Jeanne Ruddy to Teach Free Master Dance Classes

Jeanne Ruddy at The Performance Garage in Philadelphia.

by Diane VanDyke

Jeanne Ruddy, Director of Jeanne Ruddy Dance and former Principal Dancer of the Martha Graham Company, will teach a series of six master classes in the Martha Graham Technique at Montgomery County Community College in Blue Bell from 1:30-2:55 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from Oct. 29 to Nov. 9. JRD Associate Artistic Director, Christine Taylor, will demonstrate and assist Ruddy. Pianist Noah Farber will accompany the classes.

Classes are free and open to the public, but preregistration is required.  To preregister for this dance opportunity, contact Dr. Melinda Copel,, 215-641-6346.

“To study Martha Graham’s foundational modern dance technique with a teacher of Ms. Ruddy’s caliber and experience brings an extraordinary opportunity to our dance students at MCCC and to the community,” said Dr. Melinda Copel, Assistant Professor of Dance.

When teaching contemporary dance, Ruddy believes in using strong imagery to help a dancer find his or her own dynamic. During the master classes, Ruddy will share her knowledge of anatomy and the pilates and ballet techniques, to help students understand how the various techniques connect and interrelate.  Dancers will learn to work from their centers, using their torso and pelvis, as well as their arms and legs. They will explore the contraction, spirals, breathings and all of the extraordinary exercises based on a thoroughly developed philosophy that Ms. Graham created over her lifetime and one that Ruddy knows well.

While dancing with the Martha Graham Company, Ruddy performed on stages throughout the world and was featured in the PBS Great Performances series in Graham’s Cave of the Heart. She also performed leading roles in Graham’s Andromache’s Lament, Diversion of Angels, Deaths and Entrances, Seraphic Dialogue, Clytemnestra, Cortege of Eagles, Embattled Garden, Herodiade, and Appalachian Spring. She also danced on Broadway in The King and I, starring Yul Brynner, and was an original member of Agnes de Mille’s Heritage Dance Theatre.

Additionally, Ruddy directed, choreographed and danced in her own company, Jeanne Ruddy and Dancers, in New York City. Then in 1999, she founded the Jeanne Ruddy Dance Company in Philadelphia and in 2003 opened the Performance Garage—an incubator for classes, rehearsals, workshops and performances.

To prepare for professional career, Ruddy started her early dance training in Miami and then earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from North Carolina School of the Arts and her Masters of Arts degree from New York University. She directed the Graham-based modern department at The Alvin Ailey American Dance Center from 1986 to 1995 and was a faculty member of The Julliard School from 1988 to 1998.

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