MEET OUR BOARD
Victor F. Keen
Victor Keen is the Co-Founder & Board President of the Performance Garage, and an avid supporter of the arts. Along with his wife, choreographer and dancer Jeanne Ruddy, Victor purchased the Performance Garage in 2000, and helped to oversee its transformation from an abandoned auto-body shop into the vibrant center for dance that it is today. As a founding member of the Board of Jeanne Ruddy Dance, Victor supported the company during its entire 12 year run, and was instrumental in the organization’s transition to an arts service organization following the company’s final season. In addition to his work with the Performance Garage, Victor is a devoted advocate for the arts in Philadelphia and beyond. He served on the Boards and Executive Committees of the highly regarded Kimmel Center and Philadelphia Theatre Company, and on the Board of PlayPenn, Inc., which supports new play development. Victor also owns the Bethany Mission Gallery, a repurposed church/mission adjacent to the Performance Garage, and originally built by Philadelphia Quakers in 1869. The gallery houses Victor’s extensive collection of outsider art, vintage radios, toasters and toys, and is one of the world’s largest private collections of outsider art. As the current Board President of the Performance Garage, Victor is passionate about serving the diverse group of dancers, artists, and students who call the Performance Garage home.
Kenyatta D. Donley
Kenyatta D. Donley is a native of Philadelphia and is a customer & community engagement professional employed by Independence Blue Cross. Kenyatta assists the organization in broadening its reach in underserved communities and building substantive relationships that will grow the company’s mission within the city of Philadelphia and surrounding communities. Kenyatta has more than 22 years of experience in healthcare marketing and customer engagement. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration as well as a master’s degree in global leadership. He has worked with global organizations in the healthcare industry including UnitedHealthcare, AARP, and the BlueCross and BlueShield Association. Kenyatta is also an accomplished speaker in the community engagement and health equity and access space. As a native of West Philadelphia, Kenyatta is passionate about ensuring that people in underserved communities are not ignored as it relates to healthcare and other social service needs. His focus is on finding solutions and partnerships to better serve those neighborhoods. He has taken an active role in several organizations and initiatives aligned to his core values and access for underserved communities. Kenyatta also serves on the board of the Absalom Jones Foundation and has held leadership positions in the Prince Hall Masons, the Ancient Egyptian Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Incorporates (the Shriners), and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Incorporated.
A native to the Philadelphia area, Susan fell in love with dance at a young age and quickly acquired a passion for the performing arts. She attended Temple University where she majored in Modern Dance and had the good fortune to meet Jeanne Ruddy. With Jeanne’s guidance and mentorship, Susan’s interest in working in the nonprofit sector, specifically in the area of arts administration, grew enormously. She worked as Managing Director of Jeanne Ruddy Dance until 2006 and in 2018, accepted an invitation to join the Performance Garage’s Board of Directors. In addition to the Performance Garage, Susan serves as an Advisory Board member of Breakthrough of Greater Philadelphia, a year-round academic enrichment program for underserved students from Philadelphia’s public, parochial, and charter schools. Susan currently provides organizational and administrative support to the President’s Office at Ursinus College in Collegeville, PA and resides with her husband in Phoenixville.
Millie Lane Berg
Millie Lane Berg has supported Jeanne Ruddy Dance since its inception, serving on the Board of the company and the Performance Garage for twenty years. A graduate of Agnes Scott College near Atlanta, the State University of Iowa, and Bank Street College in New York, Millie spent her childhood years in Clemson, South Carolina where her father was an English and Drama professor. A love of literature was instilled early in a house full of books, with a grandmother who quoted nursery rhymes and classics, and a mother who was a poet. Without the distraction of television, much time was spent inventing games, playing in the woods, recording speeches on a wire recorder with her father, and having dances on the back porch. Millie retired in Fall 2013 from the Community College of Philadelphia where she helped to start the Early Childhood Education program in 1973 and taught such courses as Children’s Literature, Infant and Toddler Development, Curriculum Through Play for preschool children, and Emergent Language. Current interests include involvement with two daughters and four grandchildren in the Philadelphia area, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, and with the church’s newly founded institution for children in North Philadelphia, the St. James School. Millie also recently served as the moderator for the National Museum of Jewish History's panel: Children's Literature and Social Justice featuring illustrators Jerry Pinkney, Bryan Collier, and Patrick Rogers of the Sendak collection at the Rosenbach Museum. Millie is a life-long supporter of dance and theater, and she fervently supports the Performance Garage as a community venue for dance instructors, adults, and children. Movement and dance were integral to her training in speech and dramatic art. She attributes a love of dance performance to the may day dell experiences at Agnes Scott and supernumerary opportunity with the Agnes De Mille Dance Company, and watching her own parents dance.
