A native of Glasgow, Scotland, Elaine Gardner studied ballet and modern dance in Syracuse, Phoenix, Los Angeles, London, Boston and New York. She performed in contemporary dances by Margo Sappington, Bill Evans, Charles Weidman, Donald Byrd, Kei Takei, Doris Humphrey and Laura Dean as a member of the Los Angeles-based touring repertory company Dance/L.A. from 1978 to 1980. In 1980, while living in Los Angeles, she founded Pick of the Crop Dance, a contemporary repertory company and in 1982 she re-established the company with her husband Curt Steinzor in Buffalo. Since then, she has performed individually and with the company throughout the northeastern United States as well as in Scotland and Latvia, creating a repertory of over 100 pieces as well as commissioning works by guest choreographers. Among the artists who have created works for the company are Colin Connor, Richard Colton, Terry Creach, Laura Dean, Itzik Galili, Gail Gilbert, Linda Kent, Jessica Lang, Kun Yang Lin, Peter Pucci, Nicholas Rodriguez, Marcus Schulkind, and Kevin Wynn. Gardner is a panelist for the New York State Council on the Arts Dance Program. She teaches contemporary dance, ballet, and choreography at Nichols School in Buffalo, where she also directs the Nichols Dance Ensemble.

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