Declared by the New York Times as “America’s Quintessential American Ballerina” Susan Jaffe was a principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre for 20 years, a career which began in 1980. Prominent in the international dance scene as well, her European engagements 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. Ms. Jaffe’s versatility as a dancer allowed her to tackle a large range of choreographic works which included her acclaimed interpretations of the classics like Swan Lake, as well as the dramatic works of John Cranko, Antony Tudor, Agnes de Mille and Kenneth MacMillian.
She also worked with and danced the works of many prominent choreographers such as Jiri Kylian, Twyla Tharp, George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Lar Lubovitch, Nacho Duato, Glen Tetley, James Kudelka, Roland Petit, David Parsons, Mark Morris, Merce Cunningham, Ronald Hynd, Frederick Ashton, Ulysses Dove and Lynn Taylor Corbett. In 2003, Ms. Jaffe co-founded the Princeton Dance & Theatre Studio in Princeton, New Jersey.
In 2004 Ms. Jaffe expanded into choreography. Her original creations for the school include a full-length version of “The Nutcracker,” “Pop Sonata,” “Ballet Studies,” “Tarantella,” “Glass Cuts,” “Carnival of the Animals,” and the “Cancan.” In 2005 Ms. Jaffe co-founded DanceVision Inc. a not for profit outreach and Youth Company in Princeton New Jersey. Ms. Jaffe choreographed contemporary works for Texas Christian University in 2008 and 2012, and Princeton University in 2010. Her works for professional companies include: Lemon Spongecake Contemporary Ballet, Meditations UnCaged, Configurations Dance Theater, Novem Pas de Deux, Velez Pas de Deux, and Royenne Pas de Deux. In the 2009 Gala for Youth America Grand Prix Sognato Pas de Deux was created for Isabella Boylston and Blaine Hoven of American Ballet Theatre. The year 2011 brought We Insist for the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School of American Ballet Theater, a ballet later performed by the Studio Company of ABT in their 2011-12 season, along side of the new A Tango Pas de Deux. On the opening night 2012 gala of American Ballet Theatre, Ms. Jaffe created Blue Pas de Deux for Veronika Part and Thomas Forster. In the spring of 2013 Ms. Jaffe choreographed a newly envisioned Polovtsian Dances for UNCSA, which was performed in Chapel Hill for the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Rite of Spring.
In September 2013 Ms. Jaffe will choreograph a new ballet for Company C Contemporary Ballet Company. Ms. Jaffe’s written publications include Becoming a Ballerina, a children’s book published in 2003. On December 18th 2010, she received an Honorary Doctorate from Texas Christian University. Ms. Jaffe taught corporate lectures on Excellence in conjunction with Duke Corporate Education for Lehman Brothers, and PriceWaterHouseCoopers. She joined the roster of American Ballet Theatre once again as a Ballet Master from 2010-2012 until her appointment as Dean of Dance of UNCSA in August of 2012.