Jeannie Tucker Online

Expanded Career History

Jeannie was born in Orlando, Florida to Frances Beard (born in Georgia) and James William Tucker (born in Alabama) and spent her early years in Miami, Florida.


Blessed with being raised by parents of the "Greatest Generation", Jeannie was endowed with her Mother and Father's traditional values and unique qualities -- her Father's design engineering background and her Mother's diverse artistic creativity. Jeannie attributes her strong character, creativity, diagnostic abilities, analytical mind and focused determination to her talented parents.

 Her parents gave her the opportunity to explore and develop her creative and artistic qualities and were always there to love and support her. Her mother made sure she knew that "what she did was not who she was". This along with the unconditional love from her family kept her grounded and focused through the many ups and downs in her life and career.

The Early Years:

Jeannie began performing almost as soon as she could walk. At 3 1/2 she became a member of the Screen Actors Guild as a professional actress and dance performer. During these very early years, Jeannie trained in ballet, jazz and tap with dance instructor and competitor, Joe Michaels, of Joe Michaels' School of Dance in Miami and New York. Between runway and print modeling, television commercials and dance shows the pair was in high demand. Jeannie's first of many national television commercials was for the marketing premiere of "Gatorade." With a talent agent in New York and a contract with the Coronet Modeling Agency in Miami, Jeannie was already more than just a pretty face. She had real talent; a rather precocious prodigy.

She was the first runner up in the Little Miss Florida Contest, and began performing as a star entertainer at 4 years old on cruise ships to the Bahamas. Immersed in the Cuban culture by family business and social ties Jeannie, even at this young age, was heavily influenced by the multicultural Cuban/Latin impact on the Miami music scene; an influence that spawned her love of Latin music & dance. This early love of Latin music and dance skill was enhanced most significantly when she opened for the exuberant percussionist and dance band leader, Tito Puente who rose to stardom in the Mambo dance craze. (View Photos of the Early Years)

Growing Up:

As her teen years approached, Jeannie's father retired from a highly decorated military career and the family moved overseas to revisit places her folks had been stationed at before Jeannie was born. The family visited many countries including India, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Greece, Holland, Denmark and many more. It was this early, intensive travel across three continents -- European, North African, and Asian --- that exposed & fired Jeannie's multicultural love of all music and dance.  These years of travel and cultural exploration provided the perfect education and backdrop for her life and career.

In particular, she dance trained in Spain and Morocco. In Spain she trained with a legendary female flamenco dance master developing the speed and rhythms of Spanish footwork and the challenging castanets. In Morocco, she studied Arabic belly dancing; mesmerized by the rhythms of Arabic music and the fluid movements of their dance. Every new dance, style and technique gave her options with which to express music through her body movement. She saw herself as a work in progress, always learning and growing. This appetite for knowledge served her well in the years to come.

In her mid-teens, Jeannie's family returned to the United States and eventually, after living in Atlanta, Georgia, settled in Tucson, Arizona. There she pursued her modeling and acting career, which included appearances on the television series "Little House on the Prairie". She continued her dance training with years of ballroom dance instruction from Ron and Carol Montez, Vernon Brock, Chris and Denise Morris, and many of the other top competitors of that time.

The 1980's

The Disco craze of the late 70's and early 80's brought dance once again to the forefront of popular culture and nightlife. Jeannie was busy teaching, winning dance contests, performing in stage and club shows, auditioning for and appearing on television shows such as Dance Fever and Star Search.

After Disco, fitness and aerobics became the new popular rage. Jeannie choreographed and stared in numerous aerobic dance reviews - the aerobic equivalent of dance shows - and trademarked her own aerobics program. Most importantly, aerobics complemented her foundational knowledge of body mechanics - the formal/informal study of optimal body positions while in movement - and accented the crucial connection between correct dance technique and proper body mechanics including proper posture, lightning pencil turns, intricate syncopations and well executed, complex moves and routines.

For two years, Jeannie taught dance and correct body movement at the Arizona School for the Deaf and Blind. She helped those students use their keen sense of "feel" to "listen to the music" through the vibrations of speakers placed on the dance floor. Students learned to associate the beats from different vibrations with various kinds of music. Finally, students could create body movements that were appropriate to different musical vibrations, thus, dance. This unique learning strategy significantly enhanced a student's self worth, confidence and pleasure.

In the process Jeannie developed equally novel dance learning strategies for all her students. Strategies that can accelerate the dancer's transition from step patterns to the almost magical ability to "dance to the music." This and other strategies are embodied in Jeannie's various workshops. The combination of increased self worth and enhanced dance skills for all her students at all levels increased satisfaction and confidence.

