Amanda Benzin is a rhythmically and passionately driven educator, performer and choreographer originally from Buffalo, New York. She holds an MFA in Dance from CU Boulder with concentrations in performance, choreography, somatics (Alexander Technique and Body-Mind Centering), women and gender studies, and pedagogy. She graduated summa cum laude from the State University of New York at Buffalo with a BFA in Dance and minor in Business Administration.
Benzin was a member of the renowned Chicago-based rhythm jazz dance company Jump Rhythm Jazz Project for 6 years touring nationally and internationally and receiving an Emmy Award for her work in the multiple-Emmy-Award-winning documentary 'JRJP: Getting There.'
Her teaching experience includes ballet, jazz, tap, modern, contemporary, hip hop and musical theatre to children and adults of all ages in many arenas across the country for the past 19 years. She believes dance education should not only instill the knowledge, passion, love and appreciation for dance, but also inspire students’ creativity and encourage self-confidence, exploration, and skills they can use in dance and in life. She is committed to empowering individuals through the community of dance. Driven by rhythm, emotion, reflection, and connection, she seeks to foster the expression of vulnerability, strength, and growth potential within the human experience. Her current research exists at the intersection of pedagogy, ethical practices, somatic techniques and feminist theorizations of the body.
Benzin's approach to education in all classes, including theory, technique class, composition and creative practices, focuses on opening a dialogue, creating a safe and fun yet disciplined and rigorous environment, and fostering individuals. She believes in the power of honest openness, humor, reflection and the courage of vulnerability.
She encourages students to slow down, look inward, self-reflect and verbally communicate those reflections, experiences and questions with the class community. Benzin uses ideas based in the somatic approaches of Bartenieff Fundamentals, Ideokinesis, Alexander Technique and Body-Mind Centering to assist in this process of slowing down, looking inward, self-reflecting, and maintaining active presence during and outside of class. These somatic approaches encourage presence within the classroom, serve as injury prevention tools, and allow students to know how their bodies can move within a multitude of genres and forms. Learning and growth should never stop. There is always something to be gained from any experience, whether it is in the classroom or in life. She wants to foster the ability to explore; gain insight; tap into one’s own intuition; and become a passionate, collaborative, creative and versatile artist.