Jennifer Bassage Bonfil,
Artistic Director at the Wooden Floor
The Wooden Floor has announced the promotion of Jennifer Bassage Bonfil as the organization’s Artistic Director. Jennifer, originally from Washington State, is a respected Southern California-based modern dancer, dance maker, and dance educator. She has been an integral part of The Wooden Floor since 2006, as a faculty member from 2006-2017, and since 2017 as the Dance Education and Curriculum Specialist. In addition to overseeing the organization’s faculty, accompanists, curriculum design, and evaluation, she works directly with students since the start of her 16-year tenure with the organization, demonstrating her passion for The Wooden Floor’s mission by being a sought after mentor to countless students and alumni. This leadership role is a natural progression in her career and caps an extraordinary year for Jennifer, who was awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award from Chapman University and recognized at California State University, Fullerton’s annual Honor an Educator ceremony, both in 2022.
In support of The Wooden Floor’s long-term vision, Jennifer is charged with continuing to advance the organization’s culture of artistic excellence through dance education, performances, community engagement, and collaborative projects. She is passionate about sharing the many benefits of dance in helping young people reach their potential, and will continue to further The Wooden Floor’s 10-year strategic vision to drive social innovation, grow impact, and uplift our community. Jennifer will assume her position immediately.
“I am so excited and proud to promote Jennifer into this leadership position,” said The Wooden Floor Chief Executive Officer, Dawn S. Reese. “The Board of Directors, staff, and I have seen her ability to embody The Wooden Floor’s values over the past 16 years. She has been critical in working behind the scenes to further our artistic vision, manage and lead our nationally recognized Dance Education Program at two campus locations, keep our artistic collaborations leading-edge, and most importantly, inspire our students to remain on their 10-year journeys at The Wooden Floor to fulfill their higher education goals. She knows first-hand that the power of dance leads to academic, social, emotional, and intellectual development,” Reese said.
Jennifer is just the fourth Artistic Director in The Wooden Floor’s nearly 40-year history, preceded by Falon Baltzell from 2017-2022, Melanie Ríos Glaser from 2005-2016, and Founder Beth Burns who served as Artistic Director from the organization’s founding in 1983 until her retirement in 2005.
Of her new role, Jennifer said, “It is an absolute honor to serve as The Wooden Floor’s next Artistic Director. I am sincerely grateful for the opportunity and am deeply cognizant of the significance of this role in our organization as well as in our students’ lives. Our “super-humans,” in addition to the faculty, accompanists, and staff have taught me a great deal over the past 16 years, and I look forward to applying that knowledge to my new role. I am also extremely excited to work in partnership with our dedicated senior leadership team and artistic collaborators to continue propelling our students toward success through the power of dance and access to higher education.”
For more information on Jennifer Bassage Bonfil and her new role, please contact Dawn S. Reese, Chief Executive Officer at Dawn@TheWoodenFloor.org or 714.541.8314 ext. 136.
Jennifer Bassage Bonfil, originally from Washington State, is a respected Southern California-based modern dancer, dance maker, and dance educator. Jennifer earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Chapman University in Dance Performance under the mentorship of Cyrus Parker-Jeannette and Nancy Dickson-Lewis, and a Masters of Arts in Dance Education through the University of Northern Colorado.
Jennifer was as a founding company member of Orange County’s critically acclaimed Backhausdance from 2003 to 2016 and performed in over 15 original works, touring nationally and internationally. While with Backhausdance, Jennifer served as the Educational Outreach Director, collaborating with Artistic Director Jennifer Backhaus, on writing curriculum incorporating high-caliber art and arts education into public schools. Jennifer is an adjunct professor and lecturer who has taught at Chapman University, California State University Long Beach, Santa Ana Community College, and West Coast Conservatory of Ballet.
Jennifer has been an integral part of The Wooden Floor since 2006. First, as a faculty member from 2006-2017, and in 2017 she became a full-time member of the Dance Education Staff as the Dance Education and Curriculum Specialist. While overseeing the faculty, accompanists, curriculum design, and evaluation, she works directly with the students and teaches modern, ballet, improvisation, and choreography. Her technique classes and approach to choreography are somatic based, both in content and methodology, incorporating imagery, Laban/Bartenieff, Pilates, and mindfulness. These practices contribute to her skilled pedagogy and combined with her passion for the mission, inspire her to mentor current students and alumni of The Wooden Floor, whom she lovingly refers to as “super-humans.”
As a lifelong learner herself, Jennifer earned an Arts Management & Dance Training certificate from the José Limón Dance Foundation in New York City, and her comprehensive Pilates Certification from Body Arts and Science International (BASI). Over her career, Jennifer has served at The Wooden Floor with countless choreographers including Faye Driscoll, Jeanine Durning, Mark Haim, John Heginbotham, Melanie Ríos Glaser, and Chris Yon, among others. In 2021, serving as Rehearsal Director for The Wooden Floor’s 39th Annual Concert: Passage/Home a site-specific performance choreographed by Stephan Koplowitz, Jennifer lead nine rehearsal assistants as well as the production team.
Jennifer is a member of National Dance Education Organization and in 2018, she presented at their annual conference, sharing her expertise on why and how dance is a catalyst for youth development. She is grateful for the opportunity to guide the Dance Education Staff and help propel students toward success through the power of dance. In 2022, Chapman University awarded Jennifer the Distinguished Alumni Award for her work as the Dance Education & Curriculum Specialist at The Wooden Floor, and California State University, Fullerton recognized Jennifer at their annual Honor an Educator event the same year.