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Susan Jaffe at UNCSA; Jennifer Kronenberg and Carlos Guerra welcome a daughter
Last August, former American Ballet Theatre star Susan Jaffe became dean of the School of Dance at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. “Both ABT and UNCSA will have a deeper relationship, and there will be a crossover between the two schools,” says Jaffe, who danced with ABT for 22 years. “ABT and UNCSA have an exclusive affiliation which will require all of the ballet instructors to take the ABT teacher’s training, Primary through Level 7.” (Jaffe says that some of the UNCSA contemporary faculty have expressed interest in the training as well.) She would also like to host the ABT Studio Company on campus, to work with the ballet and contemporary faculty, and possibly have the contemporary faculty create a new work on the group and UNCSA students.
Jaffe’s wish list as an educator demonstrates ambition and imagination: to continually bring the latest discoveries in the field of dance to the school, whether in training, choreography, cross-training, or performance-based outcomes; to expand the training and rehabilitation facilities; to form more bonds with professional troupes; to involve the local community; to work with museums to link dance and art; and to develop graduate and outreach programs at UNCSA.
Former ABT principal dancer Ethan Stiefel served as the previous dean from 2008–11 before becoming artistic director of the Royal New Zealand Ballet (see “Transitions,” Sept. 2011). The new dean brings her vast experience of performing, coaching, and teaching to UNCSA, where she currently instructs the upper levels. Jaffe, who was a ballet mistress at ABT before accepting the position at UNCSA, says she misses the dancers and administration at ABT. “Still, I am the kind of person who must always be challenged outside my comfort zone, so taking on the dean of dance at UNCSA seemed to be a good fit,” says Jaffe. “The job has tremendous diversity, and so far I have enjoyed every minute of it.” She occasionally returns as a guest teacher for ABT’s company class.
“I miss her every day,” says ABT soloist Isabella Boylston, who was coached by Jaffe in roles like Odette/Odile. “It takes a while to build that kind of coaching relationship. She was always so generous with her time. The way she’s invested in the dancers is unmatched.” No one has yet been named to replace Jaffe as ballet master. —Joseph Carman
Photo of Jaffe by Ramon Estevanell, Courtesy Dance Teacher magazine.
Jennifer Kronenberg and Carlos Guerra, principal dancers with Miami City Ballet, welcomed their first child, Eva Carlynn Guerra, in November. Kronenberg, who graced DM’s cover in October 2009, said, “Nurses were amazed how immediately expressive she was. We weren’t so surprised—she had been preparing her grand diva entrance for quite a while!”