Ariel in The Tempest, 2012
Directing A Midsummer Night's Dream at The Royall Tyler Theatre at The University of Vermont
A movement professional with over 25 years of experience, Jena is a performer, educator, director, and collaborative theatre maker. After two decades in New York City, Jena relocated with her family to the state of Vermont, where she is Co-Artistic Director of Vermont Shakespeare Festival, which she co-founded in 2005.
From 1997-2016 Jena was on faculty at The Stella Adler Studio of Acting in New York City where she taught Movement for Actors, Physical Acting and Devising for both the Professional Conservatory and New York University's Tisch School of the Arts Drama Department. From 2008-2016 she served as Head of the Movement Department. She has been movement director/physical acting coach on over 40 productions in New York.
Other teaching: Lecturer in Acting at The University of Vermont, and faculty at The National Shakespeare Conservatory. She has taught workshops at SUNY Purchase Dance Dept., Michael Howard Studios (assistant to Fay Simpson), The School for Visual Arts, The Hathaway Brown School, Chelsea Piers, The Flynn Center for the Performing Arts, and Chandler-Gilbert Community College. Jena has been a guest artist at both Champlain College and Saint Michael's College. She actively mentors emerging young theatre makers and actors in Vermont and New York, coaching and advising on college auditions and graduate school prep.
Jena has taught movement and dance classes for young people, gymnasts, athletes, and actors. She has trained in: The Lucid Body Technique, Laban-Bartenieff, Grotowski, Viewpoints, and Yoga. From 1997-2007 she was a certified personal trainer teaching group fitness classes and working with private clients in New York City.
As a performer, her work ranges from devised physical theatre to classical theatre. Performing credits - New York: Lincoln Center, Cherry Lane Theatre, Ohio Theatre, Connelly Theatre, and HERE. Regional: Glimmerglass Opera, KO Festival (MA), Vermont Shakespeare Festival, Gorilla Theatre (FL). Jena has also performed abroad in London, and was invited to spend a month studying with Pina Bausch and Tanztheatre Wupperthal in Germany. Most recently, Jena appeared as Nora in Vermont Stage's production of A Doll's House, Part 2.
As a choreographer/director her work includes critically acclaimed New York productions of Richard III, Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Julius Caesar, and 11 seasons of Shakespeare in the Park for Vermont Shakespeare Festival. Jena has collaborated with ground-breaking artists such as Judith Malina, Margie Gillis, Fay Simpson and John Gould-Rubin. She was a member of Actor's Equity Association and Screen Actor's Guild/AFTRA from 2000-2018.
BFA in Dance Performance from the Performing Arts Conservatory at SUNY Purchase.