Era Jouravlev has dedicated her life to ballet – to preserving the art form and passing it on to the next generation of dancers. And anyone to learn from her should deem themselves lucky. Recently, Jouravlev, currently the artistic director of the Joffrey Ballet School (JBS) Trainee Program, ventured to Australia to teach at the Victorian Dance Festival (VDF). There, not only did she impart many ballet lessons to rooms full of eager students, but she also awarded scholarships to 15 lucky Aussie dancers to train at JBS.
Here, we got to know a little more about Jouravlev’s life in ballet, what training at NYC’s JBS is like and what she thought of being Down Under.
How long have you been teaching at Joffrey Ballet School? Why do you like teaching there?
“I’ve been teaching at JBS since 1997. I love this school with all my heart; the students, faculty and history are amazing. I’m so lucky to be part of this incredible experience. But mostly, I’m very happy with the training that we are providing to our students. We are teaching them very versatile dance movements, based on very strong ballet techniques, and we provide various performing opportunities. It is a joy for me to see the students’ progress and their developing talents on stage.”
You were recently in Australia teaching at VDF. Was this your first time in Australia?
“This was my third trip to Australia. I love this country so much. The dance level is high and very enjoyable to teach. Students show great respect to ballet as a form of dance, and I’m very appreciative of it; they are very committed and show wonderful work ethic and discipline.”
How was VDF? What classes did you teach?
“I had to teach two classes that were each one hour long every day. This was something I never experienced before. I had to teach about 100 people in one class; my normal class is 25 students. I was very concerned that I’m wasn’t going to give students enough attention and corrections, but in the end, it worked out really well. Students enjoyed the classes, and I enjoyed teaching them very much.”
Did you do anything in Australia on your time off from teaching?
“This trip was very short, and I didn’t have much time, but I really enjoyed spending time with good friend of mine and mentor, Robert Ray.”
Why do you think students should consider the summer program at Joffrey Ballet School? What’s the experience like?
“Joffrey Ballet School is the best in many ways. Firstly, it’s the faculty and loving atmosphere that can be found in the school. Our teachers give students an incredible experience and provide them with a wealth of knowledge from the field. Students come for up to seven weeks, and in the end, they have a performance opportunity. For this end-of-the-intensive performance, the students get the experience of working with world-class choreographers.”
Summer is a great time for students to train thoroughly, dedicate themselves to their studies and improve. Why do you think students should take advantage of this time?
“I think that summer is the best time for young people to spend time in the classroom and dance their heart out! They are dancing from 10am to 5pm with intensive structure, and it’s the time to get better and improve their technique.”
What advice do you have for students who aspire to be professionals?
“Never give up, believe in yourself, and follow your heart. Be passionate!”
What’s next for you?
“I plan to continue leading the next generation of Joffrey Ballet School’s dancers and and inspire them to become better people and dancers.”
Congratulations to the Joffrey Ballet School Scholarship Winners at VDF:
Full Trainee Tuition Scholarships
3-week 100% Tuition Scholarship for Summer Jazz-Contemporary Program
3-week 100% Tuition scholarship for Summer Ballet Program
Joffrey Ballet School in New York City has partnered with Dance Informa for the 2018 Summer Scholarship Contest. Now through April 15, submit a one- to three-minute video for a chance to win a two-week scholarship for various disciplines. One full tuition scholarship for one year to the Joffrey Ballet School Trainee Program (valued at $15,000) will also be awarded. For more information on how to apply, visit www.danceinforma.com.au/ballet-scholarships.
By Laura Di Orio of Dance Informa.
VDF Photos by Jayde Justin and Belinda Strodder.