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Susan Jaffe Named Ballet Mistress with ABT

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Cool news from the company:



Susan Jaffe, a former Principal Dancer with American Ballet Theatre, has been named Ballet Mistress with the Company. The appointment, effective October 2010, was announced today by Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie.

Susan Jaffe was born in Washington, D. C. and began her dance training at the Maryland School of Ballet with Hortensia Fonseca, Elizabeth Statler and Michelle Lees. She later studied at the School of American Ballet and as a scholarship student at the American Ballet Theatre School. She performed leading roles with the Maryland Youth Ballet and, in 1978, joined American Ballet Theatre II, ABT's junior troupe. In December 1980, Jaffe joined American Ballet Theatre and made her debut with the Company at the Kennedy Center in December, dancing the Pas d’Esclave from Le Corsaire with Alexander Godunov. She became a Soloist in 1981 and was promoted to Principal Dancer in 1983.

Jaffe’s roles with the Company included the title role in Anastasia, Terpsichore in Apollo, Gamzatti and Nikiya in La Bayadère, Swanilda in Coppélia, Medora in

Le Corsaire, the Lady with Him in Dim Lustre, Kitri in Don Quixote, The Accused in

Fall River Legend, the Italian Ballerina in Gala Performance, the title roles in Giselle and Manon, Hanna Glawari in The Merry Widow, the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, Tatiana in Onegin, Emilia in Othello, Taglioni in Pas des Déesses, Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, Princess Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, Odette-Odile in Swan Lake, the Sylph in

La Sylphide, Katherina in The Taming of the Shrew and leading roles in Ballet Imperial, Études, How Near Heaven, Paquita, Push Comes to Shove, Other Dances, Stepping Stones, Symphonie Concertante, Symphony in C, Theme and Variations and Without Words. She also created leading roles in Americans We, The Brahms/Haydn Variations, Cruel World, Mark Morris’ Gong, Known by Heart and Serious Pleasures.

Jaffe has danced as a guest artist with companies around the world, including the English National Ballet, Kirov Ballet, Royal Danish Ballet, Royal Swedish Ballet,

La Scala Ballet in Milan, The Royal Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet and the Vienna State Opera Ballet.

Jaffe retired from American Ballet Theatre in 2002 after 22 years with the Company. In 2003, she co-founded the Princeton Dance and Theater Studio in Princeton New Jersey, a school she co-owns with Risa Kaplowitz. She is also co-founder and co-director of DanceVision and DanceVision Youth Ensemble in Princeton.

Since 2004, Jaffe has choreographed ballets for a wide-range of dance organizations including DanceVision, Princeton University and the Youth America Grand Prix.

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I recall reading an interview with Susan Jaffe in which she described that having an acting coach helped her to add depth and dimension to the characters she portrayed. Hopefully she will be able to impart some of that wisdom and insight to the current generation of ABT dancers.

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