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Jazz and Contemporary

JCTR1This Jazz & Contemporary division at the Joffrey Ballet School is geared toward those dancers who want to focus their training on Jazz and Contemporary styles of movement, while incorporating a wider knowledge of Classical Ballet training and Modern dance.

Students are exposed to a diverse range of styles from both past and present. The student’s attention will be focused on body awareness and creativity to prepare them for careers in education, performance, and choreography in Jazz and Contemporary styles of dance.

Students will be encouraged to embrace and explore a broad range of material that will help each of them develop his or her individual voice as an artist in this evolving art form. The curriculum will consist of both technical and academic/creative classes designed to fully prepare students for careers in dance, dance education, and choreography. Classes will be offered in various styles of Jazz, Contemporary Jazz, Classical Modern, Contemporary Modern, Modern Partnering, Choreography, and Improvisation. Practical application of the curriculum will be exhibited in performance opportunities, which include a Spring and Winter performance, and in choreographic workshops. This is a unique program that provides the most diverse training in Jazz and Contemporary dance available in the country.

The program prepares artists for the competitive working world of dance in the fields of Concert dance, Broadway shows, Commercial industrials, and National and International tours. The trainee programs are advanced, pre-professional level programs. They prepare the students for a professional career by undergoing rigorous technical training Monday through Friday 9:00am – 5:00pm, rehearsals and performances, choreographic study, mentoring, and the individual evaluation of each student. Each program meets the needs of students ranging from 14 to 22 years of age.

The Joffrey Ballet School is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Dance and meets the U.S.A. Department of Education standards for a school of vocational training.



1st Semester: Sept 14, 2016 – Jan 27, 2017

2nd Semester: Jan 30, 2017 – May 26, 2017

Hours: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm  |   Days: Monday – Friday

Download the Ballet Trainee Calendar

Download the Jazz & Contemporary Calendar


Competitive and Intensive.

From September through May, the trainee programs trains dancers in classical ballet technique, jazz & contemporary movements and artistry required for an active career in a professional company. The Joffrey Ballet School is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Dance and meets the U.S.A. Department of Education standards for a school of vocational training.

Trainee Testimonials

imani“My experience in Joffrey Ballet School’s Jazz & Contemporary program was nothing less than phenomenal.”

I had the amazing opportunity to learn from established professionals who encouraged us to lead with a professional and humble demeanor. The program was run by my close mentor and artistic director, Michael Blake. From the start he held me to a standard that challenged me to be fearless in my dancing, and to approach the process with a wholesome artistic intention. I was determined to utilize the tools that Joffrey and it’s staff were providing me. With this determination I was able to dance in works choreographed by Tyler Gilstrap, Sekou McMiller, Lane Gifford, and Emily Bufferd. All choreographers I had met as teachers in the program.

After two years of intense training, I got my first contract with Florida Dance Theatre led by Artistic Director Carol Erkes. Since dancing with FDT, I’ve been able to refine my technique while also dancing Principal roles in A Midsummer Nights Dream, The Nutcracker, and Dracula. I have also had the opportunity to perform roles in works choreographed by Greg Dolbashian, Stefan Dolbashian, and Carol Erkes. I could not be more thankful for the amazing lessons I learned while being involved in such an amazing program. I would like to thank all of my teachers and Micheal Blake for all your constant guidance and support I will be forever grateful.

Imani Williams – Former Jazz & Contemporary Trainee

talissa-headshot“This Program has all the faculty and resources to make you a versatile 21st Century dancer. But the work must come from you. You get from it, what you put into it.”

I joined the program when I was Seventeen. I had just graduated high school and chose to join Joffrey’s J&C Program instead of going to College. After my first term with the school I was awarded Full Merit Scholarship for all 4 years of the program. I chose Joffrey over College because the Program seamed – and is – more complete. If I had gone to College I would only get training in Ballet and Modern Techniques, probably not more than 4-5 times a week. At Joffrey not only do I train in ALL styles, I am in the studio dancing from 9 to 5, every day. And my curriculum still offers Dance History, Anatomy, Nutrition and Music Theory classes. Mind that I am from Brazil and College is free back at home, but I still chose Joffrey because This Program has all the faculty and resources to make you a versatile 21st Century dancer. But the work must come from you. You get from it, what you put into it.

