The Beginning of Canine Freestyle and
The CFF Performance Learning Center
The actual beginning of Canine Freestyle as a sport was in October 23, 1993. On this date, for the first time the word Canine Freestyle was used, and it was used to announce Joan's choreography for a new discipline to be demonstrated at noontime.
Joan's first canine freestyle choreographies were performed at noon in Memphis, Tennessee, at the Cycle Classic Obedience Competition by:
- Dawn Jecs and OTCh Checkers
- Janice Demello and OTCh Hob Nob Optimistic and Hob Nob Jump Start CDX
- Dee Dee Rose and OTCh Locknor Be A Sparkle Plenty, TDX
- Terri Arnold and OTCh Meadowpond Keepin In Stride
- Celeste Meade and Ch The Nimrod's Rainbo Ryder
The printed program Joan prepared included the Definition of Canine Freestyle. The four choreographies were based upon the concepts that are in these lessons. What began as a choreographic challenge, for the 1993 Cycle Obedience Classic, has evolved into:
- The Canine Freestyle Federation (CFF) co-founded by Joan Tennille and Alison Jaskiewicz.
- CFF Rules and Judging Criteria for CFF competitions
- The CFF Performance Learning Center on-line website
The definition of CFF, created by Joan, was adopted by the Canine Freestyle Federation when CFF was created. The CFF rules and judging criteria for CFF competitions are based upon 1) Joan's definition of canine freestyle and choreographic concepts she began developing in August, 1993, and 2) includes her experience in teaching canine freestyle and her dance and theater experience. All of the lesson plans on this site were adapted by Joan from her canine freestyle classes and her experiences as a dancer/choreographer, dog trainer, and competitor in canine sports.
CFF has an integrated set of rules, judging criteria, method to train and test judges (the guardians of our sport), a training methodology and lesson plans developed to suit this new competitive activity particularly when the words choreograph, artistic and creative are used in the objective and mission statement of the sport.
CFF was the first in every one of the endeavors above. CFF set the standard for canine freestyle and CFF is the example. This site presents the authentic canine freestyle and how to train it.
About Joan Tennille
Joan is a choreographer, dancer, and teacher with over 40 years of experience. During her career as a dancer, Joan was an Artist in Residence at the State University of New York, Potsdam. In addition, Joan trained and studied with Martha Graham, Robert Cohan, and Merce Cunningham; Murray Louis, Gladys Bailin and Alvin Nikolais at the Hendry Street Playhouse in New York City; and Agnes DeMille, Vera Nemchinova, and others at the Ballet Arts in New York City. In addition to being a dancer, Joan taught dance and choreography at the university level for many years. Further, she produced the National Dance Festival for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C.. Finally, Joan has 20 years of experience as a dog trainer and competitor in several disciplines in the sport of dogs.
Since creating the sport of canine freestyle in 1993, Joan has taught canine freestyle classes around the world. She has created over 300 choreographies for canine freestyle for individual dog and handler teams, and multi-dog and handler teams, 2-7 members, as well as for brace teams. In addition to teaching classes, Joan gave the first canine freestyle seminar in Chicago, 1994. Since then, CFF, under Joan's guidance continues to produce canine freestyle seminars and demonstrations.
The CFF Performance Learning Center e-training site was made possible by the extraordinary time, talent, energy, and commitment to canine freestyle as a sport and discipline of the following people:
Content: Joan Tennille
Videography, Video Editor, and Emmy Award Winner: Carmeron Foster
Web Design and Development: Fred C. Brown
Article Authors: Joan Tennille, Shari Bryant, Jim Moore, Betty Swenson, Ann Holder
Project Manager and Editor: Jeanine Brown
Editors: Joan Tennille, Ann Holder, Jeanine Brown, Kristin Sicotte, and Betty Swenson
Individuals were included in video clips if they had trained with Joan Tennille. Each person signed a photo/video release. The following teams seen in the various videos are listed below. Those marked with an * have trained with Joan for more than 3 years.
- *Marian Hardy and Ping (Miniature Poodle)
- *Jeanine Brown and Trapper (Brittany)
- *Wendy Ely and Roulette (Greyhound)
- *Verna Allanson and Breezy (German Sheperd Dog)
- *Sally Kirschenman and Annie (Old English Sheepdog)
- *Susan Colledge and Misha (Yorkshire Terrier)
- *Renee Filep and Chile (Border Collie)
- *Janet McBrien and Nicholas (Welsh Terrier)
- *Kay Richards and Ebbie (Jack Russell)
- *Betty Swenson and Yahtzee and Gromit (Border Collies)
- *Ann Priddy and Polly (Cairen Terrier)
- *Carol Maupin and Chase (Belgian Tervuren)
- *Nan Marks and Robbie (Collie)
- *Ann Holder, Instructor, and students
- *Jeanine Brown, Instructor, and students
- *Wendy Ely, Instructor, and students
- Verne Foster and Tugger (Portuguese Water Dog)
- Joan Tennille, Instructor, and students