Jennifer Drake, originally from Frisco,TX began her dance training at the age of 2 at The Tuzer Ballet under the direction of Pat and Tanju Tuzer.
Jennifer's early studies took her to The National Ballet of Canada where she studied for almost a year and summer programs at The Kirov in Washington D.C. At the age of 15, Jennifer continued her training at The Harid Conservatory in Boca Raton,FL.
Upon graduating with the President's Academic Award of Achievement, Jennifer joined The Cincinnati Ballet where she performed corps, soloist, and principle roles including Myrtha in Victoria Morgan and Devon Carney's 'Giselle', Temperament Fairy and Carabosse in Kirk Peterson's 'Sleeping Beauty', 'Winter Fairy' and 'Step Mother' in Victoria Morgan's 'Cinderella', Jennifer in Val Caniporoli's 'Lamberena', 'The Gods' in Seventh Symphony where she was coached by the late Frederic Franklin, and Second Regiment Lead in George Balanchine's 'Stars and Stripes'.
Since then, she has performed as a principle artist with companies across America and began freelancing, including performing in a gala with Ballet Manila in the Philippines, work with Melissa Barak's company Barak Ballet in Los Angelos,CA, and Amy Seiwert's company Imagery in San Francisco,CA.
Some of Jennifer's favorite full length roles include Odette in Swan Lake where she was coached by the late Elaine Thomas of the Royal Ballet, Carmen, Giselle, Cinderella, and George Balanchine's 'The Man I Love' and 'Fascinatin Rhythm' in 'Who Cares?' as well as Valse Fantasies. Her favorite contemporary original works choreographed on her are leads in Darrell Grand Moultrie and Ma Cong pieces.
She has been a guest choreographer for Chattanooga Ballet in Chattanooga,TN and Arova Contemporary Ballet in Birmingham,AL.
Jennifer began forming The Dancer Project in the late Fall of 2015 with local Nashville artists, creating an artistic outlet and place for professionals to train for free. After four successful performance series, she decided to make a brick and mortar ballet community and school to allow dance to be more accessible to see and do. She is excited to shape the ballet community with affordable professional training for both youth and adults and to bring performances to communities that lack access to see live performance art.
Along with teaching and choreography, Jennifer enjoys spending time tending to her garden, playing with her four dogs, cat, horse, duck and chickens on her farm in Gallatin,TN with her wife, Amanda.
She accredits where she is today to the support of her family throughout her professional dancing career and to her wife who helped her believe that the dreams she dreamt on paper could come true in spite of hardships and doubt. With dance training spanning over 31 years of her life and 17 years and counting of professional teaching and performing career, Jennifer loves sharing her passion for dance with Nashville, East Nashville, Inglewood, and surrounding communities. She invites you to come, try out a class, and to Join the Pursuit and be a part of a community of artists, for artists, by artists.
Amanda Foster- Drake
Amanda Foster-Drake, originally from Mount Juliet,TN, began involvement within the dance world in 2016. With a background in basketball and martial arts, Amanda took private lessons in dance, from Jennifer, as a form of exercise and fell in love with ballet. She has performed on multiple occasions with The Dancer Project and has also worked behind the scenes as our stage manager for several productions.
What she loves most about The Dancer Project are the opportunities for everyone, from our youngest students to our older adults, the outlet for dance in an environment that is open, accessible, and inspirational. She has worked alongside her wife, Jennifer, within the conservatory as a teacher to the lower division classes. Amanda is proud of the community work we are giving to areas that simply are lacking performing arts.
Outside of The Dancer Project, Amanda enjoys spending time on her and Jennifer's farm in Gallatin,TN, painting, writing and playing music, and being with her wife.
She encourages any adult looking for a new outlet for self expression and looking to join a community of other fun, loving, and supportive adults, while learning a new craft, to "Join the Pursuit" and take a class with Us. She began dancing at 35 years old. She loves to tell others who hesitant to try, "If I can do it, anybody can... come on down, the water is fine!".
Elizabeth 'Elsbeth' Banas
Bio Coming Soon!
Born in SE KY, started dancing with his mother at 3 after watching American Bandstand and trying to copy all the dance moves on the screen, Kelvin has trained and been involved in Theatre and Dance most of his life. He has a Bachelor degree in Theatre from Morehead State University and his Master of Fine Arts in Choreography and Dance from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Kelvin moved to Nashville to Dance with Tennessee Dance Theatre and perform at Chaffin’s Barn Dinner Theater in 1992. He has performed around the United States in dance, theatre and film as well as taught at multiple Universities, Colleges, Companies and Studios in Modern, Jazz, Theatre Dance, Contemporary, Choreography and Improvisation. He favorite thing about teaching is helping students discover new ways of achieving their movement goals and understanding the connections between the body, mind and artistic statements.