Aaron Jackson

Teacher Coach



I have taken a great many ballet classes over the years- from many teachers and at many studios. As a younger person, I thought I might pursue ballet as a career, but the trajectory of my life took me in a different direction.  10 years ago, I wandered into Aaron Jackson’s class, and I knew instantly that this was the place for me.  Aaron arrives to each class full of enthusiasm and positive, inspiring energy.  He expects a lot of his students, and gives back even more.   Aaron teaches his classes, rather than just giving them. He imparts much more than ballet technique: he stresses the importance of the music and breath, the flow of steps, and a true appreciation of ballet as an art form.  Aaron acknowledges each student’s gifts and challenges so that the environment in his classes is always positive and supportive. I feel very fortunate to have found Aaron’s classes.”

        ―        Eleanor Young, December 2019

“Aaron is a truly gifted teacher. His consistency, clarity of vision, and willingness to work with me as I am (in life and on any given day) have transformed me as a dancer. He embraces ambition and is forthright about challenges. Aaron’s coaching has taken me farther than I ever thought possible. I am deeply grateful for it.”

        ―          Heather Hughes, January 2020


“Four and a half years ago I relocated to the Washington, DC area from Chicago, leaving behind my ballet family and all that I was familiar with. I took class here and there, but nothing really satisfied me dance-wise. After about a year, I found myself in Aaron’s class, and it just felt “right.” The level of intensity, attention to detail, and wholistic approach was exactly what I had been searching for. I now find myself in Aaron’s classes most days, in addition to working with him privately. My technique is reaching levels I had never thought possible before. Aaron is such a pleasure to explore dancing with, and is a perfect companion for my ballet journey.”

         ―  Sara Bradna, January 2020

"Aaron is a gifted artist, dancer and teacher who blends these strengths into a magical approach to ballet class that is unique and inspiring.  His technique is meticulous, but accessible to dancers with a range of abilities because Aaron possesses the rare ability to teach complex material tailored to the individual dancer.  He is an inspiration to his students and teaches us each to reach for milestones and abilities we did not know were possible.  His class is endlessly challenging but so much fun!  I feel grateful to be a part of his creative and meaningful approach to ballet."

         ―  Elisabeth LaMotte, February 2020

Aaron's classes are the foundation for my week. Not only is he an incredible ballet master, his encouragement and inspiration power me through my career and personal endeavors. I started Aaron's class with just over a year of informal training. He welcomed me into his class as an adult trainee and made me feel that I deserved to be in that space. He encouraged me to "take [my] place at the front of the class" - a lesson that has transcended ballet and guided me through career and personal challenges with grace and confidence. Aaron gives each dancer the specialized attention they need to thrive. He knows my body, its potential, and its limitations, and he pushes each of us to our personal ceilings. Aaron's dedication and professionalism are exemplary. He shows up early to welcome us into the studio and starts class exactly on time each day, he's attentive and laser focused for the entirety of our 90-minute training, he's disciplined and makes sure to fit in each class component, and I always leave feeling satisfied and challenged. I can't say enough about Aaron Jackson and the impact he's had on my life inside and outside of the studio. He is a light and I am grateful to have found him.”

         ―  Dawn Myers, December 2019

“Aaron Jackson’s teaching is a revelation. It is thanks to his singular style and commitment to his students that I have been able to develop my own personal journey with ballet. Earlier in my life, I was always too shy to set my sights on ballet. But Aaron’s class has pushed me and helped me grow. Aaron embodies incredible talent, high expectations, professionalism and an absolute love for the art of ballet. He is also extremely perceptive about his students and understands our strengths and weaknesses, He encourages us and celebrates our progress as individuals at different levels and as a group. Aaron is a very active teacher who homes in immediately on proper technique and musicality. With Aaron, I am discovering the satisfaction that comes from digging in, despite the obstacles.  His approach toward building skills is a wonderful mix of technical rigor, “tough love,” creation passion. In each and every class with Aaron, I am amazed by his fresh and eager attitude, and the sense of dedication he fosters.”

        ―        Libby Martin, December 2019

After my first class with Aaron Jackson I distinctly remember saying to myself “where have you been all my life?” Aaron is a gift. His style of teaching and the dedication he has towards his students keeps us coming back for more. He is demanding and focused on technique and the nuances of ballet. I haven’t stopped since that first class and I have seen many others who have taken his class for the first time with the same after-class expression or comment. He’s the best. The participants in his adult intermediate class at The Washington School of Ballet range from mature adults to young professionals and an occasional company member. We come together with the same shared passion and Aaron creates an environment that fulfills.”