Not only has Joffrey given me countless opportunities and experiences, due to its wonderful training and highly qualified faculty, I have already booked innumerous shows and gigs outside of the school, with working professionals. Majority of them, my current or former Professors in the school. Connections is key in the dance world and Joffrey will expose you to plenty. If you want to, you will leave this program a professional dancer, with a performing job. I guarantee you. Joffrey will do its part, you just got to do yours.

Talissa Bavaresco – Jazz & Contemporary Trainee: Year 4 

“I studied at Joffrey Ballet School for the past two years, moving to New York after graduating high school. When looking at colleges I felt like, as a dancer, I was forced to choose among theatre, or strictly ballet and modern programs. After attending the Jazz and Contemporary Summer Intensive at Joffrey the year before, I decided the year- round J&C program would be the right choice for me.”

The program was new and had a lot to offer and every year now it grows with new opportunities and benefits that are up to the student to take advantage of. I have been exposed to many professional and working teachers and choreographers who, due to the way I worked and presented myself in their classes and rehearsals, hired me outside of the program. I have worked for Lane Gifford, Violeta Galagarza, and now even dance for JKing Dance Company after meeting Ms. King my first summer intensive at Joffrey Ballet School. I leave the school with the professional experience I need to be a successful, hirable, and diverse dancer. I studied and continue to study ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary, modern, and even breaking from Jayson “Mighty Mouse” Vasquez thanks to the exposure Joffrey has offered me. Already I have successfully been hired in the concert and commercial worlds of dance. I am forever grateful to Jazz and Contemporary program director Michael Blake and the way he has constantly pushed me to better myself and never settle for less. It is not an easy program and it will test you mentally and physically, but if you are meant to be a dancer, you will know after this. My love to all former and current Joffrey students and faculty, I am me because of all of you.

Erika Citrin – Former Jazz & Contemporary Trainee

starr“I can confidently say that this program has helped me immensely with moving forward in my dance career. This program is great for networking and training with the best of the best.”

After successfully completing two years in this program I have the honor of being in Dionna PridGeons company MoveDIPR, a freelance dancer with Lauren Cox’s company Humans Collective and a Prospect for Dynamic Rockers breakdancing crew through Jason “Mouse” Vasquez. All of which I met and have worked with through the trainee program. This program is intense. I’ve gone through blood sweat and tears, but in the end it was all worth the dedication and open minded thought process to be the best I am capable of being. I can confidently say that after attending this program I am ready to start my next chapter as a professional, working, and smart dancer 🙂

Starr Dee – Former Jazz & Contemporary Trainee

Print“The thing I admire the most about the Jazz and Contemporary program is how it has allowed me to take myself seriously as a dancer, performer and future choreographer.”

When I first entered the program, I didn’t think very highly of myself as an artist and my dancing. Yet throughout this process I have been confronted with hard work, competition and support, and a very diverse and creative atmosphere from the faculty and my classmates; the kind of which made me develop both a thick skin and a new found self confidence and trust in what I do and what I’m capable of.

For me, the program creates the perfect environment for me to push my own boundaries and discover your own true potential as a dancer. I have had the chance to discover I’m good at or that I really love dance styles I had never tried before. It taught me that I could be versatile, not in an I-can-sort-of-do-it-all-well way, but that I could and should strive to be excellent in everything that I can (even if there are things I like more than others). That is to say it taught me that opening up doors is much more important and useful than closing them.

Alejandro Aristizabal – Jazz & Contemporary Trainee: Year 2

kari“Joffrey gave me the versatility to do a wide range of things with my career.”

Immediately after leaving Joffrey, I got a job in entertainment on Norwegian Cruise Line. Since then, I have worked with the company again as a rehearsal swing on the Broadway musical “Swing!”. I had the opportunity to travel across the United States in a back up dancing tour by up-and-coming pop artist, JLine. I’ve performed in a Halloween and Christmas show at Busch Gardens Williamsburg and am set to start as a dancer/aerialist on Royal Caribbean Cruise Line for the winter of 2016. In addition to dance technique, the athleticism that Joffrey gave me allowed me to find a second career in fitness. I have been named in the top twenty-five best abs of Instagram by Muscle and Fitness Magazine as well as have been featured in calendars and websites for fitness and swimwear companies. Joffrey completely changed my life for the better and I owe it to the wonderful direction of Michael Blake.

Kira Hamilton – Former Jazz & Contemporary Trainee