LES FEMMES PLUS
Les femmes Plus is a company that consists only of people I really enjoy working with. I have not had an audition. We are connected to each other, we enjoy working with each other, and each person brings something of themselves to the table. We explore different types of tap dance, sometimes we sing, sometimes we speak, sometimes we get down and sometimes we stay up, sometimes we laugh and sometimes we are very serious, but always we have something to say.
In 2004 I came to a point when I wanted to start creating something both for and about myself. Not having any idea how to do that I took myself off to paris (my favorite city) to work with Sarah Petronio – a tap dance improvisor extraordinaire. Although I could not reproduce one single concrete thing we did, I came home energized and inspired to make a commitment to myself and my own creativity.
Since that time I have committed myself to going in to a studio at least once a week, for no purpose other than to create. At first I was alone, and then one of my assistants came in, then another, and then we had a piece of choreography, and then another.
I realized that we were actually a company. And what to name us? Since we were 4 women, I decided to honor Paris and my favorite language and call us Les Femmes. And so we were……..until a man came along and then we were no longer Les femmes, what could we do? So we became Le Femmes Plus. That ought cover it, now we can include men. women dogs cats you name it, and we will still be Les Femmes Plus.
My mission is to utilize tap dancing, as well as other elements of my background (acting, modern dance) in order to delight people. When someone says of a piece or performance that they found us delightful I am very happy.
Jill Kenney grew up dancing in Rhode Island, studying dance under the direction of Lisa Mailloux and also at the Newport Academy of Ballet. She earned her dance degree from Dean College where she was also awarded the Gregory Hines Tap Scholarship and the Trustee’s Prize in Dance. After college, Jill performed for Disney Cruise Lines and then relocated to New York to study dance, perform, and teach. She has been a member of Les Femmes and Germaine’s teaching assistant at Broadway Dance Center since 2008. She has also taught at Steps on Broadway. Jill currently resides in Long Beach, NY and teaches children on Long Island.
Shelby Kaufman, originally from Michigan, has trained in a variety of dance styles since the age of 5. Now living in New York, she dances as a member of the legendary Brenda Bufalino’s ‘New’ American Tap Dance Orchestra, and world-renowned tap teacher Germaine Salsberg’s company ‘Les Femmes’. She assists and frequently guest teaches for Salsberg at Broadway Dance Center, Steps on Broadway, and the American Tap Dance Foundation, and has been a member of the Peridance Capezio Center faculty in Union Square as well. Shelby has founded and currently runs two companies; ‘Mazel Toes,’ comprised of professional Jewish hoofers in New York, and the Great Lakes Youth Dance Ensemble (GLYDE), based in Michigan. She acts as the Artistic Director and Choreographer for both companies.Shelby’s choreography has been featured in the 2009 and 2010 Tap City ‘Main Event,’ the 2009 ‘Tappy Holidays,’ the 21st Annual ‘Tap Extravaganza,’ the first ‘Young Choreographer’s Festival,’ ‘Band of Gypsies,’ and Motor City’s ‘Masters of Tap.’ Shelby assists tap legend Dr. Harold ‘Stumpy’ Cromer both in choreography and master classes, has become Chloe Arnold’s dance captain for a number of projects in New York, and was the assistant to Joshua Bergasse for his musical theatre choreography showcase. Shelby was recently seen as a guest tap dancer on Sesame Street. Other notable performance venues include the Apollo Theatre, Lincoln Center, and Symphony Space in Manhattan, The George Street Playhouse in New Jersey, The Duke Ellington Theatre in Washington DC, and Orchestra Hall in Detroit, Michigan.