With a pre-dance program for kids ages 3 to 6, and ballet classes starting at age 7 and adult classes for curious beginners, former dancers returning to the art or professionals honing their skills:
Jersey City Ballet
Since she was a child, Judith Elins, Director of Jersey City Ballet, has been dancing “literally nonstop,” starting out at local dance studios in Irvington and Union, N.J., and eventually making her way to New York City. There, she worked with teachers and instructors who inspired her to pursue a career in dance.
“When I’m dancing, it’s the one time my mind is completely and I just get immersed in the whole process,” said Elins. “I love music and movement. When you’re dancing, that’s all you’re thinking about for that moment, and it’s a great feeling.”
Now, Elins is helping others free their minds and dance nonstop — or rather, learn nonstop.
At Jersey City Ballet, Elins and four other teaching artists work with dancers of all ages to provide them with ongoing dance education.
“This is not a place where you walk in, we say, ‘This is your recital dance,’ and you work on it all year and then come back to work on another dance,” explained Elins. “There’s value in that for sure, but this is a place where people can come in and out, take classes and learn. Whether a child just wants to audition for a college program or be involved in community theater, or wants to become a professional, we give you the tools to get to that level.”
They start ’em young, with a pre-dance program for kids ages 3 to 6, and ballet classes starting at age 7. In the double-digits? No problem. Jersey City Ballet also offers adult classes for curious beginners, former dancers returning to the art form or for professionals looking to improve their skills.
Eventually, Elins hopes for her students and other established dancers to form a ballet company and the Jersey City Ballet Theater, which she envisions bringing JC national recognition for its art scene.
“When I first moved here, I didn’t see many families or a huge artist community but I’ve watched it grow in the past 13 years,” said Elins, who lives in the Hamilton Park neighborhood, just a stone’s throw away from Brunswick Center.
Whether a child just wants to audition for a college program or be involved in community theater, or wants to become a professional, Jersey City Ballet gives you the tools to get to that level.
Dance — or rather: Learn nonstop
“Families are staying and putting down roots here and in the neighborhood there’s a big sense of community, and a lot of great programs in the area,” she said. “We don’t have to travel to Manhattan for quality arts education.”
Being part of a micro-community at the Brunswick Center, she added, makes Jersey City Ballet even stronger.
“I like the energy of being up here with all these different businesses,” said Elins. “I’m very much a collaborator so I love that there are other people to talk to and share ideas with.”