Preparing for Rodeo. Rebecca Massey, Jennifer Alexander, myself reflected in the mirror and Irene D’Amestoy. American Ballet Theatre on tour, 1996
Beautiful. Elegant. Loyal. Kind. Generous. Proper. Precise. Rare. Intelligent. Artistic. Musical. Beguiling. Modest. Practical. Romantic. Adventurous.
These are the words that come to mind first when thinking of my friend Jenny, a beautiful artist who the dance world lost too soon. The first thing you might have noticed about Jenny is that she had an air about her that made you stand up a little straighter while wondering if you had applied your makeup as perfectly as she had. Presentation and appearance were of the utmost importance to her, and it showed. She often told me she felt she was born in the wrong era, and she would never leave the house each day unless she was 100% put together.
Jenny’s perfectly calculated outer appearance complimented her beautiful soul. She was one of my most loyal friends as she helped me through life as a member of American Ballet Theatre, selflessly advising and coaching me on my roles at ABT as well as everything from which pair of shoes to buy to giving me confidence to follow through with my dream to have a child.
Jenny’s dancing, artistry and amazing ability to portray any character were gifts that she did not take for granted. Jenny worked harder than most dancers I have known and was incredibly practical about her abilities. She knew what she was best at and really capitalized on her unique qualities. This honesty with herself is a trait that I am in awe of and still think of today.
Jenny brought originality and precision to every role she danced. She understood the style of each genre and choreographer, and as she worked to find nuance in each role, she challenged everyone in the cast to rise to her level of excellence. Jenny’s finesse didn’t stop with her own dancing—she had a sharp eye and particular ability to help her peers find just the right thing to make a step or passage successful and have more impact. The Artistic Staff of American Ballet Theatre had noticed this and had already begun talks of how to utilize her talents.
Many of us have personally grieved the loss of Jenny. Those of us who knew her were blessed to have had her friendship and have witnessed her brilliant artistry. I still grieve for my personal loss but also for the dance world, which lost a person who would have made profound contributions for the future.
Colorado Ballet Academy