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Jerry Opdenaker


Jerry Opdenaker

Adjunct Professor

Dance is the understanding of the technical prowess needed though an artistic sensibility, coupled with a resounding passion for constant movement while possessing a passionate hunger feeding the insatiable heart. Dance is a blending these key components forming a cohesive synergy between the performer and audience. My approach stems my vast background in the professional realm of classical and contemporary ballet, blended with the drama of the theatre creating a dance theatre sensibility.”

Jerry Opdenaker comes from Philadelphia Pa. a graduate from the University of the Arts and a recent graduate of Jacksonville University with a Masters Degree in Choreography. During his 25-year dancing career, he has worked as a principal company member for ballet companies such as Pennsylvania Ballet, Kansas City Ballet and Ballet Florida. The years spent in these companies, he worked with some of the world’s greatest choreographers working in the field of dance. At Ballet Florida, he was instrumental in the creative development of the educational components of STEP Ahead, Ballet Florida’s choreographic workshop. Serving as its Director, he propelled the program into the eyes of the National Endowment for the Arts, which awarded the Access to Artistic Excellence Grant twice and was declared a “Jewel of the Palm Beaches” in 2004 because of his dedication to the program. That workshop afforded him the opportunity to express and discover his true passion of choreography. His awarding winning “Coeur de Basque” began its life there. Since then he had been commissioned for new works such as, “Idyllic Realm” and “Bliss” for Ballet Florida and “From a Distant Wind” and “Bailame” for Ballet Gamonet. Jerry had the incredible privilege to participate in the Ballet Builders 2003, New York City Ballet’s 2005 Choreographic Institute and the National Choreographic Initiative 2007, in California. He has also choreographed for the Milwaukee Ballet, Ballet Arkansas, Island Moving Company in Newport Rhode Island, Ballet Conceirto in Puerto Rico, McKnight Foundation in Minnesota, Seanik Arts in Miami, Infinite Movement Ever Evolving in California, Art Basel in Miami and the Florida Grand Opera’s production of Lakme. He was a feature choreographer in the documentary entitled Solo 1X2, which followed the process and artists within the McK night Foundation’s Fellowship. He is very proud to have served as the Discipline Coordinator of Dance for the National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts, YoungArts program for 5 years. Currently, he serves as the Ballet Master for the Dance Theater of Florida and is a master teacher at the Florida School for Dance Education in Palm Beach County as well as a master teacher for Florida Southern College and Florida Dance Theatre in Lakeland Florida. He has held residencies at Jacksonville University, Palm Beach Atlantic University, University of Utah, Douglas Anderson School of the Arts and was teaching for the prestigious USA International Ballet Competition in Jackson Mississippi. Jerry has taken on a role as a dance critic for the Palm Beach Daily News. He has also developed his own company in Palm Beach County called O DANCE, which fosters the exploration and discovery of new works of dance, theatre and art from inception to performance.

Publications and Exhibitions

Opdenaker, Jerry (September/October 2012). Education Without Limits: The Growing Trend in Low- Residency Dance MFA Programs. Dance Magazine of Florida. Florida, U.S. (Co-Authored by Krista Bower, Annette Flores, Rachael Leonard, Reyna O’Leary, April Wexelman)
Opdenaker, Jerry (August, 2012) O DANCE, Dance Magazine of Florida. Florida US
Opdenaker, Jerry. (August/ September 2011) Higher Education: Which Came first the Lady or the Gaga? 4 Masters Students Take on Ohad Naharin’s Ground-breaking Technique. Dance Magazine of Florida. Florida US(Co-Authored by Ella Ben-Aharon, Dara Swisher Carman, Michelle Grant-Murray)
Opdenaker, Jerry (December 15, 2013) Haitian troupe Ayiodans delivers spellbinding marriage of movement, music. Palm Beach Daily News, Palm Beach, Florida. Dance Review
Opdenaker, Jerry (February 1, 2014) Miami City Ballet illustrates music with beauty, innovations. Palm Beach Daily News, Palm Beach, Florida. Dance Review
Opdenaker, Jerry (March 29,, 2014) Dancers measure up to challenges of Don Quixote. Palm Beach Daily News, Palm Beach, Florida. Dance Review
Opdenaker, Jerry (March 26,, 2015) Tango Buenos Aires cast blaze, as story smolders. Palm Beach Daily News, Palm Beach, Florida. Dance Review