Declared by the New York Times as “America’s Quintessential American Ballerina”Susan Jaffe danced as 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, Roland Petit, David Parsons, Mark Morris, Merce Cunningham, Ronald Hynd, Frederick Ashton, Ulysses Dove and Lynn Taylor Corbett.
In 2003, one year after her retirement from the stage, Ms. Jaffe co-founded the Princeton Dance & Theatre Studio in Princeton, New Jersey. As a result of owning a school, 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.”
Ms. Jaffe also created contemporary works for Texas Christian University in 2008 and Princeton University in 2010. In addition, her professional works include, Lemon Spongecake Contemporary Ballet, “Meditations UnCaged” and Configurations Dance Theater, “Novem Pas de Deux,” “Velez pas de deux,” and “Royenne,” 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 with 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.
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 has 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.