WE ALL HAVE A MENTOR WE LOOK BACK ON FONDLY WHO HELPED FRAME OUR WORLD FOR THE BETTER, A SUPPORT IN GOOD TIMES AND BAD: THE TEACHER IN THE DARKENED WINGS AS YOU FIRST STEPPED ONTO THE BARE STAGE, THE DIRECTOR WHO REMAINED WHEN THE JUDGES CHOOSE ANOTHER, THE ONE WHO EARNED THE RIGHT TO CORRECT AND ENCOURAGE YOU AND WHOM YOU CARRY IN YOUR HEART THROUGH LIFE.
In honor of Del Kieffner, we name a recipient each year for the Del Kieffner Award ~ someone who stands as a mentor and example for his or her young students and whose impact is only revealed by the passing years. With great sorrow, we must announce the recent death of Mr. Kieffner. He was truly a legend across the musical community. As an Indiana boy from Valparaiso, IN, Del Kieffner was always involved in the active marching band culture of the American Midwest. He logically followed this love and to become a music teacher. For 16 years, with Del as the band director, Edgewater’s band held a record of earning Superior ratings from the Florida Bandmasters Association. Del was an active instrumentalist his whole life. Del played trumpet with the Florida Symphony Orchestra, as well as in the Vaughn Monroe “big band,” in Miss Florida pageants, and at Rollins College stage shows.
In 1971, Del organized and planned Walt Disney World’s opening day parade of 1,075 high school musicians. From that day forward, he was involved in selecting performing groups to play at Walt Disney World, half time shows at the Citrus Bowl, and the 1971 Super Bowl. Furthermore, in 1973, Del became Instrumental Teacher Supervisor of Orange County Public Schools, and he was inducted into the Edgewater High School Hall of Fame. In 2007, Performing Arts Educators established the “Del Kieffner Award,” an award of national recognition to be given annually to a deserving instrumental, choral or dance director as a representative of all directors who go above and beyond in their mentoring of young students in the performing arts. His outstanding commitment and contributions to the Arts at Edgewater High School and in the Orlando, Florida community was endless. You will be missed!
The 12th Annual Del Kieffner Award Recipient, Fontaine Dollas Dubus, Joppa Dance Company Fontaine began teaching at The Dance Place soon after Irene Weiss established it in 1984. She majored in the Arts at Bradford College then went on to The Art Institute of Boston to study illustration. She taught and studied dance while at art school, taking classes in various styles, concentrating on the Luigi technique with Weiss. She also studied with Julia Boynton, Christien Polos, Diane Arvanedes, Tommy Neblet, Denise Collins, and Pam Smith, (whose classes she still enjoys). While touring Europe she attended classes in Dublin and Copenhagen. She has taught dance at The Governor’s Academy for nearly 20 years, and also directs Joppa Teen at The Dance Place. She covers many styles, including Jazz, Tap, Ballet, Modern, Contemporary, Latin, African, Hip Hop and more. She helped develop Joppa Dance Company as a premier youth dance troupe for students ranging from 4th to 12th grade. In addition to dance Ms. Dubus has a passion for theater. She has appeared in dozens of plays, including equity productions of Jesus Christ Superstar and Hello Dolly! In 1987 she co-founded Exit Dance Theatre, a modern dance company based in Newburyport. Exit performs locally, in Boston and the north shore. In 1994 Exit performed her piece, Kristallnacht at the Auschwitz Museum in Poland. She continues to study locally, in Boston, and New York whenever she can, usually at Luigi’s Jazz Centre. She continues to perform and choreograph regularly with Exit in addition to acting and directing and writing for theater. She hopes to encourage artists young and old to explore beyond the traditional techniques, to find what makes them feel passionate about creating, no matter what form it’s in. That is the philosophy of her studio, The Dance Place. Fontaine is married to author, Andre Dubus III and lives in Newbury with their three children.
Officials of Performing Arts Educators presented the award to Ms. Fontaine Dollas Dubus at Performing Arts Educators’ Festival of World Dance at New York City's Carnegie Hall on January 14th, 2018.As a recipient of the Del Kieffner Award, Fontaine Dollas Dubus joins a select ensemble of people who have positively shaped and influenced the lives of the students they’ve taught.
PREVIOUS DEL KIEFFNER AWARD RECIPIENTS 2018 12th annual – Fontaine Dollas Dubus, Joppa Dance Company, Carnegie Hall, Isaac Stern Auditorium 2017 11th annual – Kathy Costa, DanceWorks, Barcelona, Spain, Poble Espanyol 2016 10th annual- Kathie Kececi In Motion Dance, Carnegie Hall, Isaac Stern Auditorium 2015 9th annual – Ronda Barber, Step By Step, Carnegie Hall, Isaac Stern Auditorium 2014 8th annual – Renee Sussman, St. John the Baptist, Carnegie Hall, Isaac Stern Auditorium 2013 – None Awarded 2012 6th annual – Linda Rees, Dance Magic Performing Arts Center, 2012 London Olympics, Island Gardens 2011 5th annual – Doreen Cran, A Dance Class, Carnegie Hall, Isaac Stern Auditorium 2110 4th annual – Lynnell Ediger-Kirdzala, American Youth Harp Ensemble, Kennedy Center, Concert Hall 2009 3rd annual – Teresa Andris, Bowman Studios, Carnegie Hall, Isaac Stern Auditorium 2008 2nd annual – Bridget Archer, Bridget Archer Dancers, Lincoln Center, Avery Fisher Hall 2007 1st annual – Stan Brown, The Pepper Steppers, Lincoln Center, Avery Fisher Hall