School of Ballet Arizona welcomes Anthony Jones as new School Director


JOSE CARDENAS: IN DECEMBER, BALLET ARIZONA ANNOUNCED ANTHONY JONES WAS JOINING AS THE DIRECTOR OF THE SCHOOL OF BALLET ARIZONA. HE WILL OVERSEE TRAINING AT THE SCHOOL UNDER THIS SUMMER INTENSIVE PROGRAM OPEN CLASSES FOR THE PUBLIC. JOINING ME NOW IS ANTHONY JONES THE NEW DIRECTOR FOR THE SCHOOL OF BALLET ARIZONA. AND AS YOU HEARD I EMPHASIZED NEW BECAUSE YOU HAVE ONLY BEEN HERE ABOUT A WEEK, RIGHT?

ANTHONY JONES: I THINK I’VE BEEN HERE EIGHT DAYS.

JOSE CARDENAS: GIVE US A THUMBNAIL SKETCH OF YOUR PERFORMANCE BACKGROUND AND THEN I WILL TALK ABOUT THE SIMILAR POSTITIONS YOU’VRE HAD IN THE PAST.

ANTHONY JONES: I TRAINED IN NEW YORK AT THE SCHOOL OF AMERICAN BALLET, THE SCHOOL OF NEW WORK CITY BALLET. AND WENT ON TO DANCE AS A SOLOIST AT SPECIFICALLY PACIFIC NORTHWEST BALLET IN SEATTLE, WASHINGTON. I SPENT MY CAREER THERE DANCING UNDER TWO WONDERFUL PEOPLE AND THAN AFTER I RETIRED FROM DANCING. I WENT BACK TO SCHOOL AND STARTED TEACHING.

JOSE CARDENAS: AND MOST RECENTLY YOU WERE WITH THE OREGON BALLET SCHOOL?

ANTHONY JONES: I WAS A SCHOOL DIRECTOR AT OREGON VALLEY THEATER, YEAH.

JOSE CARDENAS: AS I UNDERSTAND IT, THE MOST RECENT POSITION OPENED BECAUSE YOUR PREDECESSOR WENT OFF TO LONDON?

ANTHONY JONES: HE WENT OFF TO LONDON, YES.

JOSE CARDENAS: WHICH I THINK IS ONE MARK OF THE SUCCESS THAT THE PROGRAM HAS HAD.

ANTHONY JONES: SURE. ABSOLUTELY.

JOSE CARDENAS: AND AS I UNDERSTAND, ANOTHER IS THAT THE SCHOOL HAS BEEN CERTIFIED TO ACCEPT INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS? TELL ME THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THAT. I GATHER THAT IS SOMEWHAT UNUSUAL.

ANTHONY JONES: WELL, IT IS QUITE A PROCESS TO GO THROUGH WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY TO BE ABLE TO ACCEPT INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS. THE SCHOOL CAN NOW OFFER AN M1 VISA TO STUDENTS. IT IS QUITE AN EXTENSIVE PROCESS THAT ONE HAS TO GO THROUGH AND TAKES 6-9 MONTHS FILLING OUT VARIOUS PAPERWORK AND YOU ALSO HAVE TO SHOW YOU ARE A SCHOOL OF SOME STATURE AND YOU HAVE PROGRAMS THAT ARE FITTING OF WHAT, YOU KNOW, OF BEING AN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL AND ATTRACTING INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS.

JOSE CARDENAS: AND SPEAKING OF INTENSIVE PROCESSES, AS I UNDERSTAND IT THE PROCESS IS TO FILL THE VACANCY. WAS AN INTERNATIONALY ONE? THEY WERE TAKING APPLICATIONS FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD.

ANTHONY JONES: THAT IS MY UNDERSTANDING THEY DID AN INTERNATIONAL SEARCH.

JOSE CARDENAS: IT IS CLEAR FROM YOUR BACKGROUND WHY YOU WOULD BE A STRONG CANDIDATE FOR THE POSITION BUT WHAT ABOUT THIS POSITION ATTRACTED YOU TO MAKE YOU DECIDE TO LEAVE OREGON?

