Can you imagine your ideal dance academy? Jenifer Ringer and James Fayette have done just that and now lead the Colburn Dance Academy at the Colburn School in downtown Los Angeles. Twelve gifted and wildly fortunate dance students age 14–19 years are studying with Colburn Dance Academy’s Director Ms. Ringer, Associate Director Mr. Fayette, expert faculty, and a who’s who of dance world guest teachers. Not only are these students learning Balanchine technique and Robbins’ repertoire from two much-admired former New York City Ballet principal dancers with years of real-world experience, talent, and success—they are immersed in a vibrant oasis of arts excellence. “The Colburn Dance Academy mission is to give our students excellent training grounded in classical ballet while teaching other styles of dance, and to provide broad exposure to music, visual arts, and performance,” explains Ms. Ringer. “We offer extra levels of enrichment so that our students have well-rounded experience to bring greater artistry and voice to their dance and careers.”
It is clear talking with Ms. Ringer and Mr. Fayette that they truly have brought their thoughtful, knowledgeable visions for a dream dance school to life with Colburn Dance Academy. Lured from Manhattan to Los Angeles by Benjamin Millepied shortly after Ms. Ringer’s 2014 retirement from City Ballet, the married couple and parents have created a unique family-like, professional, inclusive atmosphere in the school. It was a joy and an honor to observe Ms. Ringer teaching class. The students are all-in, absorbed, attentive, enthusiastic, and hard-working. The program is both intimate and rigorous. Both the females and males in the program are incredibly fortunate that the males receive nearly one-on-one partnering training from Mr. Fayette.
Colburn Dance Academy students receive personalized attention and mentorship. Ms. Ringer speaks passionately about making sure the dancers develop a well-rounded voice and understanding of art and artistry. The students take drama, piano, and history classes in addition to learning presentation skills, visiting the nearby Museum of Art, and attending rehearsals and performances. The Colburn School has long been recognized for their tradition and excellence in music. Living with and attending school with the Colburn School music students plays a pivotal enriching role in the lives of the dance students.
Colburn Dance Academy is officially affiliated with L.A. Dance Project where the students take weekly contemporary classes and are exposed to company life first hand. Benjamin Millepied, an Artistic Advisor to Colburn Dance Academy and L.A. Dance Project founder (where James Fayette is also the Managing Director), has explained, “Colburn Dance Academy nurtures and encourages the next generation of artists.”