Written by Angelica Stiskin
Joffrey Ballet School’s Angelica Stiskin is positioned as Artistic Director of SPECTRUM, NYC Flagship Jazz & Contemporary Intensive. For this installment, Angelica Stiskin spoke to one of her Jazz & Contemporary Trainees and SPECTRUM Summer dancer, Lauren Leach.
It is 5pm on a Monday afternoon, and Lauren Leach just finished her full day of dancing. She arrived to Joffrey Ballet School at 8:30am this morning, and her list of classes consist of a wide array of expertise and disciplines, all curated to help her prepare for her future.
“This is my daily routine. It is the life I want—” she says as a response to my ask to explain her schedule.
Lauren knows how important each class on her schedule is to her training. She just completed her contract as a dancer in Stephen Spielberg’s upcoming feature film West Side Story, and is now in her fourth and final year of the Jazz & Contemporary Trainee Program.
As Lauren’s Artistic Director, I have mentored her through the process of obtaining these goals and others. I asked her to sit down and talk about how she feels this program has affected her ability to walk into this industry with confidence. After all, don’t we all want to smile after an audition?
“I now feel prepared to be a dancer anywhere,” said Lauren. “I love the process of learning, especially something new. This program helped me believe that I can do anything.”
Build Your Network with SPECTRUM Summer Dance Intensive
Lauren’s days are grueling, but I truly believe the rigor is what makes it beautiful. All is attainable if you prepare yourself. And it doesn’t hurt to meet and learn from the right people: people who can help you accomplish your dreams.
Lauren’s schedule today consisted of Contemporary, Ballet, Theatre Dance, Jazz, and then rehearsal for our upcoming performance. SPECTRUM Summer Intensive mirrors this year-round Trainee schedule, providing an intense range of classes from New York City’s top experts.
“It is so exciting to see our faculty at the auditions I am attending!” said Lauren. “Just so many connections!”
And that’s the ticket. You need the network. When my students tell me this, I am so excited for the prospect of what’s next. The hope to see them in playbills and companies around the world is what inspires me each day. This platform provides a diving board into the industry where Who you know is much more important than we would like to admit.
Gain Exposure With SPECTRUM Summer Dance Intensive
The SPECTRUM Summer dance intensive at the Joffrey Ballet School is a perfect choice for a dancer who dreams of it all. A spectrum of opportunity is waiting for you. With 90 instructors, and hundreds of dancers from all over the world, SPECTRUM creates an exclusive bridge that connects concert and commercial dance.
The Flagship Jazz & Contemporary Intensive fosters avenues for success exposing pre-professionals to the elite professionals of our dance world including: Amy Yakima, Stacey Tookey, Akira Uchida, Broadway performers, dancers who have toured with major recording artists and world-renowned companies. They are all in one place.
Lauren mentions her affinity for the access to such talent, “Now that I have been exposed to the options, I do not take for granted what I have here every day. The Jazz and Contemporary program gives me the freedom to explore.”
Be in NYC Where it All Happens
As we sit in my office, at the school on 6th Avenue, I look outside at the hustle and bustle of the city and hear Lauren exhale, “I am so lucky to be in New York City… to be where it all happens. I think that’s my favorite part.”
It is my favorite part too. New York City offers a universe ready to embrace and cherish. This city provides me the art and events my students can witness and look forward to being a part of one day. Joffrey hosts and coordinates events all year (including summer) that run alongside the in-studio training. We dance, and we have New York. It’s magical.
Lauren and I have grown close over the last three years. I was positioned as Artistic Director in August of 2017, and that was right at the start of her second year in the program.
“You made changes,” said Lauren. “You pushed us. Now, I can push myself even further.”
This push is what we all seek. It will be bittersweet to see Lauren Leach graduate in May, but I am beyond ready to watch her soar.
SPECTRUM and the Jazz and Contemporary Trainee Program were built to connect us to our quest for tomorrow. I invite you to come along with us. Let’s find our treasure— the value of our hearts, the wealth of our talent, and the fortune of our choices. Be your future.
Your dream is here.
SPECTRUM: Joffrey Ballet School’s NYC Flagship Jazz & Contemporary Intensive: July 13 — August 7, 2020: Ages 8 – 25
Learn more: https://summer.joffreyballetschool.com/nyc-jazz-intensive/