Modern Dance & Jazz
The Ballet Center of Houston is proud to offer our Modern Dance Program taught by JoDee Engle.
JoDee Engle is a native Houstonian and a graduate of the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. She also received her early training from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, where she studied under Lynette Mason-Gregg, Soili Arvola, and Leo Ahonen. After HSPVA, she attended the University of North Carolina School of the Arts where she ultimately received her B.F.A. in Modern Dance. While at UNCSA, she had the pleasure of working with choreographers such as Sara Hook, Mary Cochran, Murray Lewis, Bill Young, Lar Lubovitch, and performing the works of renowned choreographers like Jose Limon and Alwin Nikolais. JoDee was also a member of the Pluck Project, a student initiated and student produced project in which the graduating class presents an evening-length concert of their own work in New York City. Since her return to Houston, she has danced with the Sandra Organ Dance Company, Dominic Walsh Dance Theater, Houston Grand Opera, Psophonia, Leslie Scates, and San Diego Opera, among others. For seven years, JoDee danced with Hope Stone Dance Company, where she was rehearsal director and directed their pre-professional company, Hope Stone Dance II (h.s.d. II). She is also a dance consultant at HSPVA and teaches at several other studios in the Houston area. JoDee is a founding member of Houston Dance Collective.
We offer Modern Dance classes for Levels 4, 5, and 6-8. These levels coordinate with our ballet levels. For non-ballet students, an audition for class placement is required. Please see the schedule for class details.
What is Modern Dance?
Why Modern Dance?
Is it beneficial to my dancer?
This year we are excited to offer a Jazz class for our Level 2/3 students taught by Kristy Nilsson.
Kristy Nilsson began her training with Victoria Vittum de Bethencourt and Gilbert Rome at Ballet Center of Houston. She was a Dance Pedagogy Honors student at University of Oklahoma, and graduated Cum Laude from Houston’s High School for the Performing & Visual Arts. She later performed with Jill Eathrone Bahr’s Charleston Ballet Theater and Atlanta Ballet under the direction of Joh McFall in over seventy performances.
Ms. Nilsson has choreographed more than 100 concert works (including 9 full-length/narrative ballets) which have been performed by 28 companies in 11 states in the U.S. & Canada. Her choreography has won recognition from Regional Dance America, the Southeastern Regional Ballet Association and Dance Canvas – and she has created 5 works on the professional company, The Georgia Ballet. “Miss Kristy” is a full-time ballet & modern dance instructor and has taught over 5,000 year-round students, with hundreds more at summer intensives and master classes.
Jazz teaches strength and power very quickly and ballet teaches grace and elegance. When you are able to execute both well, you are a more sought after dancer. The importance of being a well rounded dancer is just as important as being a well rounded academic student. The expectation when you walk into an audition is to be able to perform well in multiple styles so the choreographers know where you work best. Jazz uses the muscles differently. It is more of a contraction of the muscle while ballet is the expanding of the muscle. It is very important to learn how to do both so you can equally work the muscles in both ways. Working in both styles strengthens the muscles which can ultimately reduce the risk for injuries.