Jena VanElslander

Originally from Ontario Canada, Jena discovered her love for dance at the age of three.  Competing throughout Canada and the United States, top awards include Mini, Junior and Miss Dance of Western New York – Dance Masters of America, and top scholarship winner from Tremaine Dance Convention and West Coast Dance Alliance.  Jena performed alongside Geri Hallowell, Nora Jones and Lionel Richie in Toronto’s Fashion Cares, and can also be seen dancing in the feature film “Bollywood/Hollywood”, choreographed by David Connolly – one of Canada’s most highly sought-after choreographers. 

Jena moved to New York to study at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy after graduating High School.  Nearly four years ago she proudly joined as a Faculty member of AMDA and currently teaches jazz, tap, ballet, modern, improvization and gymnastics to all levels of students in both the Integrated and Dance Program.  She also travels throughout the United States holding the conservatory’s auditions, seeking talent and recruiting for the Dance Program at AMDA.

Most recently, Jena performed the role of Cassie in A Chorus Line, under the direction of Broadway veteran Mitzi Hamilton at the Surflight Theatre, just outside New York City.  She also teaches Master Classes around the world, inspiring international students from World Dance Movement in Italy,  Act&Art Congress in Buenos Aires, and the Musical Theatre Congress in Montevido, Uruguay.  This winter, Jena will head to Calgary Canada as part of the cast of the exciting World Premier The Little Prince, adopted by Nicholas Lloyd Webber and James D. Reid. 

Jena was a member of the 2014 Broadway Dance Lab, working and creating with Broadway choreographer Josh Prince.  Making  her NYMF (New York Musical Theatre Festival) Jena performed as the Acrobat and Dance Captain in The Awakening of Angel DeLuna, directed by Jersey Boys’ West Hyler.  2012 brought the World Premier of Chet Walker’s Heatwave: The Jack Cole Project ; honorably Jena’s most challenging and incredible theatrical experiences thus far!    

Further credits include Zelda: An American Love Story; originally choreographer by Andy Blankenbuehler and additional choreography by Jennifer Jancuska and Stephanie Klemons, A Chorus Line (Cassie), Footloose (Ariel cover) directed/choreographed by Emmy award winning Broadway choreographer, AC Cuilla, CATS (Elektra/swing),A Chorus Line (Vicki/swing), Broadway Our Way (featured performer – Turks and Caicos Islands), and Walnut St Theatres’ production of Curtains.