ANTHONY JONES: A FEW THINGS. ONE THE DIRECTOR OF BALLET ARIZONA EVE ANDERESON IS SOMEONE WHO I’VE ADMIRED MY WHOLE LIFE. WHEN I WAS A STUDENT OF SCHOOL OF AMERICAN BALLET EVE ANDERSON WAS PRINCIPLE DANCER IN THE COMPANY AT NEW YORK CITY BALLET. I SAW HIM IN CLASS ALL THE TIME. HE WOULD COME AND TAKE CLASS WITH THE BOYS AT THE SCHOOL. I SAW HIM ON STAGE FREQUENTLY AND HE WAS JUST A FANTASTIC DANCER. I WAS VERY FORTUNATE WHEN I WAS DANCING IN SEATTLE I WAS IN ONE OF EVE’S FIRST BALLETS THAT HE DID THERE FOR A BALLET VCALLED BRANDENBURG. WHEN HE STOPPED DANCING HE CAME OUT AND DID A BALLET. I KNEW EVE FROM THAT EXPERIENCE AND HE’D JUST SOMEONE WHO HAS BEEN A ROLE MODEL AND SOMEONE I WHO I HAVE LOOKED UP TO MY WHOLE LIFE. THE COMPANY HAS ALSO JUST HAS AN INCREDIBLE REPUTATION. IT HAS A REAL COMMITMENT TO CLASSICAL BALLET ALTHOUGH THEY DO ALL SORTS OF DANCE. THE COMPANY JUST HAS A GREAT COMMITMENT TO CLASSICAL BALLET WHICH IS SOMETHING I DO AS WELL. AND I HAVE TO SAY ON A PERSONAL LEVEL, I WAS A LITTLE TIRED OF THE RAIN.

JOSE CARDENAS: YOU HAPPEN TO BE HERE WHEN WE HAVE OUR TWO DAYS OF RAIN.

ANTHONY JONES: EVERYONE TELLS ME I BROUGHT THE GRAY AND RAIN AND EVERYONE ALSO TELLS ME THE SUN WILL COME OUT.

JOSE CARDENAS: IT WILL. FOR 360 DAYS JUST SO YOU KNOW. BALLET ARIZONA ITSELF HAS A WONDERFUL REPUTATION. HOW IS THE SCHOOL REGARDED?

ANTHONY JONES: I THINK THE SCHOOL IS REGARDED MUCH LIKE THE COMPANY. THE SCHOOL HAS A VERY GOOD REPUTATION. ON A NATIONAL SCALE. THE SCHOOL STANDS FOR QUALITY TRAINING QUALITY EDUCATION AND THAT WAS ANOTHER THING THAT ATTRACTED ME TO THE POSITION. JUST THE SCOPE AND REPUTATION OF THE SCHOOL.

JOSE CARDENAS: HOW BIG IS THE SCHOOL?

ANTHONY JONES: THE SCHOOL HAS ABOUT 270 FULL-TIME STUDENTS BUT BETWEEN THE STUDENTS WE BRING IN DURING THE SUMMER INTENSIVE AND THE ADULT DROP-IN STUDENTS I THINK IT IS WE SERVE SOMEWHERE ABOUT 700 STUDENTS A YEAR.

JOSE CARDENAS: WE TALKED ABOUT THE DUTIES YOU WILL HAVE AND THAT INCLUDES THE SUMMER INTENSIVE THATYOU JUST REFFERED TOO. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? SOUNDS RATHER RIGOROUS?

ANTHONY JONES: THE SUMMER INTENSIVE IS A FULL-DAY PROGRAM WHERE NOT ONLY STUDENTS FROM OUR SCHOOL BUT STUDENTS FROM AROUND THE COUNTRY AND AROUND THE COUNTRY AND AROUND THE WORLD COME TO PHOENIX TO STUDY WITH US. IT IS SIX-WEEKS LONG. MYSELF AND SOME MEMBERS OF MY FACULTY ARE ON AN EXTENSIVE SUMMER AUDITION TOUR WHERE WE GO TO CITIES ALL AROUND THE COUNTRY. I WILL BE IN NEW YORK CITY THIS WEEKEND AND LOS ANGELES. WE HAVE BEEN TO CHICAGO AND BOSTON, MIAMI. WHAT WE DO IS WE GO AUDITION STUDENTS WHO ARE INTERESTED IN COMING TO OUR SCHOOL FOR THE SUMMER AND THEY COME AND TRAIN WITH US FOR 6-WEEKS. STAY IN DORMATORIES HERE, WE HAVE A FULL DAY PROGRAM FOR THEM. THEY TAKE CLASSES NOT JUST IN CLASSICAL BALLET, BUT IN JAZZ AND MODERN AND FITNESS CLASSES AND PILATES CLASSES. REALLY A FULL TRAINING SCHEDULE SOME OF THE STUDENTS WILL EVENTUALLY STAY ON WITH OUR PROGRAM. A LOT OF THE STUDENTS THAT COME TO THE SUMMER PROGRAM ARE LOOKING TO JOIN OUR STUDIO COMPANY. WHICH IS OUR JUNIOR COMPANY SO THAT SUMMER PROGRAM IS LIKE AN EXTENDED AUDITION FOR JUNIOR COMPANY AS WELL.

JOSE CARDENAS: TYPICAL AGE OF THE STUDENTS THAT COME FOR THAT PROGRAM?

ANTHONY JONES: BETWEEN 11 AND 22.

JOSE CARDENAS: MUST BE AN ATTRACTION TO GET PEOPLE TO COME HERE SIX WEEKS IN THE SUMMER?

