Donna Frankel

Headshot of Donna Frankel

Donna Frankel is a graduate of San Diego State University where she majored in Recreation Administration with a minor in Dance (1974). She holds a permanent California Adult Education Teaching Credential in Dance and two lifetime Community College Teaching Credentials (Dance and PE). Mrs. Frankel moved to the Bay Area in 1974 where she lives with her husband and raised her two children.

Donna’s training in classical ballet, includes 12 years of lessons and performance with the San Diego Civic Youth Ballet under the direction of Miss Maria Fielding. Her 19 years as a ballet instructor include classes in pre-ballet, classical ballet and point technique. She was hired to develop a ballet curriculum for the City of El Cajon Recreation Dept., and to write dance course development in International Dance and Ballroom for De Anza College. Donna Frankel’s Modern Dance training was with Ms. Evelyn Lockman, Dance Director, San Diego State University, and with the directors of “Three’s Company”. She studied Jazz Dance with Day Power, Janice Gasula and indirectly through Gus Giordano and Company. An accomplished tap dance instructor, Donna has taught all ages from preschool through senior citizens. As an independent instructor she was retained by the cities of Los Gatos, Cupertino, Sunnyvale, San Jose, and Santa Clara and taught Tap Technique to adults (who performed with her at venues throughout CA) at her own private dance studio.

Donna’s interest in children lent a special touch to her creative dance and gymnastics classes. She developed a creative dance program called “Dance with Me” for mothers and their three-year-old children for the Fremont Union High School District, as well as gymnastics programs for preschool children as young as one year old. As a Dance Instructor for Palo Alto’s, Gunn High School, Donna worked choreography techniques into the Jazz, Modern, Folk and Ballet curriculum, helping students to create their own dances. As faculty advisor for the Foothill Dance Club, (1990-91) Ms. Frankel gave workshops on the art of choreography, and helped organize and critique student choreography for performance. Donna is also an accomplished figure skater, taught ice dancing for San Jose State University, and has studied Flamenco Dance with Ann Malmuth-Onn and Gloria Mohr, a former Balanchine ballerina with the New York City Ballet.

Donna has taught ballroom and nightclub dancing for more than fifteen years at Mission, De Anza, Foothill and West Valley Colleges and privately throughout CA. Herpopular beginning classes cover the basics of Waltz, Foxtrot, Cha Cha, Rumba, Tango, East Coast Swing and Nightclub Two-Step. She divides her intermediate classes into Latin and Non-Latin styles, which include more difficult steps and variations of the above dances and West Coast Swing, Hustle, Salsa, Samba, Meringue and Bolero. Ms. Frankel has choreographed and taught wedding “First Dances” to engaged couples though out the state.

Currently her most popular classes are in County/Western Line Dance. One beginning class back in 1987 for the city of Sunnyvale has now grown to over 300 weekly students in 9 classes with multiple levels of instruction for 3 colleges. In addition, Ms. Frankel has been retained to teach Israeli, International and Country/Western dancing at private parties (weddings, Birthday bashes, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs), clubs and corporate conventions, (including: AAUW, Chinese American Women, San Jose State University School of Business annual picnic/hoe-down, several years each of San Diego, San Jose and San Francisco Jewish Community Center’s Israeli Community Celebration Day) and company events. She has guest taught for dozens of schools such as SJ Unified mentor teacher program, Cupertino Union SD, Fremont High, Lynbrook High, Gunn High, San Jose State U. and Stanford U. She currently instructs 8-10 courses each week in Country/Western Line Dance, Ballroom and International Folk for Foothill-De Anza Colleges and Mission-West Valley Colleges.

A new endeavor began in 1996 with her first Dance Cruise to Alaska-an innovative program she researched and developed. Mission College sponsored her June 1997 Alaska Princess Cruise for 38 students, a Holland-America cruise to the Caribbean-June 1998, a June 1999 cruise back to Alaska, a Mediterranean Royal Caribbean cruise in June 2000, one to Russia/Scandinavia on Holland/Am in 2001, NY-Canadian tour in May 2002, Carnival Mexican Riviera Dec. 2002 and Central America/Caribbean/Galveston March 2003. Foothill College sponsored her January 1999 cruise through the Panama Canal on the Sun Princess for 49 students, a Hawaii cruise during 9/11/01 with 48 students and a 3rd trip to Alaska in Aug. 2002. She led one-week Country/Western Dance Tours of Branson, MO May 2001, 04, and two more Alaska cruises, a Hawaii 15 day cruise 2004 and one with over 60 students to the Mexican Riviera in 2005 with more cruises planned.

Mrs. Frankel arranges for ½ off pricing, teaches 8 to 12 hours prior to take off, arranges for cabin mates, lectures on packing techniques, land touring options, and dancing of course. Once on the ship, she teaches up to 8 hours on sea days, 4 hours on port days, a wide variety of Country/Western, International Folk and Ballroom styles and levels. A shipboard performance complete with costumes, rehearsals, Bon Voyage dance party and dance cruise reunion are usually included.

Donna writes a monthly column in Folk Dance Scene, the Newsletter for the Northern California Folk Dance Federation.

Donna Frankel’s dance performing experience includes:

  • Dancing in “The Man With The Mask” with Jean Paul Comelin of the National Ballet Company (now ABT) at The Civic Theater, San Diego 1969.
  • As Captain Hook in the Dance Action version of “Peter Pan” 1989 and in their productions of “Lady and the Tramp” 1988 and “Sleeping Beauty” 1987, all at the Center for the Performing Arts, San Jose.
  • With Bob McGrath of “Sesame Street” at Flint Center, Cupertino 1988.
  • Toured with her own Israeli Folk Dance Troop, San Diego, 1969-1974.
  • Performed and produced more than a dozen yearly Bay Area performances at colleges, churches, shopping malls, talent shows and many convalescent and retirement homes.

Donna has taken on a new project to research her Eastern European Shtetl roots in dance. These are the life cycle and peasant dances that were accompanied by Klezmer musicians in the 1800’s and early 20th century. She co-produced a traveling Ukrainian Dance and slide show of Jewish Ukraine for Beth David March 6, 2005.