Jul 20, 2021
This week on 5.6.7.EIGHT, Aleksandra interviews Jeffrey Edwards, dance professor at The Juilliard School. During his run as a performer, Jeff was a leading dancer for the New York Ballet, the Zurich Ballet, and the Lyon Opera Ballet. Edwards, who holds a degree from Brown University, has taught for conservatories and professional ballet companies around the world and has taught ballet at Harvard, Cornell, Princeton, Yale, and Brown. Additionally, he’s been able to choreograph various works, including the Broadway musical Billy Elliot.
Jeff knows that, for the truly successful, learning never ends. And, if any group has pushed him to be a lifelong learner, it’s been his students. On the podcast, Jeff reflects on the pride he feels as a Juilliard faculty member, the daily challenge of teaching such talented students, his own run as a student being trained by some of the world’s most successful artists, and so much more.
"At Juilliard, you have these very curious young adults who are so talented and so steeped in potential — very hungry for information. It makes me want to remain a perpetual student as well. It's so much about the learning... I'm inspired to be in the room with students who are always learning."
[On teaching dance to non-dance students] "I love the idea of coming up with language that is inclusive and can really inspire a broader public to be excited about what we do."
"The creativity of parenting... I feel like I'm a better parent because of my intense work as an artist — it's informed my parenting in so many ways. And, on the other hand, my experience of parenting translates back to how I am in the studio... I'm really proud of that."
"I would encourage everyone to not be fearful that pursuing [balance in life] is going to take away from what you do well."
"This is how ballet is changing - there's much more room for dialogue than there ever has been."
[When looking for mentors] "Reach out and don't be shy. And ask for help."
"Assumptions can be our enemy in many ways, especially in ballet."
"Put yourself out there and be curious."
Bullet Points (w/ timestamps) - Highlighting key topics discussed:
3:17: Jeffrey discusses his role as dance professor at the esteemed Juilliard School.
4:37: Jeffrey explains how Juilliard provides dance education across a wide array of styles and how his very own students push him to be a better dancer, teacher, and person.
8:28: Edwards explains how, to his surprise, often non-dance students are the once that press him to think more deeply about the art.
11:33: Edwards, who has performed across the world, compares dancing for a top American company versus a top European company.
16:02: Jeffrey describes his time being coached by the legendary Mikhail Baryshnikov.
19:23: Edwards shines light on his role models and mentors and shares some advice for anyone looking for mentorship opportunities.
24:08: Jeffrey, who is an extremely accomplished and decorated performer and teacher, discusses what gives him the most pride.
26:26: Jeffrey shares some wisdom on finding balance in life, as many different pursuits try to dominate your attention.
28:03: Jeffrey looks to the future, expressing eagerness to return to the post-pandemic stage.
31:07: Edwards gives some final advice for listeners who are looking to pursue their lives’ dreams.
Bullet List of Resources –