In the midst of this frenzy of dance and aerobics, Jeannie successfully founded Active Now Sportswear, a company to manufacture and market sportswear & accessories of her own design. This was a natural outgrowth of her personal clothing, dance costume and accessory design and creation for many years. Equally important, it reflected her design and creation of her own dance costumes and accessories - a feature she is known for at competitive dance events. She had representatives across the country and her designs were sold internationally in major department stores, boutiques, and could even be found in the gift shops at Disney World.


In the early 80's Jeannie's life was shocked by the loss of her father and dramatically changed by a serious auto accident in 1985 that caused serious injurys. Her doctors told her "You will never dance again?"  Ironically, the Doctor's cruel medical prohibition was the perfect motivator for the painful gutsy multiyear recovery that defied that medical warning. "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger" and "God doesn't give us anything we can't handle" were both phrases that kept her going.

These years would be the most challenging of her life and her dance career. To dance again with minimal pain, Jeannie had to reach into her previous dance training to glean, refine and invent new techniques and strategies of body structure, strength building and efficient, fluid body movement. She had to re-examine in detail and re-learn, movements that had been second nature to her before the accident. It was these new and refined techniques and strategies that rebuilt her dancer's body and restored her skills and provided the unique basis for the "body mechanics" & "movement" focus of her dance instruction today.

This recovery process, plus her engineer's knack for analysis passed down by her father, gave her a technical and diagnostic insight into further defining the elements that make partnership dance work well. This unusual re-examination of the fundamentals of dance technique created an insight that perhaps no other experience can duplicate.

Slowly Jeannie eased back into dance performing, while putting extra energy into her commercial career as the principal actor in over ten national television commercials including First Chiropractic, Mitsubishi, Toyota and General Motors spots. Dancing once more, Jeannie moved to Los Angeles to continue her professional career through continual acting classes and dance training with, among others, Karen Voight and Dupree Dance Academy and various acting coaches. She also had a role on NBC's soap opera, "Santa Barbara".

The 1990's:

By the late 80's and early 90's, Jeannie had focused on West Coast Swing; instructing and competing at the Champion of Champions level on the West Coast Swing Circuit, placing in the top five in the Classic & Showcase Division of the US Open Swing Dance Championships while also dancing and winning in Division I UCWDC. (View More Dance Photos) She was able to train back to dance at the competitive level and work to maintain the body control and percision necessary to compete at the top of her field.

In the early 90's, the Actors Union strike stalled her Los Angeles acting/talent career. So, drawn back to the clean air and healthier lifestyle of Arizona, Jeannie returned to Tucson. There, Jeannie split her energies between her business, Active Now Sportswear, a clothing design, manufacturing and sales company, talent work and dance. Talent work included national commercials, music videos, modeling, and the choreography of national TV campaign commercials including Bulls eye BBQ Sauce. Of course, Jeannie's dance world encompassed private dance coaching, corporate conventions, and public dance instruction at various local clubs including the Cactus Moon Café and others.

One of her talent agents called and let her know that Mattel Toys was casting for a "live" Barbie Doll. She auditioned and before she could drive home, they called and told her she was hired. Barbie's dresses had to came from New York and had to be resized to fit Jeannies small waist. As Barbie, she made public appearances signing autographs, giving away prizes and posing for pictures. They even had her on the radio as Barbie taking call in questions. As Barbie, she drew crowds larger than Santa did at Christmas time.


Jeannie's reputation as a Champion Competitor/Master Level dance coach continued to grow throughout the 90s, as she became widely known for her graceful elegance and fierce energy. Her reputation was magnified by her ability to detect the technical root of a dancer's problem and solve that problem through the principles of "body mechanics" combined with correct dance technique. Simultaneously, Jeannie's student following grew rapidly as dancers at all levels sought the efficient and fluid use of their bodies to "feel" and interpret music.

Jeannie had more physical challenges to come...During her 1993 World Swing Dance Championship Jack & Jill Finals, Jeannie tore the PCL of her right knee. She continued to compete and instruct during the next 5+ years while sheparding and rehabilitating her often swollen and painful, degenerating knee. In late spring, 1999, Jeannie began rehearsing a routine for the November 1999 U. S. Open Swing Dance Championships. Several days before the Open, in practice, the knee gave out totally and 2 days before the Open Jeannie was forced to undergo emergency knee surgery.

