Leigh Schanfein is a freelance dancer, choreographer, and teacher as well as an independent researcher in the fields of kinesiology and biomechanics.
Leigh has trained and performed across the USA and abroad in modern, ballet, and contemporary dance, and for the last 11 years professionally as a freelance artist in NYC. She has performed with companies such as City Ballet of San Diego, Indelible Dance, Christopher Caines Dance Company, Yoo and Dancers, and the Park Avenue Armory, and has guested with Benjamin Briones Ballet, New American Youth Ballet, Lafayette Ballet, and CONNetic Dance. She has performed in commercial productions including on stage with comedian Hannibal Buress as part of the Oddball Comedy Tour, during Fashion Week NYC for designers such as Malan Breton, and for brands such as Xerox, Suave, Oreo, and Estee lauder. Leigh is a former Director of Dance for Periapsis Music and Dance,where her choreography was described as "gorgeous and lush." She teaches regularly with NYC Community Ballet, has subbed at the major NYC open studios, and is a regular guest instructor and choreographer for dance schools in Indiana, Montana, California, Idaho, and Connecticut. She is also a contributing journalist for Dance Informa Magazine.
Leigh received her M.S. degree in kinesiology with a specialization in biomechanics from Purdue University, and her B.S. degree in animal physiology and neuroscience with a minor in dance from the University of California San Diego. As a graduate student, she received multiple awards for her research with dancers including two awards through the International Association for Dance Medicine and Science. Her research has focused on the mechanisms by which humans control balance and how sensory feedback is integrated for the control of posture. From 2012-2018, Leigh worked as a research associate at the Harkness Center for Dance Injuries, part of NYU Langone Health. Her research there covered a wide range of topics concerning injury prevention among dancers. Leigh has taught courses in health, motor development, biomechanics lab, and stress at Purdue University, and anatomy at Peridance Capezio Center. In 2015, she joined the faculty at Barnard College as adjunct lecturer of biomechanics in the department of dance, and co-founded Dance Dissection in 2018.