"A safe space to grow, to challenge, to adapt, to learn"

I won’t ever forget my first class with Jen. It was studio workshop, and walking in, I didn’t know what to expect. We started with the circle exercise. We stood in a circle with one member of the class in the middle at a time, expressing themselves through movement accompanied by the astonishingly spectacular Drew Wutke on the keys. On the outside of the circle, we had to mirror the movements of the person on the inside. I was terrified. This was unlike anything I had ever done in a studio class before. I was stiff, I was shy, I was judging myself. But then something incredible happened. As I listened to Jen speak, and I watched the other in the class move around me, I felt a strange peace settle over me, unlike anything I had every experienced in a class before. I found myself loosening up. This was a space where everyone had come to do the work. To truly do the work. Not to put together a polished piece and have it critiqued, no. This studio was a safe space to grow, to challenge, to adapt, to learn. I left that first class invigorated. That was almost four years ago, and I cannot truly begin to count the ways in which I have grown, not just as a performer, but as a human since I started taking with Jen.

For me, what makes Jen so incredibly singular and special is her ability to hone in to every single person that walks through the door and assess how she can be of the most service to them, making it impossible not to feel immediately at home and safe within the walls of the studio. The work that she nurtures and extracts from her students is thrilling to watch. Part of why I feel such growth is because of how much I have learned sitting, watching others in their session. She has also amassed the most incredible group of peers to teach, filling out an already tremendous line up of class offerings. And then on top of all of this is Jen’s never ending quest and love of knowledge. From seminars presented by upstanding and likeminded peers, to the book of the month and beyond, Jen takes such pleasure from learning and is determined to make all knowledge she comes across readily available to all.

And then there is the studio itself, which is such a thriving and supportive community. I know I’ve turned to the members of JWS on countless occasions for guidance or with a question, and am always met with the most encouraging and helpful of responses. The JWS community is such a gift, and it is only because of Jen’s leadership and example that it can exist with such positivity and forward thinking momentum, it is such an honor to be a part of. I look forward to everything I have yet to learn from her, and I am beyond grateful for everything she has done for me and my journey. The Jen Waldman Studio is a truly special place, and I am so ridiculously grateful to be a part of it.
— Ally Bonino
Tony Howell