I’m a fairly recent transplant to the Philadelphia area. I lived in the Midwest, most recently Minneapolis, and moved here in 2015 to be closer to my son and his family. Dance has always been a part of my life. I studied dance and performed locally when I was young, but my education led me in a different direction. I have a business and IT background and have held management positions, including that of Chief Information Officer, in both the private sector and the public sector. Community involvement has also been an important part of my life and I have found ways to work with organizations that make better communities. In Minneapolis, I was a member of the Women of Influence Giving Circle, a donor advised fund of the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota and I served as a Board member for Prairie Oaks Institute at Robert Creek. I also spent 3 years as a Commissioner on the Housing and Redevelopment Authority for the City of Plymouth, Minnesota. In Philadelphia, I recently served as Board president for Weavers Way Food Coop. But I still love to be around dance and dancers. In the Midwest, I was a director on the Boards of Young Audiences of Minnesota, Tapestry Folkdance Center and ARENA Dances, a modern dance company with a 20 year history in the Twin cities. I am delighted to serve on the Board of the Performance Garage.
Jeanne Ruddy is a former Principal Dancer with the Martha Graham Company where she performed throughout the world and was featured in the PBS Great Performances series in Graham's Cave of the Heart. She also performed leading roles in such Graham works as Andromache's Lament, Diversion of Angels, Deaths and Entrances, Seraphic Dialogue, Clytemnestra, Cortege of Eagles, Embattled Garden, Herodiade, and Appalachian Spring. She has also danced on Broadway in The King and I, starring Yul Brynner and was an original member of Agnes de Mille’s Heritage Dance Theatre. In addition, she directed, choreographed and danced in her own company, Jeanne Ruddy and Dancers, in New York City. She received her early dance training in Miami, earning her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from North Carolina School of the Arts and her Masters of Arts degree from New York University. She directed the Graham-based modern department at The Alvin Ailey American Dance Center from 1986 to 1995 and was a faculty member of The Juilliard School from 1988 to 1998. In addition to her work in New York, Ms. Ruddy was invited to numerous international symposiums: The Congress of the Dance in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; The International Sommerakadamie des Tanzes, Cologne, Germany; and The American Dance Festival in Moscow, Russia, where she was the first to teach the Martha Graham Technique to an advanced group of Russian artists after Russia opened. She has been a guest artist where she has taught and choreographed in many of the United States’ leading colleges and universities of dance such as Sarah Lawrence College, Connecticut College and Florida State University. Local teaching appointments have included Temple University, The Rock School of the Pennsylvania Ballet, and as company teacher at Philadanco. Ms. Ruddy served as Co-chair of the Executive Council of The Rock School from 1994 to 2001 and served for six years on the board of Dance Affiliates. She founded Jeanne Ruddy Dance in 1999 and received The Independence Foundation Fellowship Award in 2000. Other awards and grants include the National Endowment for the Arts Challenge Americas well as the NEA’s Artistic Excellence award, three Pew Foundation Dance Advance awards, three William Penn Foundation grants, six Fels Foundation awards, and nine years of support from the Independence Foundation as well as the Suzanne F. Roberts Cultural Fund, the Dolfinger McMahon, PECO—an Exelon Company, Land Services Inc, among others. Ruddy recently received her first endowed fund—the Martha LaVallee-Williams Community Outreach Fund for her Company’s work in the broader community. Since founding the Performance Garage in 2000, Ms. Ruddy, with the help of her Board, contributors, company dancers and staff, developed the space—an incubator for classes, rehearsals, workshops and performances.