ANTHONY JONES: I THINK SO. I THINK IT IS A WONDERFUL PROGRAM. I THINK PEOPLE BECAUSE OF THE REPUTATION OF THE SCHOOL IT IS AN ATTRACTIVE PROGRAM. I THINK BECAUSE OF THE COURSE OFFERINGS WE HAVE AND JUST TO COME TO PHOENIX FOR SIX WEEKS IN THE SUMMER.

JOSE CARDENAS: THE OPEN CLASSES FOR THE PUBLIC AND HOW IS THAT ADMINISTERED?

ANTHONY JONES: WE HAVE CLASSES FOR THE GENERAL PUBLIC. THEY ARE WHAT WE CALL OPEN DROP-IN CLASSES WHICH MEANS YOU CAN COME ONCE, YOU CAN COME EVERY DAY IF YOU WISH. WE HAVE CLASSES EVERY MORNING AT ALL LEVELS OF BALLET BEGINNING INTERMEDIATE AND ADVANCED. WE HAVE OTHER CLASSES FOR ADULTS AS WELL INCLUDING BELLY DANCING. WE EVEN HAVE A POINT CLASS FOR ADULT BEGINNERS. IT IS QUITE AN EXTENSIVE PROGRAM FOR THE ADULT PROGRAM AS WELL.

JOSE CARDENAS: SO THOSE PEOPLE WHO HAVE HAD BALLET IN THEIR BACKGROUND CAN COME IN AND WORKOUT?

ANTHONY JONES: OR THOSE WHO ARE BEGINNING AS WELL. WE HAVE CLASSES FOR ALL LEVELS. IT’S A GREAT OPPORTUNITY FOR PEOPLE WHO EXPERIENCE DANCE AS A YOUNG CHILD OR IN THEIR YOUTH AND HAVEN’T DANCED FOR A LONG TIME OR SOMEONE WHO HAS NEVER DANCED WHO JUST WANTS TO COME OUT AND TRY IT OUT FOR THE FIRST TIME. WE HAVE CLASSES FOR EVERYONE SO IT’S AGREAT EXPERIENCE.

JOSE CARDENAS: WELL WELCOME TO ARIZONA. THANKS FOR BEING HERE. THANK YOU FOR JOINING US ON HORIZONTE AND THANK YOU FOR JOINING US FOR HORIZONTE AND ARIZONA PBS. I AM JOSÉ CÁRDENAS. HAVE A GOOD EVENING.

VIDEO: "HORIZONTE" IS MADE POSSIBLE BOY CONTRIBUTIONS FROM THE FRIENDS OF ARIZONA PBS, MEMBERS OF YOUR PBS STATION. THANK YOU.

Replacing previous school director of six year Carlos Valcárcel, Anthony Jones will join the School of Ballet Arizona in his place.

Before directing in Arizona, Jones was the school director in the Oregon Ballet Theatre. He trained in New York at the American School of Ballet and spent the majority of his career dancing in Seattle. When he felt ready to stop dancing, he picked up teaching.

Valcárcel left Arizona to join the English National Ballet School in London in October. Jones took over as school director in January. Jones will see the school take on some of its first international students since the school has been certified to offer visas to students. He will be working alongside Artistic Director Ib Andersen which was one of the deciding factors in Jones moving to the desert.

“Ib Andersen is someone I’ve admired my whole life,” Jones says. “When I was at school, he was a principal dancer in the company. He was just a fantastic dancer. I was in one of Ib’s first ballets in Seattle. He’s someone who’s been a role model. The company also has an incredible reputation and a great commitment to classical ballet.”

The school hosts about 270 full-time students. Incorporating the summer intensive, the school will serve around 700 students a year. There are open classes for the general public, available to dancers of all levels. They are drop-in classes that you can attend every morning or once a year.

The summer intensive is designed for dancers ages 11 to 22. This program attracts students from all around the country, and sometimes the world, to Phoenix to study with this school. It’s a six week long course that will include classes in jazz, modern, fitness and pilates alongside ballet. Many of the students who are interested in the summer program have hopes to join the school’s junior company, Jones says.

“Myself and some members of my faculty are on an extensive summer tour,” Jones says. “We’ll go to cities all over the country to audition students who are interested in the program.”

For more information on the School of Ballet Arizona, go to balletaz.org/school.

Sponsor message:

In this segment:

Anthony Jones: School Director, School of Ballet Arizona

Sponsor message:

Sign up to receive the Arizona PBS Insider

Get up-to-the-minute information about your favorite programs and learn more about Arizona PBS news and events.

'Great Performances' celebrates Chicago's diverse musical heritage with 'Chicago Voices'

'Wonders of Mexico' takes you into the country's tropical rainforests

Travel south along Mexico’s mountain spine in another Summer of Adventure show, “Wonders of Mexico.”

"Sherlock" returns for an encore of Season 4

Follow the world's most beloved detective in Sherlock as season 4 returns for an encore performance.