Declared by the New York Times as “America’s Quintessential American Ballerina” Susan Jaffe danced as a principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre for 20 years, a career which began in 1980. Prominent in the international dance scene as well, her European engagements included performances with The Royal Ballet, The Kirov Ballet, The Stuttgart Ballet, The Munich State Opera Ballet, La Scala Ballet in Milan, The Vienna State Opera Ballet, The Royal Danish Ballet, The Royal Swedish Ballet, and The English National Ballet. Ms. Jaffe’s versatility as a dancer allowed her to tackle a large range of choreographic works which included her acclaimed interpretations of the classics like Swan Lake, as well as the dramatic works of John Cranko, Antony Tudor, Agnes de Mille and Kenneth MacMillian. She also worked with and danced the works of many prominent choreographers such as Jiri Kylian, Twyla Tharp, George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Lar Lubovitch, Nacho Duato, Roland Petit, David Parsons, Mark Morris, Merce Cunningham, Ronald Hynd, Frederick Ashton, Ulysses Dove and Lynne Taylor Corbett.
After retiring from the stage in 2002, Ms. Jaffe co-founded Princeton Dance and Theater Studio with Risa Kaplowitz. In 2010 she became a Director of Repertoire at ABT. Two years later, she was appointed Dean of Dance at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) in Winston-Salem, NC, a position she held for eight years. During her tenure at UNCSA, Jaffe and her faculty implemented a syllabus based on the ABT National Training Curriculum and established the Choreographic Institute of UNCSA. Additionally, she raised $3.5 million in endowed scholarships and other scholarships.
In 2020, Ms. Jaffe was appointed the Artistic Director of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. She helped to lead the company through the pandemic with digital programs, outdoor performances, and performances in museums. As audiences began returning to theaters, Ms. Jaffe curated programs that included classic ballets and diverse, innovative voices of today.
Ms. Jaffe was appointed Artistic Director of American Ballet Theatre in December 2022.