Tanya Shields is a Senior Manager within EY’s Advisory practice with a focus on helping clients solve complex industry issues and capitalize on opportunities that transform their business while protecting and enabling sustainable business performance. Tanya is an avid arts supporter. She believes that art, and dance especially, has the power to elevate us above our daily circumstances, offer new perspectives and teach us understanding and empathy.
Honorable Leon W. Tucker
Honorable Leon W. Tucker was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, attended Philadelphia public schools and graduated from Murrell Dobbins Area Vocational Technical School. Married since 1978 to Judge Petrese D. Brown-Tucker, a former Assistant District Attorney of Philadelphia, former member of Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judiciary from 1987 to 2000 and former Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. He has two children, Leah Christine, born in 1982 and Lindsay Rebecca born in 1986, both married, professional women, with one son each. From 1979 to 2005 he maintained a general private practice. As a former prosecutor and criminal defense attorney, with over twenty-five years trial experience, having tried to completion numerous criminal and civil jury trials, countless bench trials and hearings, the prosecution and defense of criminal matters had proven to be invaluable in terms of trial in the course of civil litigation, drafting of documents and advising clients on preventive matter. Judge Tucker is currently Supervising Judge of the Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Trial Section and Chair of the Philadelphia Criminal Justice Advisory Board of all Philadelphia Criminal Justice Partners, among other things.
Dr. Robert J. Wallner
Philadelphia native, central high school (BA), Kenyon College (Biology), Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (DO), Hahnemann Hospital (Nuclear Medicine), Echelon MRI, Tri-State Radiology group. Board Member: Art Matters, Étape, Wilma Theater, Jeanne Ruddy Dance, Performance Garage. Part-time Artist (Sculpture) Organizations: Philadelphia Museum of Art, Barnes Foundation, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia Sketch Club, International Sculpture Center, Grounds for Sculpture, Philadelphia Sculptors, Association for Public Art, Art Reach, Philadelphia Craft Group, Philadelphia Orchestra Association, Curtis Institute of Music, Astral Artists, Dolce Suono Ensemble, Theater Communications Group, Theater Philadelphia, Play Penn New Play Development, FringeArts, Greater Philadelphia Film Office, Philadelphia Film Society, Ballet X, University of Pennsylvania, Museum of Archeology and Antrhopology, Rosenbach Museum Library, Opera Philadelphia, Philadelphia Folk Song Society, Philadelphia Sports Club, Tasting Collective, Friends in the City.
Special Advisor to Board President
& Emeritus Board Member
Sharon Jordan Guess, is a Senior Project Manager with over 25 years of professional experience leading teams, implementing business programs and initiatives with a proven track record for impacting change. Sharon holds a Master of Science in Telecommunications from University of Pittsburgh, and an Executive MBA from Temple University. Sharon has worked in both the public and private sector and serves the community through her involvement in multiple activities. Some of which include being a mentor for Philadelphia Reads where she provides guidance, education and inspiration to our youth by investing in their future. Once an entrepreneur who displayed her passion for dance and fitness by owning an exercise franchise (Jazzercise) which combined dance and fitness for 15 years. As an avid dancer in her younger years, Sharon keeps that same discipline and energy in her work. Her love for the arts is immeasurable. She is the Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) Education Co-chair of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women-PA Chapter, the District Advocacy Leader of the National MS Society Delaware Valley, member of the DiverseForce Board Governance and Leadership program and active Alumni member of both Pitt and Temple University.
Kathryn Keeler - Board Chair Emeritus
Gregory G. Gosfield - Board Chair Emeritus
Kathryn Keeler was the founding Board President of Jeanne Ruddy dance, and remained in the position for five years. She continued to served on the Boards of both Jeanne Ruddy Dance and the Performance Garage until her abrupt passing on November 22, 2016. Kathryn’s professional career was in the corporate world here in Philadelphia, and she has been a supporter of the arts, especially dance, for many years. She also served on the boards of the Painted Bride, Dance Celebration, Ellen Forman Dance Company, and Drexel University Dance Department. Kathryn is survived by her beloved husband Grant Greapentrog as well as her many nieces and nephews of Harleysvill, PA. Her memorial will be held on Saturday, January 7th, 2017 at Cathedral Village at 11 am.
Facade Ribbon Cutting 2001
JRD Opening Night 2004
JRD Opening Night 2005
JRD Final Season 2012