Joffrey Ballet School Goes West

  • The New York City-based Joffrey Ballet School held a month-long summer dance training intensive at CSUN’s Valley Performing Arts Center. Mia Michaels, star of the hit Fox television show, “So You Think You Can Dance?” leads a class of younger students at Joffrey West. Photo by Sylvia Sukop.

  • Reflected in a dance studio mirror, choreographer and dancer Mia Michaels develops a piece for Joffrey West’s culminating performance at CSUN’s Valley Performing Arts Center. Photo by Sylvia Sukop.

  • During Mia Michaels’ class, students rehearse a new dance for the first time. Photo by Sylvia Sukop.

  • Joffrey West dance student consults the daily schedule posted at an entrance to the Valley Performing Arts Center rehearsal studios. Photo by Sylvia Sukop.

  • Students enjoy a lunch break during the intensive daily dance training at Joffrey West, a competitive program with admissions based on audition. Photo by Sylvia Sukop.

  • In a studio at CSUN’s Valley Performing Arts Center, students rehearse a piece choreographed by Joffrey West instructor Ivy Chen (at right, in green top), a contemporary interpretation of traditional Asian dance. Photo by Sylvia Sukop.

  • Dancers perform hip-hop moves; the Valley Performing Arts Center is in the background. Photo by Sylvia Sukop.

The famed Joffrey Ballet School, based in New York City, has launched “Joffrey West,” a month-long summer dance training intensive at California State University, Northridge. Open by audition to students ages 12–25 with prior dance experience, “Joffrey West” is led by a faculty of renowned professional dancers including Mia Michaels and Mandy Moore of the hit Fox television show “So You Think You Can Dance.”

“Joffrey West” is so high profile and competitive that the range of students has an international flair, with dancers from Spain and Mexico flying in to take part in the month-long affair. Its goal is to prepare the students for the rigorous world of professional dance, whether it’s with a ballet or modern company, or flashing their styles on a concert stage or in a music video.

Morning classes will focus on ballet, consisting of technique, pointe, variations and partnering. In the afternoon, students will learn about modern and contemporary dance, nutrition and conditioning classes. In addition to Michaels and Moore, the list of instructors also includes Josie Walsh, a choreographer and a former professional dancer with the Joffrey Ballet, and Dante 7, who has worked with Justin Timberlake and Mary J. Blige.

“Like CSUN, [the Joffrey Ballet] is an institution interested in developing young talent and generating new work,” said W. Robert Bucker, dean of the Mike Curb College of Arts, Media, and Communication and the Valley Performing Art Center’s executive director. “The summer program gives dance students exposure to top professionals in their field and the opportunity for rigorous training, artistic collaboration and live performance that take place in state-of-the-art studios and on a big, beautiful stage.”

The program will culminate on Jul. 27 with a performance at the Valley Performing Arts Center.

For More: ‘Joffrey West’ Summer Dance Training at Cal State Northridge Features Mia Michaels, Mandy Moore of ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ [CSUN Media Releases]

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