         ―  Lauren VanderVeen, December 2019


“I’ve always loved watching ballet, but hadn’t grown up taking classes. After I’d joined the Women’s Committee of the Washington Ballet some years ago, I learned that TWB offered Adult Classes. A lapse of 20 years had occurred since I’d tried an adult class, so the year that I was to turn 60 I thought: “It’s now or never, lady”. Hesitating at the studio door of Aaron Jackson’s class, I was scared to death. Yet the view of the dancers lined up at the barre, and the sound of the lovely piano music were irresistible. Aaron said: “All are welcome - come in.” I did! Everything in the rest of your world must be left at the studio door, in order to listen, and to respond to Aaron’s disciplined, and challenging class. A spectrum of abilities and ages unite in striving to achieve their best. Aaron Jackson offers strong technique, coupled with strong support. Consequently, the “Esprit de Corps” is wonderful! And, guess what? If you follow Aaron’s instruction, you will grow stronger, and you will improve! Everyone is a work in progress, If you will find your way to Aaron Jackson’s class, you won’t regret the journey. Aaron Jackson ends his class leading us in Reverence. We leave class in gratitude.”

         ―  Leanne Boland, January 2020

Having trained in ballet since I was a child and now dancing professionally in a variety of other styles, I was on the hunt for a challenging, engaging ballet class in DC. And one snowy Thursday morning about a year ago, I luckily walked into Aaron's class on a whim. Immediately, I could tell this class would be different than any other I'd taken in years. Aaron's energy filled the room - warm, inspiring, yet demanding. From the first exercise, I was hooked, as he provided corrections, knowledge, and encouragement throughout class. And I was thrilled to find out I could take his class multiple times a week. 
Aaron gives his students both the space to find each of our path in ballet, but also the guidance and skills to grow and improve in our practice. His consistency, focus and knowledge is unparalleled and he has an innate ability to know what his students need each class. In the last year, I have not only gained strength, skill and trained at higher level than I thought possible, but my confidence and performance quality is flourishing in other styles of dance. Aaron's classes provide the technique and foundation that enables me and all his students to find artistry, creativity, and growth. Aaron truly embodies the word teacher, and I am so very fortunate to continuing training with him.”

         ―  Lori D'Orazio, January 2020

 “I had always been interested in the connection between drawing and dance, the way in which dancers/choreographers create lines in space using the body as an integral component in creating art. Retirement gave me an opportunity to explore in a more direct manner the basic vocabulary of that expression. I was extremely fortunate to find Aaron’s class. He has a gift for teaching and his classes draw a wonderful mix of students from various age groups, ranging from the relative beginner to those with professional experience. He teaching method is highly structured and there is a strong continuity from one class to the next. He constantly provides specific images to help visualize the dynamics of a particular movement.  His individualized corrections and encouragements allow for concrete improvement within the framework of one’s own abilities  As someone with a very limited knowledge of dance vocabulary, that rigor was important for me. But beyond his teaching of technique, it was his ability to instill a joy for the music itself (facilitated by the master pianists who accompany his class) that made my learning experience with Aaron so meaningful. He challenges the dancer to find the musicality in the steps and the sequences, to understand the line as it relates to the music, and to strive to mirror the music in the line, no matter how imperfect the technique and the physical limitations imposed by age. What I thought would be a brief exploration of dance’s classical vocabulary has become, through Aaron, a discovery of the music of dance as an integral part of everyday life.”

         ―  Maria Leyva, January 2020

"I moved from North Carolina and immediately found my ballet home in Aaron Jackson’s adult intermediate ballet class at the Washington Ballet. Many teachers of ballet technique struggle to create a positive and supportive environment while providing rigorous, intensive training. Aaron does not struggle with this task. He has mastered the art of this balance. His encouraging words, philosophy of ballet training, and beautiful, warm spirit are unmatched. He is truly, the most generous ballet teacher I’ve ever had. Aaron doesn’t just teach a ballet class. He teaches life lessons; finding strength in the face of adversity, finding courage under pressure, and striving everyday to reach for more. I am not only becoming a better dancer under his outstanding instruction and guidance. I am also becoming a better, stronger person, leaving each of his classes feeling empowered and ready to tackle my day."

