As a five year old she began modern dance classes with Shirley McKechnie in Bodenwieser style, which was the beginning of a long association with Shirley first as a student and later as a colleague. From 1966 to 1972 she performed with the Contemporary Dance Theatre of Melbourne under Shirley McKechnie’s artistic direction. As director of the Beaumaris School of Modern Ballet 1972 to 1979 Jenny taught children’s dance classes gaining in both experience and commitment to the value of dance education.
In 1974 Jenny joined the staff of the Physical Education Department at Rusden College initially as a part-time Tutor. In 1978 Jenny transferred to the Dance and Drama Department, to work again with Shirley and contribute to the development of the first dance-major in a Bachelor of Education course in Australia. In 1976 travelled to New York for the first of several visits to study at the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Centre, and the Merce Cunningham Studio. These experiences led to her appointment as Modern (Graham) teacher at the Australian Ballet School from 1980 to 1981.
Jenny moved to Tasmania in May 1981 to establish the Tasmanian Dance Company (later renamed Tasdance), Australia’s first Dance-in-Education team. In 1984, she was awarded Travel/Study grants by the Theatre Board of the Australia Council and the Tasmanian Government to observe the operations of the renowned “in-education” companies, the Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company based in Utah, USA and the Ludus Dance Company, based in Lancaster, UK.
As Artistic Director of Tasdance since its inception in 1981, Jenny Kinder has directed its development from Australia’s first Dance-in-Education company through to the position as one of the most creative and exciting contemporary dance companies in Australia. During her 14 years as artistic director Jenny also choreographed and performed in numerous works for the company.