Extraordinary Women: Shannon Hummel

Shannon Hummel has been a choreographer and arts educator for over 20 years. The founding artistic director of Cora Dance, a professional dance company and education organization, she is committed to bringing her work to the widest possible audience, with particular focus on communities lacking performing arts experiences due to limited resources or other isolating factors. Hummel’s work has been embraced as much by renowned critics and seasoned dance audiences as by schoolchildren, church congregations and passersby in public parks.

Since 2002, she has presented dance performances and education initiatives in isolated or under-served communities in VA, WV, KY, NJ, NY and VT. In 2009, Hummel established The Cora Studio in the socio-economically divided neighborhood of Red Hook, Brooklyn, to bring together her passions for choreography and education.

The studio provides 10-20 evenings of live performances annually, seven days a week of professional dance classes for adults and kids (many including afterschool pick up, free snack and dance-wear, and additional childcare for families); and gathering space to the entire community, ALL on a pay-what-you-can basis.

Shannon has served on faculties of numerous schools and studios including James Madison University (where she holds a BS in Dance) and Queensborough Colllege. She curates, adjudicates and has been a guest speaker at American Dance Festival – NY; American College Dance Festival; Dance Theatre Workshop; and at many universities, often speaking to audiences about how to build bridges to the arts for communities lacking access. She is proud mother to a lively five-year-old boy named Henry and wife to actor Greg McFadden.

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