Jacqueline Gaffney
(917) 557-5672 |

High-energy dancer, choreographer, entrepreneur and teacher of African dance and exercise fitness, with specializations in aerobics and West African, Afro-Caribbean, contemporary, and modern dance styles.  


Arnhold Graduate Dance Education Program, Hunter College (CUNY), NY
Jan. 2013 – present

  • Guest teacher in methodologies for teaching West African and Caribbean cultural dance to students in grades K-12 as a special staff member

Hunter College Dance Program, Hunter College (CUNY), NY
Sept. 1997 – present
Adjunct Professor

  • Taught Level 1 West African Dance, an exploration of the traditions of folkloric West African dance styles
  • Instructed students in movements and traditions of this historical style, with an emphasis on comprehension of West African history, religion and culture, including the African diaspora
  • Taught Level 2 West African dance, a deeper exploration of the traditions of folkloric West African dance and its relationship to other dance and art forms across the African continent and in world contemporary and modern dance
  • Instructed students in movements and traditions of African dance and its relationship to the development of contemporary dance and other art forms across the world
  • Instructed students in the significance of improvisation and how to incorporate improvisation into their own work and choreography
  • Complemented dance lessons with readings of academic texts, film screenings, writing and research assignments, and in-class presentations
  • Produced a concert as the concluding activity for both courses, in which students presented various dances they researched and practiced during the semester to the Hunter College community

College Now

  • Taught African Dance and the Fundamentals of Contemporary Dance as part of College Now, a program that prepares New York high school students for college by offering dual enrollment at local institutions of higher education
  • Instructed students in the influence of traditional African dance on the development of other art forms, including jazz, hip hop, and modern and contemporary dances
  • Focused on both practice and theory, with lessons in movement complemented by readings of academic texts and film screenings
  • Produced a culminated concert for the course

2013 – present

  • Chosen as a Mentor for the Hunter College Dance Program’s Mentoring Program that pairs educators with individual students to support their artistic and academic growth

Department of Theatre, Barnard College, NY
Sept. 2012

  • Guest taught World of Theatre course for undergraduate theatre majors, conducting a workshop in Yoruba dance performance
  • Taught entire movement sequence of Funga, the “Welcome Dance” of Nigeria
  • Lead students toward a holistic approach to performance
  • Explored the relationship between dance and theatre

Mercy College, Occupational Therapy Program, NY
May 2011 – 2012

  • Lead summer workshops integrating dance into fitness routines for members of Gilda’s Club, a support group for cancer patients
  • Explored how the movements of different dance forms, such as African and contemporary dance, can build strength and help recovery from serious illness, including cancer

Long Island University (LIU), Department of Dance, NY
Sept. 2007 – Dec. 2009
Adjunct Professor

  • Taught World of African Dance course, which explored the bonds shared among the cultures of Africa’s eastern, western, and southern regions, including those related to dance, religion, and history
  • Coordinator of the African Dance Open House, which offered dance performances open to the public each semester

New School University, NY
Jan. 2000 – 2004
Artist in Residence

  • Taught workshops to both faculty and students in West African and Afro-Caribbean dance, focusing on technique as well as history and culture
  • Served as the Choreographer and Production Coordinator for Open House concerts performed each semester


CCC’s Faith & Fitness Crenshaw Christian Center, NY
2005 – present
Fitness Educator

  • Lead a weekly class in aerobic dance and fitness
  • Lectured on the importance of maintaining good health

West Islip Public Schools, NY
Jan. 2012 – 2013

  • Guest taught workshops in Afro-Brazilian and African dance to 11th and 12th graders in the West Islip High School Dance Company
  • Course focused on dance technique as well as theory and practical thought
  • Choreographed dance piece for a school dance concert

New York City Department of Education: Arts and Education Program
Jan. 1 2000 – 2011
Dance and Movement Specialist / Artist in Residence

  • Facilitator and Staff Development Coordinator for the Fit-for-Life Program
  • Taught classes in aerobic fitness as well as African, modern, and jazz dance to students in grades 1- 2
  • Coordinator and Choreographer for productions at various New York schools
  • Approved for future contract-teaching appointments

Housing Works Women’s Health Center, NY
Jan. 2008 – 2010

  • Provided recreational therapy using aerobics and personal training for women living with HIV
  • Taught twice-weekly classes in African dance and creative movement
  • Designed individual activity programs
  •  based on participant’s needs

Revelations Dance School, NY
Jan. 2005 – 2010
Artistic Director and Choreographer

  • Coordinated dance program, concerts, classes, and outreach programs that promoted the school
  • Trained staff in methods for teaching dance classes for students ages 5-18
  • Choreographed and led the school’s Dance Company in African, modern, and contemporary dance

New Covenant Christian Academy, NY
March 2005 – 2007

  • Taught dance and physical education to students in grades 1-12, including aerobic dance, body conditioning, and how to maintain good health
  • Created an after-school dance program to teach students techniques of modern and African dance
  • Directed music program in singing and African Drumming
  • Coordinated and directed various dance and music concerts
  • Coached recreational sports, including basketball and track & field

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, NY
Jan. 2000 – 2005

  • Dance and Movement Specialist and Dance Educator for the high school and junior high school divisions, specializing in African and modern dance
  • Assisted with in-house and outreach programs, including an interdisciplinary partnership with the New York City Department of Education
  • Served as Artist in Residence, Coordinator and Choreographer for the NYCDE partnership

Anointed Minds Christian Academy, NY
Jan. 2000 – 2004

  • Dance and Movement Specialist for students in grades K-12, instructing them in aerobic fitness, as well as African, modern and liturgical dance
  • Choreographed annual school productions

Hudson Repertory Center for the Performing Arts, NJ
Jan. 2002 – Nov. 2005

  • Teacher and Choreographer for the Hudson Repertory Dance Company
  • Conducted classes and workshops in modern, West African, and contemporary African dance for students 10 to 18 years old
  • Coordinator for after-school dance program
  • Choreographed dances for the outreach program and in-house dance projects


Exousia Dance and Fitness Inc.
2011 – present
Founder and Director

  • This arts and cultural organization is dedicated to supporting the creative, educational, and vocational development of youth and families while educating institutions and communities about the contribution of the arts to good health and wellness in the 21st Century
  • The Exousia Dance Company brings spiritual dance performances to a variety of venues and cultural events

Bethesda Movement Therapy
2013 – present
Founder and Director

  • This dance therapy workout is designed to provide intensive healing for physical and emotional well-being and relief from he imbalances of everyday life


New York State Dance Education Association (NYSDEA), Annual Conference

  • Master taught a workshop that explored connections between Afro-Brazilian dance technique and pedagogy as well as the links between dance training, pedagogy, and digital tools

Sankofa Circle Conference, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, NY

  • Director and Choreographer for “Reaffirming African Connections and Transformations in Dance,” a session that explored the evolution of choreography by African Americans
  • Lectured on the chronology of historical dance works by black choreographers during the 19th and 20th centuries as well as provided a dance demonstration


  • Fitness Expert, American Council on Exercise (ACE) and the Aerobic Fitness Association of America (AFAA)
  • Per Diem Teaching Certification in Dance and the Performing Arts, New York City Board of Education


  • B.F.A., Physical Education, 1986
  • New York Technical College, NY