         ―  Raina Lucas, December 2019

"Aaron Jackson is a one of a kind human being, friend, and a ballet master.  His dedication to the art of ballet and the impeccable energy he brings to his classes are unprecedented.  When I enter the studio at the Washington Ballet, where he teaches, I feel at home.  This feeling is cultivated by knowing that I will receive the gifts of his attention, never-ending energy, and thoughtful approach to movement. Aaron has a very structured and disciplined teaching style.  The structure of his movement allows for bui

lding strength, artistry, and solid ballet technique.  His barre warm-up helps me focus and develop not only proper technique, but also the ability to look inward and forget about the outside world.  This, to me, creates a sanctuary space, much like one would feel at home. Aaron is able to focus on everyone’s personal journey in the art of ballet and provide feedback and constructive advice. He teaches people of all levels and ages. He is always attentive and provides helpful corrections to everyone in class. He emphasizes technique and injury prevention.  He encourages breath, creation, freedom of movement.  Aaron never sits down.  His seemingly endless energy and the enthusiasm he exudes when teaching is contagious.  Even on days when I feel down, or tired, or I am simply having a bad ballet day, he lifts me up and makes me smile. He gets me moving physically and emotionally. I am so grateful to have that experience with him. In Aaron Jackson I found a friend, a wonderful human being, and an inspiring artist.Aaron’s classes make me feel free. I feel that freedom in movement comes from a stable technique.  Strong technique allows for a dancer to lose control whenever he or she chooses to and just be, live in the moment of movement, and create. Arron’s classes are just that – creation built on strong technique and artistry.  Freedom. 

Thank you, Aaron Jackson for sharing your art with the worldand with me! Your gift means more that you will ever know! "

        ―  Venelina Stephens, October 2018

 “I had a chance to visit Washington, DC and take Aaron's classes  again! I had a great time with him and dancers in his class.  Aaron always makes me feel free and pure. And he  encourages me, so  I can dance in a relaxed way and enjoy dancing , which is my big happiness.  Every time after I am in his classes , I love ballet more and more than before. I learned a lot from him.  I' m so happy to meet  Aaron in my ballet life.  I' m missing everything at Washington ballet. I' m looking foward to be in Aaron ' s class again. 

        ―  Chieko Suehiro, October 2015

"It was clear from my first class with Aaron  Jackson that I had happened on something remarkable.  Aaron is a gifted ballet teacher who has developed a unique curriculum that offers classical ballet training to adults of all levels.  Aaron's standards are high and his class is rigorous, yet the atmosphere in his studio is respectful, joyful, encouraging and positive.  If you are willing to put forth the effort, Aaron will meet you where you are and advance you farther than you thought possible."

        ―  Julie Uhar, January 2016

“I rediscovered my own journey the minute I stepped into Aaron Jackson’s class. What an absolutely amazing experience that made me instantly fall in love with classical ballet again and again.

His approach is far more than just a dance lesson, it is truly a life lesson. Every class is inspiring and not only because of his grace and meticulous teaching style but also because of his famous quotes that leave you thinking when you step out. His energy, enthusiasm, discipline and passion are all packaged together to enlightens you long after the class have culminated to its end.

“Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted” (Albert Einstein)… Well, Aaron has that little extra that makes him an extraordinary teacher. I am grateful that our paths have crossed and honored to know such a unique, kind and beautiful soul."

        ―  Micky Farivar March 2016

“I have studied ballet under Aaron for over 3 years at the Washington School of Ballet. I throughly enjoy it, and even at this point I still continue to improve. His direction and instruction have worked well for me, and my technique has improved dramatically. Ballet is now playing a tremendous role in my life. At this point, I can't imagine living without it - All thanks to Aaron. HE IS THE BEST!"

        ―   Michele Hayter, January 2016

  “I came back to ballet class after a 20 year hiatus and love being in Aaron's class. He understands my body and mind, respects both and allows me to enjoy my time in class as well as be challenged to rebuild my technique in an adult context. He remarkably addresses the various student levels in the class. Also, the pianist is a fabulous gift.”

