Cav Of The Moment: Renee Banson

By Karen Schweizer
November 8, 2001

Sara Orefice

Renee Banson was not a dancer with what was considered to be “the look.” She was 5’3″, ethnic looking with an athletic body structure. During a time when dancing companies only wanted tall, skinny women Banson worked towards her dream. It was a dream that took her from the United States to Europe, back again and onto new projects.

“I always had a passion for it,” Banson said. “Some people call it a calling.” Banson started dancing when she was six years old. She learned in the Frankford YWCA on a donated mansion’s dance floor, in the heart of Philadelphia. There she got her full-time start in ballet.

College, following early lessons, posed challenges. As a dance major, Banson paid her own way through school by studying during the day and working as a waitress at night. “We would drink a lot of coffee and soda to keep going,” she said. “We were on our feet a lot.” She attended Temple University in Philadelphia as a full-time student with a full time course load and studied until she met her first director. She then began to delve into the realm of modern dance.

“In modern dance there weren’t any prejudices against body types or looks. It was more opportunistic,” Banson said. In the ’80s casting directors were looking for “the look,” according to Banson. It was a term used to describe a dancer who was tall and thin. Banson looked ethnic. “If they were casting for a musical like ‘Oklahoma’ my chances were limited. If they were casting for a show like ‘West Side Story’ I was a shoe in,” Banson said. “From there it was a natural progression into choreography,” Banson continued.

According to Banson when she graduated from Temple she kept dancing and also began to do choreography. “The shows paid nothing or very little,” she said. However she seemed to flourish in it and worked in many different locations. She went to Wales with the European National Dance Company. She traveled to New York to do shows and worked in a dance company called ZeroMoving Dance Company.

She now teaches at local colleges part time as a dance instructor in Rosemont College, Cabrini and Bryn Mawr.

She is keeping close to home to be with her family for now. However, she plans to get back to focus on dancing and choreography 100 percent in the future.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Karen Schweizer

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Special Project

Title IX Redefined Website

Produced by Cabrini Communication
Class of 2024

Listen Up

Season 2, Episode 3: Celebrating Cabrini and Digging into its Past


Scroll to Top
Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap