Jack Kinneer


Bulgarian, Macedonian, Polynesian

Jack Kineer


Jack Kinneer was born in Wheeling, West Virginia on December 11, 1949, and gained an early appreciation of ethnic studies by collecting native American Indian artifacts from the newly-plowed fields near his home.

Upon moving to California, he attended high school in Reseda. He started the Zadruga Bulgarian Folk Ensemble and taught Balkan and Macedonian dancing at Zorbas the Greek Folk Dance Coffeehouse and Restaurant. He collected costumes from all areas of the Balkans.

It was during those years that he started developing an interest in Polynesian history, culture, and dance. Jack realized that Polynesian dancing was what he really loved, and Ote'a Polynesian Folk Ensemble was started from the members of Zadruga in the spring ofd 1973.

His first Ote'a group rehearsed in his backyard, complete with tropical garden, tiki torches, and a grass hut.

Continuing his education as an art student at Pierce College, Jack drummed with Taimani, and used to do fire knife dancing during the half-time show with the Ote'a group.

Ote'a was enthusiastically received by audiences everywhere. Under Jack's direction, Ote'a received multiple awards each year at the annual Polynesian Dance Competition, U.S.A. Many of his long-time members were recruited from students who took Polynesian dance lessons from Jack's classes at Everywoman's Village in Van Nuys.

Jack died on September 1, 1989 as a result of a car accident. He was 39.

Dances Jack taught include Hoa Ana.

Jack wrote a poem:

And though I have left you,
     cry not.
For I choose my road.
I know of your concern and am
    humble in knowing.
But my time with you has ended.
But only for awhile.
Sorrow only if I should
    leave myself behind, for
    them I am lost in emotion.
I have not stopped caring.
    I am aware.
I am reaching out to new
    lands and new skies
    and seas for each is
    different and each can
    know my joy, and
    I can know theirs and
    be peaceful in mind and
    laugh in the dusk

                Jack Kinneer


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