Jerome Robbins' NY Export: Opus Jazz the Film

For information on how to bring the NY Export: Opus Jazz film curriculum, commissioned by Jerome Robbins Foundation and written by Ann Biddle, to your school, please contact Christopher Pennington at

Click to download PDF: NY Export: Opus Jazz Teacher Guide Overview

When Ellen Bar and Sean Suozzi embarked  upon the ambitious project to create a film that would capture the essence of Jerome Robbins’ ballet NY Export: Opus Jazz, they conceived of it as a gift to future generations – as a loving tribute to a choreographic genius and of his masterworks, as a means to further Robbins’ legacy, and as a work of film art on its own terms.  Educational use of the film – for children and teens, and also for the general public – was part of their plan from the outset.

An arts education that neglects Robbins and his significant influence on classical ballet, jazz dance, the Broadway stage and film would be at best incomplete.  Chris Pennington and Allen Greenberg of the Jerome Robbins Foundation and Trust both saw the potential in this approach, and offered to support the creation of a film guide for dance teachers that would explore thematic and movement ideas in the piece and in the film, and suggest lesson activities and unit arcs for teachers to adapt in their own way.

Author Ann Biddle is a dance education expert and consultant who has done a splendid job of walking the reader through the sections of the film, suggesting myriad idea and essential questions to underpin instruction, and providing examples of full units of study for elementary, middle and high school.  Technique, improvisatory exploration, student composition, reconstruction/staging, research and reflective discussion are all addressed as instructional modalities.  Guidance about using the film in a variety of ways for different age groups is extremely useful as well.  All of this work is explicitly aligned with the NYC Department of Education’s Blueprint for Teaching and Learning in Dance PreK-12 – the learning standards for dance education in New York City.




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