Steps on Broadway’s youth training program has a new leader—New York dance community mainstay Jennifer Kreichman. In many ways, it seems her lifetime of experience prepared her for this very moment.
Kreichman spent her youth commuting between Long Island and New York City training in schools like the American Ballet Theatre school, The School of American Ballet, Harkness House for Ballet Arts, and Ballet Hispánico. She attended Vanderbilt University before dancing for the Met Opera Ballet, Israel Ballet and, later, New York Dance Theater. While there, she was offered her first-ever teaching job at the Ohman School of Ballet on Long Island. “It was that experience that showed me I was more comfortable in the studio with the process of becoming a dancer than I was as a performer,” Kreichman says.
In 2006 Kreichman met Frank Augustyn, chair of what was then the Adelphi University dance program. He invited her onto his team, and together the two took what Kreichman calls a neglected program and turned it into a fully accredited department of dance with a BFA degree. She spent the next 17 years at the school, both in an administrative role and a teaching role. It was this specific experience that made her such an ideal candidate for her current position at Steps. In May 2023, Steps was in the market for a new director for their Youth Program, and famed Steps ballet teacher Nancy Bielski told Kreichman she thought she was the right person for the job. So she applied, and it didn’t take long before she was offered the role by Joe Lanteri. In an effort to rebrand, she and her team have since changed the title from Youth Program to the Steps on Broadway Academy. Under the umbrella of SoBA are three separate training tracks: the Pre-Professional Division, for serious students ages 10 through 18 who are willing to make a heavy commitment to their dance training; the Youth Division, for dancers 7 through 18 who want the same quality training but with less of a commitment; and First Steps, for dancers ages 2 through 6 who want an introduction to the world of dance.
Kreichman has big goals for the school. “When I think of Steps on Broadway, I think of its impressive international reputation,” she says. “The Steps on Broadway Academy should meet that same level of notoriety. Our goal is to prepare dancers for success as industry professionals and in elite collegiate programs. We are building a school that will nurture dancers with a strong technical foundation, a diverse breadth of dance experience, and a clear artistic voice.” With a few months of experience under her belt, she is feeling hopeful for the future. “It’s been really exciting, and I’ve had a blast,” she says. “I feel so trusted here as everyone has supported me and let me fly. I’m excited for what’s ahead.”
Here, Kreichman shares her go-to teaching warm-up, her favorite teaching attire, and the teaching props she finds most helpful.
Go-to teaching warm-up: “I usually take a ballet class from one of the wonderful teachers at Steps, which is easier than ever now that I teach and take class in the same building.”
Favorite teaching attire: “I usually wear my Lululemon studio pants, a leotard, and the Uniqlo HeatTech long-sleeve shirt. If I wear a skirt, I like to wear DanSaias. For shoes, Bloch split-sole dance sneakers are comfortable for teaching.”
Helpful teaching props: “I find TheraBands very useful for teaching a sense of opposition and resistance. I’m also a Pilates instructor, so I apply my Pilates knowledge to the teaching of alignment, placement, core strength, and stability.”
Daily energy booster: “I have a box of KIND Bars at all times—I especially love the chocolate cherry flavor.”
Happy hobbies: “My grandma taught me how to knit as a child, and I’m quite prolific at it! I also love to travel, hike, garden, and be outdoors.”
Her ideal day off: “My ideal day off would include taking class, walking in the park, knitting, cooking, and spending time with my husband, three kids, dog, and cat.”
Items she never leaves home without: “My giant water bottle, snacks, a knitting project, my phone, and my calendar.”
Her guilty pleasure: “Cream puffs from a place on Amsterdam Avenue called Barachou. They are amazing!”
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to note that Kreichman danced (not taught) for the Met Opera Ballet.