Director & Faculty

Risa Gary Kaplowitz

Director Emerita

Risa Kaplowitz was a former principal dancer with Dayton Ballet and company member of Houston Ballet and Ballet Manhattan. She has also performed with Pennsylvania Ballet, Metropolitan Opera Ballet and as guest artist with many companies nationwide. She has performed the repertoire of many choreographers including Fredrick Ashton, George Balanchine, Ben Stevenson, Stuart Sebastian, Dermot Burke, Billy Wilson, and Marjorie Mussman.

Originally trained at Maryland Youth Ballet by Tensia Fonseca, Roy Gean, and Michelle Lees, Ms. Kaplowitz spent summers as a teen studying on scholarship at American Ballet Theater, Joffrey Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, and Houston Ballet. As a professional, her most influential teachers were Maggie Black, Marjorie Mussman, Stuart Sebastian, Lupe Serrano, Benjamin Harkarvy, and Ben Stevenson.

After retiring from the stage, Ms. Kaplowitz spent ten years in a successful business career while building a family, she returned to the dance world and founded Princeton Dance and Theater Studio (PDT) and Princeton Youth Ballet (PYB) with Susan Jaffe, former principal ballerina with American Ballet Theatre. Ms. Kaplowitz is now PDT’s Director, and the Artistic Director of Princeton Youth Ballet. She also founded D.A.N.C.E. (Dance As a Necessary Component of Education), an outreach program that brings dance to New Jersey schools.

Ms. Kaplowitz has choreographed eight ballets for PYB, including The Snow Queen, The Secret Garden, The Nutcracker, Cinderella, and The Sleeping Beauty and has choreographed for several New Jersey Symphony Orchestra family and school outreach concerts and for La Boheme Opera company.

Ms. Kaplowitz serves on the American Ballet Theatre® National Training Curriculum Board of Examiners and is an ABT® Affiliate Instructor, who has successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Primary through Level 7/Partnering and has successfully presented students for examinations. She has lectured ABT®/NYU Master candidates on starting a dance studio.

She has written on matters of dance for The Huffington Post and  She also started the dance program at The College of New Jersey where she was an adjunct professor of dance.

Ms. Kaplowitz is grateful for her teachers and mentors in the past who gave her the exceptional tools necessary to have had a wonderful performance career and to her more recent mentors at ABT®NTC for the opportunity to continue growing as a teacher and train others authentically. More than anything, she is grateful to her beautiful family and PDT’s wonderful students, families, and staff for continuing to make her life full of joy and dance.