James Sewell Ballet

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The James Sewell Ballet is a Minneapolis, Minnesota-based ballet company of eight dancers founded in 1990 by James Sewell and Sally Rousse.


James Sewell Ballet (JSB) was founded in 1990 by James Sewell and Sally Rousse in New York City. In 1992, Sewell and Rousse moved the company to Minneapolis, Minnesota, Sewell's hometown, where it has since resided for nearly two decades.


James Sewell Sewell is the Artistic Director and co-founder of James Sewell Ballet. After moving to New York, Sewell trained at the School of American Ballet, where he performed with ABT II. Sewell was a lead dancer with Feld Ballets/NY for six years, and has performed as a guest artist with New York City Ballet and Denishawn. While in New York, Sewell joined forces with co-founder Sally Rousse to create James Sewell Ballet. Sewell has since choreographed over 70 ballets for James Sewell Ballet and other companies world-wide.

Sally Rousse Rousse began dancing in Barre, Vermont. She trained at the School of American Ballet and with David Howard before performing as a leading dancer with Ballet Chicago, the Royal Ballet of Flanders, and James Sewell Ballet. In 2001, Rousse was awarded a McKnight Artist Fellowship for Dancers. She was also named a City Pages "Artist of the Year" in 2009 for her work in the Minneapolis dance community. In addition to her work with James Sewell Ballet, Rousse also works as an independent choreographer in the Minneapolis area.

Current members[edit]

  • James Sewell
  • Sally Rousse
  • Nic Lincoln
  • Cory Goei
  • Eve Schulte
  • Leah Gallas
  • Chris Hannon
  • Nicky Coelho

Past members[edit]

  • Penelope Freeh
  • Peggy Siepp-Roy
  • Justin Leaf
  • Mifa Ko
  • Jesse Hammel
  • Benjamin Johnson
  • Christian Burns
  • Matthew Keefe
  • Brittany Fridenstine
  • Sara Hoenes
  • John DeSerio
  • Emily Tyra

Community Outreach[edit]

Over the past few years, JSB has undertaken a series of outreach initiatives to integrate audiences into its programmatic events.

SmArts Program[edit]

The SmArts – School Performance Curriculum program, developed with educational consultant Mitchell Korn, is James Sewell Ballet's community dance education program for elementary and middle school students. Serving 7,000-8,000 students annually, the SmArts program concentrates on the four life lessons of Communication, Coordination, Cooperation, and Discipline through an interactive dance demonstration and lecture program.

First Chance Dance[edit]

JSB's First Chance Dance Program offers reduced-price mainstage performances to families with young children. These programs consist of an informal, 60-minute Saturday morning showing that provides young audiences an introduction to the dance community.

In addition to these programs, James Sewell Ballet also emphasizes mentorship activities with local dance students as part of its residency activities.


The majority of works performed by James Sewell Ballet are the choreography of artistic director James Sewell. Since 1990, James Sewell Ballet has performed over 70 of Sewell's works. Sewell and the JSB dancers work mostly in the contemporary ballet idiom, which incorporates the disciplines of classical ballet, modern, and jazz dance. In accordance with its tagline “Sometimes controversial, sometimes funny, always innovative,” Sewell's work is known for its frequent inclusion of satire and social commentary.

Ballet Works Project[edit]

In addition to Sewell's choreography, the company also performs the work of other selected choreographers as part of its annual Ballet Works Project concert. For the past sixteen years, the Ballet Works Project has been a collaboration between emerging and established choreographers and James Sewell Ballet. The goal of this project is to provide artists a liberal space for exploration and discovery in dance, with the JSB dancers as their canvas. Each year, the dancers choose the choreographers for the Ballet Works Project. Past participants have included JSB company members (other than Sewell), as well as a myriad of local and national talents. Since 2009, JSB's Winter season concerts have been devoted to performances of the Ballet Works Project.


External links[edit]