On the Side: D. Gary W. Jeter II

Clean classical line and a crisp allegro attack make Gary Jeter stand out as a dancer with Complexions Contemporary Ballet. But believe it or not, he didn’t begin studying ballet until he was a teenager, when he enrolled at Pebble Brook High School for the Performing Arts in Atlanta.

 

“I started out doing hip hop as a youngster with my friends, and then ballet came later,” Jeter says. His dance idol as a teen was Tight Eyez, one of the founders of krump, an aggressive, high-energy style of hip hop. “I have endless videos of Tight Eyez!” Jeter says. “He’s showing the extreme limits of what we can do with our bodies, and yet there’s a clarity and precision to all of his movement.” The same
quality, Jeter adds, characterizes the dancing of Complexions co-founder and ballet superstar Desmond Richardson.

 

Jeter, who takes hip hop classes whenever time permits, believes that his background in urban dance has helped him succeed in the world of contemporary ballet. “Ballet companies like Complexions explore movement in all its different forms,” he says. “With hip hop we can surprise current ballet fans and reach out to new audiences.” He recommends hip hop classes to ballet students. “You’ll discover a different side of your body. Ballet is all softness and smoothness, but hip hop is angles and sharpness, and those qualities are just as important for today’s classical dancer.”

Latest Posts


Left to right: Dance Theatre of Harlem's Daphne Lee, Amanda Smith, Lindsey Donnell and Alexandra Hutchinson in a scene from Dancing Through Harlem. Derek Brockington, Courtesy Dance Theatre of Harlem

Dancers Share Their Key Takeaways After a Year of Dancing on Film

Creating dances specifically for film has become one of the most effective ways that ballet companies have connected with audiences and kept dancers employed during the pandemic. Around the world, dance organizations are finding opportunities through digital seasons, whether conceiving cinematic, site-specific pieces or filming works within a traditional theater. And while there is a consistent sentiment that nothing will ever substitute the thrill of a live show, dancers are embracing this new way of performing.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Alexandra McMaster

Start Your Dance Day With This Delicious Berry Breakfast Crisp Recipe

When it comes to breakfast, I want it to be easy and convenient but still taste delicious. My Berry Breakfast Crisp is just that. You can bake the crisp on the weekend as meal prep, then enjoy it throughout the week cold or warmed in the microwave. It freezes well, too!

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Liam Scarlett with Marianela Nuñez and Ryoichi Hirano during a rehearsal of his Swan Lake at The Royal Ballet. Andrej Uspenski, Courtesy ROH

Choreographer Liam Scarlett Has Died

Over the weekend, news broke that 35-year-old choreographer Liam Scarlett, a former artist in residence at The Royal Ballet, died suddenly at his home in England. "It is with great sadness that we announce the tragic, untimely death of our beloved Liam," Scarlett's family said in a brief statement. "At this difficult time for all of our family, we would ask that you respect our privacy to enable us to grieve our loss."

The cause of death was not disclosed.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks