Jake Casey – Judges’ Choice January 2014

I have been dancing for 14 years. I started out doing gymnastics, and eventually became a nationally competitive gymnast with USA Gymnastics. However, I realized that I had a greater passion for dance, so I decided to pursue it as a career.  My first studio was actually Claire's moms' studio (my partner in the video.) So, she was my teacher, as well as Claire my classmate, until I left to do high school at the Rock School. 

I trained on scholarship at the Rock School for three years. Under the direction of Bo & Stephanie Spassoff I was afforded many great opportunities to continue my goal of becoming a professional dancer.  The environment, the faculty, and my fellow students at the Rock is what makes the school such a wonderful experience.  

While at the Rock, I participated in Youth American Grand Prix for two years.  I was fortunate enough to place in the Top 12, and compete in the New York Finals. The training and personalized attention that the Rock offers during the preparation for this competition is the greatest part of the competition experience.  Simply, getting to work on something for months and months of hard work, paying attention to every detail, making it the best you can is invaluable. Last year, Claire and I (as well as the Rock Dance Project) competed on America's Got Talent.  We made it to the Vegas Finals, and it was a great overall experience.  

I have attended summer programs at: Boston Ballet, Nutmeg, The Rock School, and The Chautauqua Institution.  At all of these programs I had a great experience, but Chautauqua was by far the most growth I have ever had at a summer intensive.  The combination of performing with the company, wonderful faculty, and a mix of different styles was the perfect balance for me.  It was such a good learning experience that I went back for a second summer as an Apprentice.    

I have studied in Classical Ballet mostly.  My favorite style is the Balanchine technique.  However, I have also trained in Contemporary, Jazz, Modern, Tap, and Musical Theatre.   

I would like to acknowledge Marialelena Ruiz for setting “Spring Waters” on us.  Her teaching and guidance is one of the main reasons why I am now able to dance professionally.  

Currently, I am in my first season in the corps de ballet at Ballet Idaho, under the direction of Peter Anastos.  During my first season, I have been lucky enough to dance several soloist roles for the company.  I hope to continue my dream of being a professional dancer, while still improving my technique and artistry daily.