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posted by Wendy Perron on Friday, Jul 06, 2012
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We’re surprised—but not much—that Susan Jaffe has been named the new dean of University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA). No one could fill the shoes left empty by Ethan Stiefel better than Jaffe! She has excelled as a dancer, teacher, coach, and choreographer. Since 2002, when she retired from her illustrious career as one of the few American ballerinas at American Ballet Theatre, she has been assistant to the Chairman of the Board at ABT, co-artistic director of Princeton Dance & Theater Studio, co-founder of Long Island University's educational initiative for ABT dancers, and a beloved guest teacher at a number of universities. Plus, she has blossomed into a really interesting choreographer of contemporary ballet.
She received a Dance Magazine Award in 2003, and since then has served on Dance Magazine’s board of advisors as well as on our Awards committee.
Jaffe was a gorgeous ballerina (I still remember her in Bayadère), and you can still see that when she performs roles like the queen mother in Swan Lake or The Sleeping Beauty. She exudes an aura of beauty and kindness. As a new ballet mistress at ABT, Jaffe has had terrific insights. (Click here to read our story on three young coaches.)
Kudos to UNCSA. The students there will learn so much from her!
But it’ll be sad for New York City to not see Susan Jaffe around New York so often. She could be seen not only at ballet performances but sometimes at Ailey or other modern dance performances. I was looking forward to her next piece of choreography too. I just might have to take a trip down to Winston-Salem to see her work. —Wendy Perron