Again, intensive rehabilitation was required even as Jeannie continued to teach -- often from her wheel chair on the dance floor -- a fully booked private coaching schedule and a weekly public class at the Cactus Moon Cafe. With a wonderful support group of family, friends, and students, she was able to make a fast recovery and give her original, albeit postponed, 1999 competitive performance at the May 2000 Grand National Swing Dance Championships, Classic Division. (View Video Clip)


The Years 2000 to 2004:

These years were full of intense travel and teaching across the U.S. and abroad. Traveling more than 30 weekends a year was common. Travel included teaching on both Alaskan & Mexican Rivera Cruises which provided an interresting way to travel and bring the joy of dance to new people. Continuing to compete, she won numerous Invitational Jack & Jill placements as well as earning the title of 2001 Dallas Dance Pro-Strictly Swing Champion and the 2003 Dallas Pro-Strictly Swing 2nd Place Champion.  Jeannie continued dancing at the U.S. Open Swing Dance Championships and at other events and has been event emcee, workshop master instructor, event director & coordinator, competitor to name a few titles. (View More Dance Photos or Video)

As the director & promoter of the "Smooth Swingin' Sunday Dances", Jeannie hired "Riudy Sudigalas Big Band" to play for her dances at major hotels around Tucson. She stayed busy promoting social dance and giving voice to some of the wonderful musicians in Tucson through her popular Big Band Dances. Giving lessons before the dances provided another opportunity to empower the public through dance and movement.

Jeannie continued to teach Salsa and other Latin dances at El Parador Restaurant & Cantina. As Tucsons largest and oldest Salsa club it provided a live band and beautiful tropical scene for her weekly classes in Latin Motion and monthly workshops.

Her acting and modeling career kept Jeannie busy with work on the Stephen King made for T.V. movie "Desperation" that aired fall of 2005 and numerous television commercials as well.

Years 2005 to 2008:

After training back from the 1999 knee surgery, Jeannie Danced at the US Open Swing Dance Championships and won 2nd in the Sophisticated Swing Division. (view video clip) It was a joy to be there with her partner that she had danced with in 1993 & 1994. What a blessing it was to be back doing choreography and dancing in full form.

Come November of 2005, Jeannie was feeling strong but a simple non-dance related injury put her back in for another knee surgery. It was to be a short rehab for a small tear under the knee cap but after waking up from surgery, she was told she would have a 7 month to a year rehab. It was devistating to say the least. The damage was more significant and she had needed microfracture surgery and more. With the help of friends and family, she worked thru a tough rehab and yet the outcome was not what would serve her in her work and love of dance. The surgery was well done but as with other knee surgery patients, she had developed severe scar tissue and she needed more surgery. The man to see was in Vail, Colorado. Dr Richard Steadman. He specialized in the type of surgery she needed and he invented the micro-fracture surgery she had done in the last surgery. This meant several trips to Colorado and then Surgery in July of 2006. The Surgery experience there in Vail was the most amazing thing she had ever experienced..."They were wonderful...being in there with other athletes of the same mindset was just what I needed to help motivate me" More on this later...

2007 was a year filled with joy and a lot of pain along the tough road of rehab once again. She finally was able to regain her ability to dance and teach without too much pain. Jeannie trained back by adding cycling, walking, weights all while using her extreem determination and dicipline to reach her goals.

With the Salsa Dance Craze still going strong in 2008, she stayed busy teaching people to enjoy the great Latin rhythms that are in abundance in the diverse Tucson Latin scene. Private coaching took up most of her time in between travel and other career work.


Thanks to Dr. Richard Steadman, Jeannie danced her way into 2009....more details soon...


Jeannie lives and teaches in Tucson, Arizona amongst her full time "family" of students, friends and her lovely mother. At home, she enjoys gardening, working on her computer, tending to her pets (one dog and two cats), hiking in the surrounding mountains and, believe it or not, social dancing as often as possible. Jeannie travels during the year to dance events teaching workshops, coaching privating, judging, performing and competing. Students also travel to Tucson for intense study with her while enjoying the beautiful Sonoran Desert. Tucson provides a fabulous backdrop of great climate and culture for those dance vacations.

Her mom, Frances, adds her own sparkling personality to her enthusiastic interest in Jeannie's dancing. Frances frequently attends her daughter's workshops and travels with her to dance events hanging out until sometimes 4:00AM to watch her daughter socially dance the night away.  Jeannie credits her mother for giving her a strong sense of self that enables her to be the teacher she is today.  "She has given so much love to me and hopefully I am able to continue the giving through my teaching to others I meet and work with." 



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