Magazine article Pointe

In the Wings: Whitney Jensen

Magazine article Pointe

In the Wings: Whitney Jensen

Article excerpt

At Valentina Kozlova's Dance Conservatory of New York

Whitney Jensen had her eye on the prize last July at the Varna International Ballet Competition. A student at Valentina Kozlova's Dance Conservatory of New York, she became the first female and first American in the competition's history to win the junior division's Special Distinction Grand Prix award. She also took home the Ballet International Award, given for highest achievement in ballet classics. "I wasn't expecting to win at all," says Jensen. "I was just hoping to make it to the second or third roundl"

Natural talent runs in the family- her two older sisters are both Broadway dancers. But Jensen's determination has also guided her growth. Born in a Salt Lake City suburb, she began dancing at her mother's studio at 6, training in ballet jazz, tap and hip hop. At 8, she began focusing strictly on ballet with Jacqueline Colledge; at 1 1, she switched to Ballet West Academy. That same year she competed in Youth America Grand Prix, where she saw a Kozlova student perform.

"Valentina 's training had a certain finesse I'd never seen before," explains Jensen. "I knew it could get me somewhere." Jensen spent that summer studying with Kozlova, and the following school year she flew to New York every other weekend before moving to the city at age 13. "I love Valentina's focus on artistry every day in class," Jensen says.

A typical day for Jensen begins when her alarm goes off at 5:30 am. She heads out to a 6:30 scripture class at her church at Lincoln Center, then does school work online for three or four hours before a private lesson with Kozlova at 1 2:30. …

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