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Jeanette Geslison

Associate Professor, IFDE Artistic Director
Full-Time Faculty

2216 RB

Area: Cultural Dance

Jeanette is Assistant Professor of Dance at Brigham Young University (BYU). She currently serves as Artistic Director of the BYU International Folk Dance Ensemble (IFDE) and BYU’s annual large-scale Christmas Around the World concert. Additional Artistic Director assignments have included Traditionz Cultural Dance Outreach Ensemble and director of BYU’s annual Children’s Folk Dance Camp. Jeanette has taught in the university setting since 1995 as an adjunct faculty and since 2011 as a full-time faculty with an emphasis in cultural dance. She currently serves as the Cultural Dance Area Administrator.

A native from Odense, Denmark, she trained in classical ballet at the Ballet Academy with other early training in jazz, tap dance, and child acting roles. Her pursuit of dance brought her to the United States and Brigham Young University where she earned her BA and MA degrees in dance. As a member of the BYU International Folk Dance Ensemble she performed and toured nationally and internationally. As part of her graduate work she traveled to Hungary to complete field research for her master’s thesis entitled: “A Comparison of Village and Staged Versions of Selected Hungarian Dance Styles.” She quickly expanded her dance vocabulary to include multiple traditional dance techniques and has developed deep expertise in Hungarian, Scandinavian, Irish, and Ukrainian dance. In 2016 Jeanette received her MFA in Performing Arts Dance from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where she presented her choreographic thesis entitled: “Hungarian Dance Works.”

Invitations to perform and teach nationally have included collaboration with Hungarian Connection Gala in Del Rio, Texas, and with IFDE in Virginia, Texas, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, California, Wisconsin, Illinois, Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming, Nevada, Montana, and Utah. International IFDE performing and teaching invitations include China, Belgium, Denmark, France, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Academic professional presentations and master class teaching has included the Council for Traditional Dance World Congress in Russia, 2-week residency in Tianjing, China, National Folk Organization conferences, and Utah Dance Education Organization conference in Ogden, Utah.

As Artistic Director Jeanette has produced many original works and conceived and directed numerous full-length staged productions of traditional dance and music, including invitations and hosting of guest artists and expert choreographers. She directs national and international dance performance tours, as well as local outreach and community engagement. Jeanette currently serves as president of the National Folk Organization, is a board member of International Council for Organizations of Folklore Festivals and Folk Arts – United States section, and is a member of the Ethnochoreologist study group of the International Council for Traditional Music.

Together with her husband Mark, and their three children, they play acoustic traditional music and conduct recreational dance events.

Research Interests:
Cultural representation—its preservation, adaptation and modification—lies at the heart of her academic research and choreographic interest. She investigates meanings of identity in cross-cultural dance expression, and the impact of intent and context in traditional dance. Her goal is to continue contribution to the field of cultural dance research and choreography in search of new ways to perpetuate the authenticity and increase the power of the communication of cultural dance expression.

Recent Projects:
Hungarian Connection Gala collaborative performance – Choreographer/Director

Dance Film Legenyes – Executive Producer/Concept/Choreographer

BYU and Minzu University Collaborative Dance Project – Producer/Choreographer