Jersey City Ballet: Celebrating Five Years of Excellence

-Jennifer Belcher

The Jersey City Ballet Theater Company dancers rehearse their combinations for their May performance.

As I stepped into the Jersey City Ballet studio, the sounds of classical music coupled with the tapping of pointe shoes traversing across the wooden floor flooded my senses.  I was immediately transported back to my childhood where I spent several days a week in my local dance studio.  Lacking flexibility and grace, I stuck to jazz and tap classes.  However, I always found myself pressing my nose against the glass of the other studios, studying the long-limbed and elegant ballerinas.

Watching the Jersey City Ballet Theater company dancers rehearse their combinations for an upcoming performance, I am much like my younger self: in complete awe.  There is something about ballerinas that has not only fascinated me my entire life, but continues to be an obsession for many in our society and a highlight of pop culture.  Ballet is considered the pinnacle of the dance world, with ballerinas being our finest examples of artistry combined with sheer athleticism. 

Judith Elins Palacio, director of Jersey City Ballet and Jersey City Ballet Theater, has over twenty years of experience in our community.  Judith has studied in NYC at The Alvin Ailey School, New Dance Group, City Center, Cecchetti School, New Jersey Ballet and Broadway Dance Center.  With an extensive list of professional performances as a dancer, instructor, and choreographer, Judith brings a high level of expertise to our local Jersey City community.

Judith Elins Palacio, director of Jersey City Ballet and Jersey City Ballet Theater

Judith Elins Palacio and Laurel Zaleski, instructor and company member, invited me to the studio to watch one of the company rehearsals and learn more about what this Jersey City gem has to offer our community. Judith first opened the studio in November 2013 and has seen her company expand and grow ever since.

“We started out in a tiny space on 7th street and now have a larger facility in the Brunswick Center community building. Our professional company now has a core group of members and has collaborated with many other local groups in our shows. Our school continues to grow as our next generation of ballerinas goes on pointe! Additionally our adult program has a robust group of regulars who enjoy learning classical ballet technique,” says director Elins-Palacio.

This year the studio is proudly celebrating its fifth year anniversary by continuing to offer premiere ballet instruction for the community while sharing the experience of ballet with audiences across the area.

Zaleski states, “We are planning a fundraiser in May, a Festival in October and our annual Holiday performance in December. Also, we have a few additional dates for shows that are tentative.”

Additionally, in its fifth year, the studio has been able to witness the evolution of its dancers over time.  

Photo by Jennifer Belcher

“It’s really nice seeing our students continuously improve and go away to prestigious summer training programs and competitive high school programs as well,” explains Zaleski.

One of the most unique things about Jersey City Ballet is the range of classical ballet training offered to community members of all ages and experience levels.  Available opportunities range from the most beginner levels to advanced adult ballet and the professional company.  Additionally, the ages for class offerings span from 4-5 years to adult, meaning Jersey City Ballet really has something to offer everyone in our area. 

What truly sets Jersey City Ballet apart from other studios is the quality of instruction students receive for the value students pay.  

“We offer small class sizes, professional faculty, competitive pricing and performance opportunities in a supportive environment,” Elins Palacio says.

As someone who has personally taken the studio’s adult beginner class, I can attest to this.  I was surprised at the affordability of their drop-in rates compared to other places in the area, especially with the quality of instruction I knew I was receiving.  Even as a true beginner, Judith was able to enhance my dancing with personalized attention as she suggested small changes in my foot and spine placement.  The beginner class not only let me work on the fundamentals of ballet but let me live out my childhood dreams of feeling like a beautiful ballerina.

In addition to offering ballet classes for Jersey City’s youth, Jersey City Ballet offers classes for beginner to professional adults.

For more information on what Jersey City Ballet has to offer, please check out their website: www.jerseycityballet.com and follow them on social media @jerseycityballet for the most up to date information and class schedules.

On May 5th Jersey City Ballet will be hosting a fundraiser at Grace Church Van Vorst to support their 2019 Season. For tickets and information visit www.jerseycityballet.com