and dances viewed at www.kafka-gibbons.info.
Lynn Frederiksen is West Indian, from St. Croix, USVI. She attended college in Massachusetts, obtaining a BA in Biology and an MA in Environmental Studies from Clark University. She worked for the Mass. Dept. of Water Resources, but dance kept nagging her, so she abandoned the rivers for an MFA from Smith College, and embarked on a life in the arts. She artistically collaborates with her husband, John Minigan, playwright and teacher at Weston High School. With her friend and colleague Shih-Ming Li Chang, Lynn is co-authoring a book/multimedia resource for educators entitled “A Journey through Chinese Dance,” to be published by Wesleyan University Press. She has been part of PB&J since 2007.
Jeanne Traxler, Director, was an original founder of the PB&J Dance Company in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1976 and in Massachusetts in 1980. She teaches PB&J Dance Classes for Kids and co-directs the SMALL FEETS dance company. Jeanne serves on the USA Chapter National Board of dance and the Child international, an organization whose mission is to increase and develop opportunities for young people to experience dance as creators, performers, and spectators throughout the world. She was the USA Chapter National Treasurer and has taught for daCi at the international meeting in Finland in 1997 and at two National Dance Education Organization (NDEO) conferences. She is also a founding member and on the organizing committee of the Children’s Dance Festival, an annual day of dance workshops and performances for and by children. Jeanne has taught workshops for all of the Dance Across the City days, the Dance for World Community Festival, and at the Wang Theater’s Artropolis program.
She has created many site-specific pieces for the Brookline 1st Light Festival, at sites as varied as Marriott Hotel Pool, Coolidge Corner Arcade, Magic Beans Toy Store, and Brookline Booksmith. Her outdoor pieces include “A Tale of Sparks,” “Plaza Extravaganza.” and “Light Work” for the trees and wide sidewalk at Brookline Town Hall, and “Stone Angels” for a pocket park in Brookline. She has also choreographed six elementary school musicals in Brookline.
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