American Ballet Theatre
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School

Faculty Biography

Susan Jaffe

Ballet Technique, Pointe

Recognized as one of the leading ballerinas of her time, Ms. Jaffe has performed in many Opera houses throughout Europe and the United States. In 1980, at the invitation of Mikhail Baryshnikov, she joined American Ballet Theatre and became well known in the dance world at an extremely young age. Her debut in Washington D.C. at the Kennedy Center was made when she was plucked from the corps for the 1980 opening night season to dance opposite recently defected Alexander Godunov in the pas de deux, Pas d’Esclave, from Le Corsaire. Since then, she has received critical praise for her interpretations of such roles as: Odette/Odile (Swan Lake), Kitri (Don Quixote), Nikiya & Gamzatti (La Bayadere), Aurora (The Sleeping Beauty), Juliet (Romeo and Juliet), Swanhilda (Coppelia), Tatiana (John Cranko’s Eugene Onegin), Kate (Taming of the Shrew), and the title roles in Giselle, La Sylphide, & Kenneth MacMillan’s Anastasia and Manon.

Ms. Jaffe has also worked with and performed the repertoire of many of the 20th century’s most prominent choreographers, including George Balanchine (Apollo, Mozartiana, Who Cares, Theme & Variations, Ballet Imperial, Violin Concerto, La Sonnambula, Bourree Fantasque), Anthony Tudor (Jardin aux Lilas, Undertow, Gala Performance, Dim Lustre), Kenneth MacMillan (Manon, The Sleeping Beauty, Romeo & Juliet, Requiem), Jerome Robbins (Afternoon of a Faun, Other Dances, N.Y. Opus Jazz), Roland Petit (Carmen), Twyla Tharp (Push Comes to Shove, Everlast, Sextet, How Near Heaven, Bach Partita, Americans We, Known By Heart), Nacho Duato (Without Words), Jiri Kilyan (Stepping Stones) and James Kudelka (Cruel World, States of Grace).

Ms. Jaffe’s European engagements have included performances with The Royal Ballet, The Kirov Ballet, The Stuttgart Ballet, The Munich State Opera Ballet, La Scala Ballet in Milan, The Vienna State Opera Ballet, The Royal Danish Ballet, The Royal Swedish Ballet, and The English National Ballet.

In 2003 she hosted Dance New York, a weekly local TV show co-produced by Dance Magazine and WNYE-TV Channel 25. Other television and film appearances include several Dance in America programs, Angie with Geena Davis (1994), and Ballet, a documentary directed by Frederick Wiseman (1995).

One month after her retirement from American Ballet Theatre, Ms. Jaffe was invited back for the position of the advisor to the Chairman and the President of the Board of Governing Trustees. She also serves as the artistic coordinator of the Youth America Grand Prix, and the Chairman of the Artists Committee of “The All-Stars,” a group that helps underprivileged children develop learning skills through performance.

On September 8, 2005, Ms. Jaffe & Ms. Risa Gary Kaplowitz founded the Princeton Dance & Theatre Studio in Princeton, New Jersey.

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