Western European, Eastern European
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Susan Janet Reineck studied ballet in her youth, performing with the New York City ballet as a child. As a young adult she studied modern dance with Virginia Story Crawford and ballet with Don Hewitt in Los Angeles. Janet's early background in ballet and modern dance led to an interest in ethnic dance during college.
She studied Transylvanian dance in Romania and taught Balkan dance in Europe and the U.S. She also performed with Hungarian, Polish, and Albanian dance ensembles in Europe, studied Transylvanian dance in Romania, and taught Balkan dance in Europe and the U.S.
As a member of the AMAN International Dance Ensemble in Los Angeles she performed the dances of the Middle East, Africa, and Central Asia.
Janet earned a Bachelor of Arts in Ethnic Arts and a Master's in Dance Ethnology from the University of California (Los Angeles), and a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of California (Berkeley). She started a program in dance ethnology at UCLA which led to her travelling in Europe and especially in Eastern Europe.
In the 1970s, she got more involved in the dances of Yugoslavia and started dancing during the summers all over the Balkans, including Transylvania for a summer learning men's dances from the country's mountains. She danced as well in Hungary, Bulgaria, the Black Sea area, and Romania.
She lived in Kosovo (former Yugoslavia) for eight years as a researcher doing field research, then aid work for Oxfam, the International Rescue Committee, and George Soros' Open Society Foundation.
In 1985, Janet taught several Albanian dances at the California Kolo Festival.
Before the war in the late 1990s, all foreigners had to leave, so she came back to Santa Barbara in 1997 where her parents lived. Realizing that she needed to bring together all the dance forms she had been studying all her life, she opened a dance studio at the Santa Barbara Dance Center. She also chose the charity Women for Women International that supports women's survivors of war in Africa, Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia, and Kosovo.
Janet directed fundraising for Direct Relief International, a Santa Barbara-based medical aid organization. As Search Dog Foundation's Director of Development at the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation in Ojai, California. She was responsible for their operating budget and oversaw the Estate and Sponsor programs, media relations, publications, and national outreach, as well as the National Training Center Campaign.
Her class, World Dance Workout, brings together the best of Latin, Middle Eastern, African, Balkan dance, and rock n' roll. Through her class she supports women survivors of war through Women for Women International. Her goal in creating World Dance Workout is to share the joy of international music and dance while serving people in need. Janet brings her extensive background in ethnic dance and her work in humanitarian aid together to create the World Dance experience.
Janet is the founder and executive director of World Dance for Humanity, a Santa Barbara-based grassroots organization helping twenty-eight Rwandan communities left divided and destitute by the 1994 Genocide.
Janet's articles and publications include
- Seizing the Past, Forging the Present: Changing Visions of Self and Nation Among the Kosova Albanians. Susan Janet Reineck, Self Published, Los Angeles.
- Wedding Dances from Kosovo, Yugoslavia: a Structural and Contextual Analysis. Susan Janet Reineck, Self Published, Los Angeles, 1985. 257 pp.
Dances Janet has taught include Gishtì për Gishtë, Karadak, Moh Hatixhe, Ne Bashqe o me Portokalle, and Tahir Bega.