(Ballet Dancer, Instructor, Choreographer)
When Courtney Jordan was 2 years old she used to watch while her sister took dance class. Then one day her mother asked her if she wanted to go in and take the class…Courtney refused but continued watching her sister’s class every week through the door. At her sister’s recital that year, during intermission, Courtney climbed on stage and performed her sister’s entire dance by herself. That next September her parents enrolled Courtney in her first dance class, and as the saying goes in show business, the rest is history!
Growing up in Deer Park on Long Island, for Courtney dance was always a central part of her life. As a young dancer, she took dance classes in Ballet, Tap, Jazz, and Contemporary. By age 7 Courtney had joined the David Sanders Dynamic Dancers Company and started competing in Jazz and Tap dance competitions. Over the next 10 years, as a member of the dance company, she won a National Championship every year. Although she loved going to the dance competitions and winning many awards, Courtney’s best memories as a young dancer were “going to the dance conventions and competitions with my friends and hanging out all weekend.”
Courtney first started teaching dance classes during high school as an assistant as part of work-study while on scholarship. Courtney attended Marymount Manhattan College where she received her BFA in Dance under the direction of Katie Langan, performing works by Christopher D’Amboise, Murray Louis and Anthony Ferro, among others. Courtney has performed throughout the country and has appeared in film and television in Valentine with Leslie Browne, Starz channel’s Flesh and Bone and on Jeopardy.
Today, Courtney is currently a member of the Eglevsky Ballet Company where she also serves as the Régisseur/Répétiteur and Rehearsal Director. Courtney has danced by special request with The American Chamber Orchestra, Trinity Dance Company (for which she also choreographs), Neff Novel, Dance Jazz Dance America, Dancers Responding to AIDS, and Broadway Cares. As a dance instructor, Courtney has been teaching for over 10 years throughout the tri-state area, drawing on her extensive knowledge of Human Anatomy and Kinesiology to focus on solid technique and musicality.
We are proud of Courtney’s many personal accomplishments and are fortunate to have her as a key member of the Progressive Dance Studio faculty for the last three years. Jolene Perry, Owner of Progressive Dance Studio, said “Courtney is a wonderful Ballet Instructor. She knows her craft very well and is very thorough when teaching. One of Courtney’s real strengths is the way she’s able to communicate the technical aspects of ballet in a way that the students can easily understand. Ballet is not an easy form of dance to learn, but Courtney knows how to get the best out of the kids.”
Interview with Courtney
Progressive Dance Studio: What was your experience like as a dance student?
Courtney: As far as training, I was dancing at a high level early on, so it was a lot of hours: every day after school, and rehearsals on the weekends, more when it was competition season. When I went to college, I entered a conservatory-like BFA program, so it became even more intense. My training was well rounded, solid, and demanding, which I cannot recommend enough. I was trained extensively in ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, lyrical/contemporary, Graham, Horton, Limon, Nikolai, dance history, music theory and composition, anatomy and physiology, kinesiology, and Laban movement notation.
Progressive Dance Studio: What are your favorite dance styles to teach?
Courtney: I love ballet and pointe, obviously. I like the structure and the clear evidence of progress. But I also love jazz and lyrical. I’m the kind of person who always moves when music is on, so I like to be able to let that loose.
Progressive Dance Studio: As a teacher, what is the most important thing you want your students to take away from your classes?
Courtney: Put the best you have that day into your class. What is the point of doing it halfway? Not everyone wants to or will be a professional dancer, but some form of dance or music could be in your life forever. No one ever regretted trying their best and giving their all.
Progressive Dance Studio: How do you help dancers prepare for recitals/competitions?
Courtney: I love to clean dances. We take it one 8 count at a time and make sure everyone is doing the exact same thing at the correct time. I feel like there is no better way to prepare for a performance than being absolutely certain you know all of your steps. After that, the dancers have the confidence to bring their artistry to the table. You can’t be free within the piece if you don’t know what you’re doing or where you’re going.
Progressive Dance Studio: What is your proudest moment as a choreographer and teacher?
Courtney: As a choreographer and teacher, I would say it was the 2017 Nutcracker with Eglevsky Ballet. I was tasked with staging and setting almost the entire show, from start to finish, and it was absolutely fantastic. After 10 weeks of hard work, everything came together so beautifully. We received rave reviews from all over, including BroadwayWorld.com.
Progressive Dance Studio: What advice would you give a dancer who wants to become a professional?
Courtney: Train in as many styles and genres as you can, as much as you can, and supplement that with other areas such as music, anatomy, dance history, etc. Smart, versatile dancers are marketable, hire-able dancers with long careers. Find instructors that work for you. Stick with those instructors as long and as often as possible; structure and consistency are important, and having a person who can monitor your progress and work within it is key. Be kind, responsible, and easy to work with.
Progressive Dance Studio: What do you learn from your students?
Courtney: I’m always reminded that different human beings learn in different ways, so I am constantly challenged to find new ways to explain things, and to get lessons to register with each individual.
Progressive Dance Studio: What is the best part of teaching at PDS?
Courtney: The students and staff are genuinely nice people. Even on the most challenging days. And the kids are legitimately funny. We definitely have some laughs in class.
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“If you look at a dancer in silence, his or her body will be the music. If you turn the music on, that body will become an extension of what you’re hearing.” —Judith Jamison