Ballet + Jazz
Jeff was born in Spokane, Washington, and credits his mothers love of music and the fact that she danced while she was pregnant with him for his love of dance. As a kid he says he never sat still – he always danced. He remembers when he was a kid that there was always music on in their house whether it was the radio or his mom playing music and the whole family would dance. Jeff says he was always the first one who danced at the school dances. He would just go at it on the dance floor and people would form a circle around him and watch. He thought this was normal.
Then when he won a statewide talent competition by dancing, a teacher asked him to come to her studio to develop his talent and he went. He says as soon as he took that first class, he knew it was his destiny. From that day on all, he wanted to do was move out of his hometown and dance every style of dance there was from Ballet and Broadway to film and television. When he started dancing at age 14, he was only taking tap and jazz but later he began ballet which by age 16 was his focus. Jeff credits two of his teachers, Terry Grizzell, and Peggy Goodner Tan, for his successful career. He says they taught him 10 years of ballet technique in the three years he studied with them and danced in their company, The Spokane Ballet. And he also gives them credit for being so patient with him even though, in his words, he was “full of potential and not much else.”
After completing his training, Jeff made a successful transition into the world of professional dancing and choreographing. He created the role of Slave Master in the original Los Angeles cast of “The Phantom of the Opera” starring Michael Crawford, had the honor of doing pre-production work and working with the legendary choreographer Michael Kidd on the Academy Awards, worked with famed “Chicago” film choreographer and director Rob Marshall on Cinderella with Brandy and Whitney Houston, was in the original workshop for Jerome Robbins Broadway, toured the US with the Joffrey Ballet Concert Group for three years and was a soloist with the Chamber Ballet USA in New York City directed by Finis Jhung. Jeff also partnered with Paula Abdul in her “Blowing Kisses in the Wind” video, danced with Gloria Estefan on the American Music Awards, appeared on The Tracy Ullman Show three times, in the films “Leonard Part 6“with Bill Cosby, “Back to the Future II,” and “I’ll Do Anything” choreographed by Twyla Tharp.
His television work includes being featured on Dancin’ to the Hits and Coach, television specials The 100th Anniversary Salute for the Statue of Liberty and the All-Star Salute Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King at the Kennedy Center as well as appearing as Eddie the chocolate bear on the Teddy Grahams Cereal commercials. Jeff was an assistant choreographer for the original London production of “Saturday Night Fever” and the Houston Opera’s production of “Pagliacci“. His credits as a choreographer include the productions of “Golden Boy,” “The Rink” and “Shock” in Tokyo, Japan, Bette Midler’s 2000 concert in New York City, Fashion Rocks Broadway, The Elan Awards honoring Susan Stroman, multiple productions of Broadway Bares, Greasefor the esteemed Paper Mill Playhouse, and the daytime dramas Guiding Light and All My Children. The first episode he choreographed for All My Children had six dream sequences involving dance and won the Daytime Emmy Award for Best Direction.
Jeff is most proud of the show he conceived, choreographed and directed, A Few Good Men Dancing, which enjoyed three sold-out shows at the New Victory Theater on Broadway, two sold-out tours of the US and a sold-out tour of the Netherlands. He has won numerous choreographic awards and received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Dancers Responding to AIDS for the enormous contributions his shows and choreographic ventures have made to their organization. In addition to his work in dance, Jeff also bred and raised an American Quarter Horse, Brooklyn Bar Beggar, which finished 8th Placed in Junior Pole Bending at the 2005 American Quarter Horse Associations World Championship Show and won $10,000 in Barrel Racing. Jeff is an incredibly gifted dancer, choreographer, and educator and we are very excited that he has joined The Dallas Conservatory.