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Jazz & Contemporary Trainee Performances

The Joffrey Ballet School prides itself on providing the students with several opportunities to perform throughout the year.  The performance experience for the Jazz and Contemporary Trainee is an extension of their artistic and technical studies, culminating in full-scale productions in sold-out New York City venues that are attended by industry professionals and the press.  Performances provide the student with the exposure necessary to succeed in the dance field.  All Trainees are given the opportunity to perform.

The casting is determined by the Artistic Director who bases his decision on talent, experience, and the level of training achieved, but everyone will be given a role and/or an opportunity for an understudy position.

perf7These concerts provide the Trainee with the opportunity to work closely with New York City’s most well established choreographers and artists.

The Trainee is exposed to a diverse range of choreographers and their unique processes.  Rehearsals are intensive in nature, challenging the dancer to explore their artistic and technical range.

Past year’s choreographers have included Kevin Wynn, Ephrat “Bounce” Asherie, Donald Byrd and Daniel Gwirtzman. For the 2015 Winter Concert, the program will present works by Ryan Daniel Beck, Rena Butler, John Leggio, Manuel Vignoulle & Peter Yuen.

Photo credit: Anna Kuzmina AK47




Billboards Too!

Performance Dates: Sunday, January 29th | Times: 4pm & 7pm

salvatore-caperzio-theaterSalvatore Capezio Theater at Peridance
126 E 13th St, New York, NY 10003

General Ticket Price: $45 | Student Price: $20
Tickets available at the door, cash only.

Billboards Too! features the diverse range of the Jazz & Contemporary Trainees and The Joffrey Ensemble with the choreography of Timothy Edwards, Peter Pucci and Angelica Stiskin.

compsch1These concerts provide the Trainee with the opportunity to work closely with New York City’s most well established choreographers and artists.

The Trainee is exposed to a diverse range of choreographers and their unique processes.  Rehearsals are intensive in nature, challenging the dancer to explore their artistic and technical range.

Past year’s choreographers have included Kevin Wynn, Ephrat “Bounce” Asherie, Donald Byrd and Daniel Gwirtzman.







Spring Performance

Performance Dates: Saturday, May 13 | Times and Casts To Be Determined

Location: Riverside Theater
91 Claremont Ave, NY NY 10027

Tickets will be available via the venue.

Partnering with composers from The New School Jazz & Contemporary Music program, the Joffrey Jazz & Contemporary Trainees come together to create original scores and dances featuring the choreography of Rena Butler, Tyler Gilstrap and Cameron McKinney.

perf6This workshop is an opportunity open to all year-round Trainees to learn about the intricacies and challenges of producing choreography. Students are mentored by both faculty and choreographers who help to develop, refine, and rehearse their work. Students are provided with the opportunity to further explore and develop choreographic and performing talents, as well as elements of production. Students are responsible for creating their own work, casting dancers, rehearsing, and costuming. Students may choose to choreograph their own piece or assist another student in developing his or her work. This is an invaluable experience for every dancer.

As a continuation of their classroom technical study, students participating in this workshop will deepen their artistic voice as they experiment with a variety of stimuli to create dance. In addition, they will refine their understanding of the elements and skills of both technique and composition. The Student Choreography Workshop provides a stable foundation from which the student is encouraged to take risks in order to gain knowledge of themselves and others as multi-leveled individuals and artists. They are encouraged to awaken all the senses through a thorough awareness of the body, in communication with the mind. Students are mentored by the Artistic Staff, working one-on-one with our faculty each week leading up to an in-house studio performance.


Student Choreography Workshop

Performance Dates: 

Wednesday, April 19 & Thursday, April 20: Ballet and Jazz & Contemporary Trainees

Friday, April 21 & Saturday, April 22: The Joffrey Ensemble

Times: Times & Casts To Be Determined.

Location: The 14th Street Y Theatre
344 East 14th Street NY, NY 10003

Tickets will be available via the venue.



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