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Professor Emeritus

Pictured is Douglas Bentz.


  • B.A., Dance, Butler University
  • School of American Ballet, New York City
  • Luigi World Jazz Dance Center, New York City
  • Kripalu Yoga Center, Lenox, Mass.

Courses Taught

  • Contemporary Jazz Dance
  • Choreography
  • Contemporary Partnering
  • Yoga


Douglas Bentz is a teacher of Contemporary Jazz Dance, Choreography, Contemporary Partnering and Yoga. Bentz is a native of Pittsburgh and earned his B.A. in Dance from Butler University in Indianapolis, Ind. From 1981 to 1986, Bentz founded and led a Pittsburgh-based contemporary dance company called The Extension with his future wife, Judith Leifer.

Bentz's work has been presented in Pittsburgh at the Pittsburgh Playhouse, the Byham Theatre, the Kelly-Strayhorn Theatre, Heinz Hall, City Theatre, the Eddy Theatre, seven Three Rivers Arts Festivals and at Hartwood Acres. Outside of the Pittsburgh area, his work has been presented at five American College Dance Festival galas, at Mercyhurst College, Les Ballets Jazz Ecole de Danse in Canada and the Houston Met Company in Texas.

Bentz's choreography has become well known for dynamic movement phrasing, sophisticated attention to detail and a strong sense of structure. His stylistic range extends from vibrant swing jazz through neo-classic ballet to intensely dramatic modern works. Several of his evening-length works feature original scores with live musical accompaniment, spoken text and digital video projection.

His original evening-length work, The Jazz Nutcracker, was created in 1983 with a grant from the Pittsburgh Foundation. It was named "one of the top ten dance events of 2000" by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette after being presented at the Playhouse accompanied by the 10-piece Benny Benack Big Band. The Jazz Nutcracker recently concluded a highly successful production at the Playhouse Dec. 7 - 16 with Bentz and the Benny Benack Big Band reuniting once again to bring some swing into the holiday season.

Professional Memberships

  • Actor's Equity Association
  • Society for Creative Anachronism
  • Pittsburgh Dance Council Advisory Board

Selected Artistic Works


  • The Jazz Nutcracker, Pittsburgh Playhouse, 2012
  • Dragana, Pittsburgh Playhouse, 2011
  • Allegro Gypsioso, Pittsburgh Playhouse, 2010

Concert Dance

  • Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre
  • Luigi Jazz Dance Company, New York City
  • New Jersey Ballet
  • Grand Ballet of Geneva, Switzerland

Musical Theatre

  • Broadway/Off-Broadway, New York City
  • Kenly Players, Ohio
  • Burt Reynolds Dinner Theatre, Florida
  • Atlanta Theatre of the Stars, Georgia

Opera Ballet

  • Pittsburgh Opera
  • New Jersey State Opera
  • Grand Theatre of Geneva, Switzerland

Guest Teacher

  • American College Dance Festivals
  • Houston Met Dance Company, Texas
  • Pennsylvania Governor's School for the Arts, Erie, Pa.
  • Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School
  • Les Ballets Jazz Ecole de Danse, Quebec City, Canada