Through a new partnership with California State University, Northridge, the New York City-based Joffrey Ballet School has launched “Joffrey West,” a summer dance training intensive at CSUN through July 27, 2012.
Open by audition to students ages 12–25 with prior dance experience, “Joffrey West” is led by a faculty of renowned professional dancers including Mia Michaels and Mandy Moore of the hit Fox television show “So You Think You Can Dance.”
The month-long program at CSUN, the Joffrey Ballet School’s only West Coast venue, will culminate with a red carpet event Friday, July 27, 2012 in the Great Hall of the university’s Valley Performing Arts Center (VPAC), known for its commitment to bringing engaging, high-caliber professional performances to its exceptional venues.
“The Joffrey Ballet School’s presence here feeds in both directions,” says W. Robert Bucker, dean of the Mike Curb College of Arts, Media, and Communication and VPAC’s executive director. “Like CSUN, theirs is an institution interested in developing young talent and generating new work. The summer program gives dance students exposure to top professionals in their field and the opportunity for rigorous training, artistic collaboration, and live performance that take place in state-of-the-art studios and on a big, beautiful stage. At the same time, those professionals are scouting fresh talent and forming a positive relationship with our extraordinary campus community and facilities.”
Joffrey West is one of several collaborative partnerships established by Cal State Northridge to provide arts education and performance opportunities to middle, high-school, college and post-baccalaureate students, including OperaWorks and the Teenage Drama Workshop (TADW). As a presenter, VPAC also provides matinee programs and master classes during the school year for K–12 students and their teachers.
Up to 150 students per week from across the United States and as well as Mexico and Spain are currently participating in the demanding, high-energy Joffrey West program, registering for sessions of one to four weeks; five students received scholarships after submitting performance videos through a contest sponsored by Dance Magazine. Students are divided into skill levels and taught by instructors with deep professional resumes in the dance world. Michaels works with all trainee levels and is creating a new choreographic piece to be showcased at the final performance.
In addition to Michaels and Moore, the Joffrey West faculty includes Joffrey West Artistic Director Alice Alyse, along with Southern California natives Josie Walsh, a choreographer and a former professional dancer with the Joffrey Ballet, and Dante 7, a dancer and choreographer who has worked with Debbie Allen, Missy Elliot, Justin Timberlake and Mary J. Blige.
Other faculty members include French natives Denise Biggi, artistic director of Cirque du Soleil’s “Iris” in Los Angeles and Julie Bour, a Bessie Award-winning dancer and choreographer; Ivy Chen (born in Taiwan), founder of the Dancelova Dance Academy in Irvine, Calif.; Havic (born in the Philippines), a music video dancer and choreographer; Anna Marie Holmes (born in Canada), former artistic director of the Boston Ballet; Asha Di Ningrat, director of the D.C. Dance Center Company; Jonathan Sharp, a professional ballet dancer with extensive Broadway and TV credits; and Adam Sklute, artistic director of Ballet West and former associate director at The Joffrey Ballet.
The daily schedule incorporates a range of dance style and disciplines. Morning classes focus on ballet, consisting of technique, pointe, variations, and partnering. Afternoon classes consist of modern, contemporary dance, nutrition and conditioning classes.
The program is designed to help dancers explore new ideas and approaches to movement while preparing them for a professional career that demands versatility—the capability to work for a ballet or modern company, on Broadway or in the Hollywood film industry, in music videos, stage shows, and pop and Hip-Hop artist live performance.
Tickets to the Joffrey West Program’s culminating performance, Friday, July 27, 8 p.m., can be purchased at http://www.valleyperformingartscenter.org/tickets/visiting-events/.
The Joffrey Ballet School transforms passionate dance students into versatile, individualistic artists able to collaborate and evolve fluidly in a fast-changing society. Robert Joffrey and Gerald Arpino founded the Joffrey Ballet School in 1953. The school continues to strive for its founders’ vision by deconstructing dance to allow dancers the ability to perfect their technique and form so it flows naturally and passionately from within. We cultivate the individual artist within you. In more than 50 years of existence, the Joffrey Ballet School has remained on the forefront of American dance education. Graduates of the school have gone on to dance for major classical ballet companies, as well as for numerous modern and contemporary companies, both in the United States and abroad.
California State University, Northridge is a regionally focused, nationally recognized university serving more than 34,000 full- and part-time students in the San Fernando Valley and surrounding areas. Founded in 1958, Cal State Northridge is among the largest universities in the nation and is ranked among the top universities for bachelor’s degrees awarded to minority students. It has nine colleges and more than 2,000 faculty members who teach courses leading to bachelor’s degrees in 69 disciplines, master’s degrees in 58 fields and doctorates in education and physical therapy, as well as 28 teaching credential programs. Continuously evolving and changing to meet the needs of California and the nation at large, the university is home to dozens of acclaimed programs where students gain valuable hands-on experience working alongside faculty and industry professionals, whether in the sciences, health care and engineering or education, political science, the arts and the social sciences.