Jenifer Ringer: Embarking on New Worlds

February 23, 2014

Two weeks ago, Jenifer Ringer danced her farewell to New York City Ballet. After saying good-bye to this sublime dancer on the stage, we can now say hello to her in two new realms: First, her book is being released today. And second—this just announced—she is to direct the newly formed Colburn Dance Academy in Los Angeles.

Jenifer Ringer wearing a dress by J. Mendel for Melissa Barak’s
Call Me Ben.

Photo by Sarah Silver for
Dance Magazine’s cover, August 2010.

The Book

Entitled Dancing Through It, Ringer’s autobiography recounts her two decades at NYCB, including the infamous incident when a major critic took a pot shot at her weight—and the ensuing hoopla. It tells of her eating disorder and depression, of falling in love with fellow dancer James Fayette, of her reliance on prayer, and through it all, her passion for ballet. For those who saw Ringer’s star quality onstage, you will recognize her warmth and generosity on the page. It’s the kind of book that is so full of joyful and poignant moments that it makes you want to get to know the writer.

The reading tonight

New Yorkers will have a chance to get to know her tonight—by coming to the Upper West Side Barnes & Noble, where Jenifer Ringer is reading. I am the lucky one who will be “in conversation with” Jenifer, drawing her out about her book and her life in ballet.

Readers of Dance Magazine know what a good writer Ringer is because of her eloquent “Why I Dance” in 2010. The book expands on that short essay, deepening our understanding of ballet training, aesthetics, and the psychological pitfalls. It describes the funny parts of a dance career —the falling onstage, the blanking out—so hilariously that you can’t help but laugh.

 If you cannot make it to the reading tonight (or tomorrow at the National Museum of Dance in Saratoga Springs), get the book and read it when you can. The subtitle is “My Journey in the Ballet,” and it is quite a journey!

Ringer in “Spring” in Jerome Robbins’
The Four Seasons

Photo by Paul Kolnik, Courtesy NYCB

Ringer with James Fayette at the 2011 Dance Magazine Awards. Photo by Jacob Pritchard.

New Academy, New Director

After her book tour, Ringer will become director of the Colburn Dance Academy, which is the brainchild of a partnership between the Colburn School in Los Angeles and the L.A. Dance Project.

Ringer, a 2011 Dance Magazine Awardee, will be working with students between the age of 14 and 19. What lucky kids! When Jenifer joined New York City Ballet at 16, she was ready technically, but, as she recounts in her book, not emotionally. Having survived desperate struggles with body image, who better than Jenifer Ringer to guide teenage girls through the rigorous training of ballet?