WMU News

Accomplished ballet director visits WMU

Nov. 5, 2001

KALAMAZOO -- A noted ballet director will visit the area Nov. 8-11 as an artist-in-residence in the Western Michigan University Department of Dance.

Sandra Jennings, ballet mistress for the Pennsylvania Ballet and a repetiteur for the Balanchine Trust, will teach the George Balanchine ballet "Stars and Stripes" to WMU students. Her visit is part of the Great Works Project, which will be presented as part of the department's Winter Concert of Dance in January.

Jennings began her training in Boston. Her teachers included Harriet Hoctor, Virgina Williams, Peggy Gill and Jacqueline Cronsberg. She received a Ford Foundation Scholarship to the School of American Ballet at age 14. At the School of American Ballet, she studied with Alexandra Danilova, Felia Doubrovska, Antonia Tumkovsky and Stanley Williams, among others.

At age 17, George Balanchine asked Jennings to join the New York City Ballet. There she worked and studied with Balanchine and Jerome Robbins for nine years. She danced many principal and soloist roles in the company in such ballets as "Nutcracker," "Interplay," "La Source," "Stars and Stripes," "Coppelia," "Fancy Free," "Symphony in C" and many more. She performed on television in "Dance in America, Live from Lincoln Center" and "Live from Studio 8H."

She began staging Balanchine Ballets in 1985 and also is a teacher of the Balanchine technique and style. Jennings stages ballets across the United States and abroad.

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, 616 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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