GIDA Director

About Jennifer

Artist, Educator/Teacher, Parent, Performer

Areas of expertise

Dance, Fitness, Choreography, Staging Performances, Preparing Students for Auditions, Energy Work
Jennifer teaches, directs, and choreographs for Garden Island Dance Academy. She founded her dance school on Kauai in 1998 under the name Royal Ballet Kauai Academy, the same year she graduated from the Royal Ballet School and received her teaching degree from the Royal Academy of Dancing.
For twenty-five years she has taught students of all ages and abilities from three years old to elders in their 90s, beginners through to professionals. She has trained teachers and has amassed over 2,000 videos to provide instruction for dance on Vimeo and published give “How To Dance” instructional DVDs for children, adults, and teachers in the Anatomy of Ballet Volume 1,2,3 video series, ballet dancing for children, beginner pointe, ballet barre workout that can be found on
As a performer she was awarded People’s Choice award for best dancer on Kauai in 2006. And Ballet Hawaii offered her soloist guest roles in their Kauai tour of the Nutcracker, choreographed by Tom Pazik in 1998 and 1999.
Jennifer Bell Grey
Jennifer began choreographing works for her students and dedicating herself to full-time teaching in the fall of 1998. Her first choreographic works premiered at the Princeville Hotel Ballroom in 1999 and included music of Samual Barber, Aaron Copland, The Temptations, Marvin Gaye, and a fusion of music and array of dance that was unique and rich in variety. The show was based on environmental awareness and caring for the earth before the terms “Green” and “Environmentally friendly” became mainstream. This was in collaboration with her husband at the time, Mel Bell-Grey of Eyes Wide Open Productions
As a team they produced two decades of original shows. Between 2005-2017 over 9,000 school children across Kauai were bused to see top self-produced shows at Kauai Community College. They also held performances at the Performing Arts Center, the War Memorial Convention Hall, Kilauea Theater, and Waimea Theater and produced a dinner show for the Wailua Marian Restaurant.
Several of Jennifer’s students continued their training and opened their own schools and dance companies and became dance professionals. And a great many more have learned that dance and music are skills they can enjoy for a lifetime.
Jennifer has spoken on Hawai’i public radio about fusing dance with a new way of showcasing traditional ballet. She also published the book “Adventures of Nani and Koa” illustrated by Stephanie Britt who is a well-known fine artist.
Jennifer at 13

Jennifer Schwartz, age 13, Swan Lake, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London England.

Jennifer has a love for languages and besides speaking French for dance class, she is bilingual in Thai from when she lived in Thailand as a child.
Jennifer was born in Southern California to Fredrick and Teresita. Her father was a surgeon from Brooklyn, New York, and her mother was a medical technologist from Mindanao in the Philippines. Her parents moved to Kauai in the early 70s before she was born. She grew up on Kauai with her younger sister Suzanne before they moved to Hong Kong where Jennifer started ballet with Royal Academy of Dancing Teacher in Kowloon Town, Betty Kot.
It was in Hong Kong where Jennifer watched Natalia Mukarova’s performance in the Royal Ballet 1982 version of Swan Lake and became transfixed on the idea of becoming a dancing swan.
After three years of dance training in Hong Kong, she moved to Bangkok, Thailand where she attended Mater Dei school and learned Thai dancing and academics all in Thai language. By the time she was age 8 turning 9 the family moved to England where her father practiced medicine at St Peter’s Hospital in Chertsey, Surrey.
She attended her first boarding school for classical ballet training at Royal Tombridge Wells under the tutelage of Anna Lendrum, Pearl Gaden Westlake, and Derek Westlake who directed the Legat School of Russian Style Ballet.
Madame Lendrum, as she was called, had the privilege of being the last direct pupil of Nicolas Legat of the Imperial Ballet School in Russia. Nicolas Legat was also the great teacher of Nijinsky and Anna Pavlova. Pearl Gaden Westlake and Derek Westlake were both soloists with the Sadlers Well’s Ballet when it became the Royal Ballet.
Jennifer was the last pupil of Madame Anna Lendrum, and a photo can be seen of her in Anna’s autobiography published in 2008 just before she died at the age of 102.
Under Madame Lendrum’s training, Jennifer was awarded a spot to train at the acclaimed Royal Ballet School at White Lodge in Richmond Park, Surrey. The school was under Royal Charter whose patron until recently was Princess Margaret and Queen Elisabeth II.
Jennifer Bell Grey

BalletJEN Breathing and Body Mechanics workout

At the Royal Ballet School Jennifer studied dance under Patricia Linton (Cecchetti), Shierly Grahame (RAD), Dame Merle Park, Linda Goss (Bolshoi & Vaganova), Jackie Barrett, Hope Keelan, and Valorie Adams, all RAD. Jennifer Graduated after eight years of training under the Teacher’s Course founder Valorie Adams.
Her plans of returning home to Kauai in 1998 to live with her mother and sister were short lived. Jennifer’s father had died when she was in her third year at the Royal Ballet School, and Jennifer’s mother passed away within a year of her return to Kauai, the day before her first recital at the Lihue Parish Hall in 1999. Jennifer married Mel Bell-Grey in December of 1999 and together the “Mother Earth SOS” dance show was born in the climate of Y2K panic on Kauai. Its premiere at the Princeville Hotel marked a new era of dance and performance for Jennifer, one that has spanned more than twenty-five years.
Jennifer worked for Kauai Ballet Academy starting in 2019 for 3.5 years, establishing the classes and assisting in standing and choreography for its 2022 Nutcracker at the War Memorial Convention Hall. In this performance Jennifer’s 11-year-old daughter performed the role of Spanish Princess and served as Clara’s understudy.

Successful summer school additions in 2023 included:

  • Cleopatra Bell-Grey – (Jennifer’s daughter) Ballet Hawaii Summer Intensive
  • Leila Yamamoto – Ballet Hawaii Summer Intensive
  • Naomi Thompson – Bolshoi Ballet Academy (Connecticut)
  • Gemma Kirkcaldie – Jeffrey Ballet School (New York)

Teaching students of all ages and abilities has been Jennifer’s passion and she spends her time three days a week teaching in Lihue and three dance a week on Kauai’s North Shore.

Performances for 2023-2024
  • Garden Island Dance Academy Variety Showcase
    Monday (Labor Day), September 4
    Hale Halawai O Hanalei – (Hanalei Community Center)
  • Kauai Corale Christmas Performance Saturday, December 16 7:00 PM Location TBA
  • Dance Vision – Variety Show War Memorial Convention Hall Theater Saturday, February 3 Two Performances 1:00 PM & 6:00 PM
Auditions – Students with ambitions for 2024 summer schools are guided to start GIDA’s audition preparation classes in October 2023