About Us

Garden Island Dance Academy

Jennifer Schwartz Bell-Grey founded her school Garden Island Dance Academy in 1998 when she graduated from the Royal Ballet School of London England. She is an ambassador of the Royal Ballet School, and her classes are the most Western Outpost of anyone who has her degree from the Royal Ballet School Teacher’s Course. Dance classes in Classical Ballet, Hip Hop, Jazz, Contemporary, Flamenco and Modern Dance are offered to students of all ages and abilities.
Dance teachers for Garden Island Dance Academy are highly trained professionals. Students have many opportunities to give performances throughout the year and this has enabled students to excel and grow in their dancing and for our Kauai community to experience the gift of dance.

About the founder

Jennifer Schwartz Bell-Grey ARAD, Dip RBS TC

Dance, Fitness, Choreography, Staging Performances, Auditions preparation and teacher training.

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 over 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 “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 onlinedancecenter.com As a performer she was awarded People’s Choice award for best dancer on Kauai in 2006. And Ballet Hawaii performed as a guest soloist in roles in their Kauai tour of the Nutcracker, choreographed by Tom Pazik.
Jennifer began choreographing works for her students and dedicating herself to full-time teaching in the fall of 1998.
Jennifer Bell Grey
Jennifer has spoken on Hawaii public radio about fusing dance with a new way of showcasing traditional ballet. She co-authored the book the “Adventures of Nani and Koa ”, an educational children’s book where two dancers dance ballet across the island of Kauai visiting various places and exploring their island home all the while dancing ballet.
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 the 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 on BBC TV and became transfixed on the idea of becoming a dancing swan. Jennifer produced Swan Lake Act 2 with her students at the War Memorial Convention Hall Theater, Kauai, Hawaii.
After three years of dance training in Hong Kong, she moved to Bangkok, Thailand where she attended Mater Dei school and learned Thai dancing. 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.
Jennifer at 13

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

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 Elizabeth II.
At the Royal Ballet School Jennifer graduated from intensive studies in Classical Ballet as well as many genres of dance including Hip Hop, Contemporary, Theater Dance, Tap, National Folk dances of Europe, Russian & Hungarian character dance, Classical Spanish and Flamenco. She is looking forward to creating a class to teach Filipino cultural dances at the Kauai Philippines Cultural Center, as a way for Jennifer’s to share in her own cultural heritage.
She brings her wealth of knowledge of all forms of dance in the classroom and it is from this basis students are able to learn.
Jennifer is mother to two children, her daughter, Cleopatra age 12 and son Dayo age 9. And yes, Dayo is Day-O as in the Harry Belafonte song. It means joy arrives in the Yorba language. They are both dancers and young musicians on violin and piano.
Jennifer has a love for languages and besides speaking French for dance class, she is bilingual in Thai from these 3 years she lived in Thailand as a child.
Jennifer Bell Grey

BalletJEN Breathing and Body Mechanics workout

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.