Founder and Director, Exousia Dance Fitness; Dance Educator
Jacqueline Gaffney is the founder and director of Exousia Dance Fitness and the creator of Bethesda, a movement therapy workout designed to provide intensive healing for physical and emotional well-being and relief from the imbalances of everyday life. She is also a dancer, choreographer, and teacher who specializes in contemporary and West African dance, and dance of the Afro-Caribbean diaspora. She holds a Per Diem Certificate in Dance and Performing Arts from the New York City Board of Education and is certified by the Aerobics Fitness Association of America (AFAA) and the American Council on Exercise (ACE).
Since 1997, Ms. Gaffney has been an adjunct professor in the CUNY Hunter College Dance Program, where she teaches West African and Afro-Caribbean dance with an emphasis in practice and theory. She choreographs for the Hunter Dance Company LecDem Program, which brings performances featuring Hunter College dancers to various high schools throughout New York City, and is a teacher and faculty advisor for the College Now Program, as well as a Master Teacher for the Hunter College Arnhold Graduate Dance Education Program. In 2013, she was chosen to participate as a mentor in the mentoring program for undergraduate dance majors. To showcase the work of her students, Ms. Gaffney began the West African Dance concert series at Hunter in 2000, which she has been presenting every year during the fall and spring semesters.
Ms. Gaffney was a Dance and Movement Specialist in Alvin Ailey’s Arts and Education Program (high school and junior high school division), specializing in African and modern dance for both in-house and outreach programs from 1999 to 2004. She facilitated the NYC Board of Education staff development workshop “Fit-for-Life,” designed to equip NYC teachers to implement aerobic fitness as a part of physical education programs. In 2012, she was a lead presenter for the New York State Dance Educators Association (NYSDEA) annual conference at the NYU Steinhardt School of Education Teaching Workshop. In addition to Hunter, Ms. Gaffney has taught at various universities, such as The New School, Long Island University, and Barnard College at Columbia University. She was a guest teacher at Mercy College’s Camp Discovery 2011, in collaboration with Gilda’s Club of Westchester, and conducted a dance exercise class to help cancer survivors increase their active range of motion.
Ms. Gaffney has facilitated seminars and lectures in religious dance in the tri-state area and the Caribbean, and has implemented African dance programs as a part of worship in several churches. Her career reflects over 25 years of dance education, training, development and program management in both secular and non-secular environments. As a teacher, she thrives on motivating her students to work at optimum levels through creative expression, while keeping a clear perspective of the goals to be accomplished.
You may contact Ms. Gaffney at: