From the moment she began training with NJDTE at age 9, it was clear that alumna Jenny Hegarty (2004) was destined to be a dancer. Even in technique class, she stood out for the special spark and presence she brought to each and every exercise. A captivating performer with a vibrant sense of musicality and keen attention to detail, Jenny went on to dance numerous soloist roles with the Ensemble, including Clara and Dew Drop in "The Nutcracker."
NJDTE is the best foundation anyone could ask for as an aspiring professional dancer. I was given the opportunity to work with amazing artists and perform in theaters a professional would dream of.
"Being a rehearsal director has always been a role I looked forward to having in the future, but I had no idea the opportunity would present itself now. It has been and continues to be both amazing and challenging at the same time. My approach to the rehearsal process has always been in-depth and involved, as I like to understand the ins and outs of and details of a work. Now, this interest has grown even further. I’m allowed to stretch a different side of my brain when asked for my input or assistance in decision-making." It's a learning process, to be sure, but one in which Jenny is finding new inspiration:
Still dancing full-time and having a leadership role in a small company is challenging, but it has taught me a lot about my peers and about myself. I love being a liaison between my fellow dancers and the choreographer/directors, and am excited to continue growing in this new part of my career.
Jenny performed the duet “A Time to Embrace” and “Beethoven Sextet.” It was one of the highlights of her career, and an experience she will not soon forget.
Performing these pieces were some of my favorite moments I've ever had on stage. There is a great responsibility that comes with performing such iconic work, and we all wanted to do it justice. The choreography and connections made on stage created amazing moments.
The experience reminded me that we are all always students and always learning, even as professionals. There are amazing things happening as dance moves into the future, but there’s definitely something to be said about what comes from the past.
Some of Jenny's favorite pieces she learned during the Intensives were “Steps in the Street” by Martha Graham, staged by Miki Orihara; “Vol du Nuit” by Eduardo Vilaro, who is now Artistic Director of Ballet Hispanico; and “Duel” by Bradley Shelver, Artistic Director of STEPS Repertory Ensemble. When she returned as an alumna to Summer Intensive Program Manager, she also had the opportunity to learn Twyla Tharp's “TORELLI," staged by Jason McDole, who is currently on faculty at Point Park University.
The connections made at the NJDTE Summer Intensive and throughout the year are undeniable. And on top of that, I left NJDTE with friends that have become family.
Always make a good, professional impression. So many people from my childhood came back into my life as instructors, choreographers, and potential people that could hire me. You have all the best resources at your fingertips right now, so soak in all the information you can and always put your best foot forward. You have the technical training, so let it go and dance. Know that your training will be there for you when you need it. And lastly, enjoy these last months you have together. Life moves fast, but the friendships you make at NJDTE will definitely be with you forever.