        ―   Lauri Fitz-Pegado, October 2015

“Eine Stange, die mich hervorragend auf die Mitte vorbereitet; damit beginnt Aaron Jacksons Training. Für mich als zwanzigjähriger Tänzer, der seine Technik weiter verbessern will, ist das ein grosses Geschenk. Jede seiner Übungen hilft mir, meine Körperachse zu finden. Dass er verlangt, die meiste Zeit nach vorne zu schauen, erschien für mich (nach der russischen Ballettmethodik ausgebildet) zunächst etwas komisch. Heute weiss ich es zu schätzen. Dabei ist seine Stange alles andere als steif: Viele Port-de-bras und fragile Epaulements machen Aarons Unterrichtsmethode unglaublich tänzerisch. Diese Fragilität zieht sich bis über die Mitte hinweg, alternierend mit schneller und dennoch präziser Beinarbeit. Jenewird bei den Sprüngen benötigt. Das lebendige Petit Allegro ist das Herzstück von Aarons Stunden und die hier gefragte Geschwindigkeit immer wieder eine willkommeneHerausforderung. Beendet wird jede Lektion mit einem energetischen Grand Allegro, also mit den grossen Sprüngen, die den Balletttanz für Männer ausmachen.
Neben diesem technischen Aufbau legt Aaron grossen Wert auf den künstlerischen Ausdruck. Seine Stunden werden für mich so auch zur Wohltat für Herz und Seele!"

      ―  Thierry Jaquemet, November 2015

  “Aaron has been a remarkable ballet master/ teacher for me at the Washington School of Ballet. His kindred spirit and ballet techniques are always cherished by heart...thanks to Aaron, I've learnt to speak to my beautiful ballet feet! ♡ Dance to life, with passion for flight of ballet."

        ―   Lady R, October 2015

    “  I met Aaron Jackson in December 2014. At first it was quite difficult to follow his instructions, because the Balanchine method was completely new for me. In that time I was very afraid to open up and to try out new things.

Mr. Jackson has offered me private lessons for the summer, because he saw potential in me. His words have given me so much joy and courage, because they provided me with new motivation to continue with ballet. The private lessons in the summer have helped me to come out of me and to be open to new ideas.

When I told him that I was already seventeen years old, he was surprised at first, but he believed in me and the fact that I can make it as a dancer. Mr. Jackson offered me to go to Washington for my ballet training.

I am now already two months in the US and I love it. I had ups and downs but Mr. Jackson has always reminded me that I'm here for a reason and that I am not alone. He challenges me and I achieve things of which I had only dreamed about two months ago.”

        ―   Camilla Quintana Gallardo, November 2015


 "It is often said that folks over the age of 40 can't really "do" ballet.  Well, I can turn that silly remark on its head if you will only meet AARON JACKSON, the master teacher of adults.  Not only is Aaron's class filled with good cheer and positive, can-do energy, but he also is meticulous about his adult students demonstrating correct technique.  Lounging on the barre, yawning, laziness just isn't a part of an Aaron Jackson class.  He has high expectations and he helps his adult students - meaning myself - fully believe that they can meet his goals.  He never "dumbs down" a class and always presents challenging - but within reach - combinations that stretch you physically and mentally.  He is highly musical and urges us to hear and feel the lovely live piano music as we move.  I, for one, have always been inspired in his class despite my many decades of ballet training and ebbing physical talents.  Aaron is an extraordinary (in the true sense of that word) "teacher" and he imbues his every word with the love of classical ballet."   

        ―    Eve Lilley, November 2015

 “Ich besuche Aarons Ballettlektionen mit grosser Begeisterung, weil neben dem Spass auch grosse Disziplin und technischer Aufbau dafür sorgen, dass wir Tänzer Fortschritte machen. Mit seiner grossen Tanz- und Unterrichtserfahrung vermittelt Aaron Details, welche mir immer helfen, bei anderen Lehrern schneller zu verstehen, was von mir verlangt wird und wie ich es am effizientesten umsetzen kann. Mit seinem charmantn Charakter sorgt Aaron dafür, dass jeder Schüler beim Verlassen des Tanzsaales auch etwas von ihm gelernt hat und mit Begeisterung wieder zurückkommt.

        ―    Kri Rajic, November 2015

 “Aaron Jackson is a gifted ballet teacher and an inspiring person.  His classes reflect his sincere desire to share his love of and immense talent in classical ballet.   Aaron is eager to see his students develop as dancers, treating each student as an individual.  As he likes to say, "everyone is on their own personal journey."   His corrections reflect that philosophy and he celebrates each student's progress.   Aaron's classes are challenging and structured yet infused with joy & humor.  Whether a more beginner student or a lifetime dancer returning to regular class, one cannot help but leave the studio inspired, motivated and looking forward to the next class.  Aaron prefers commitment.  Students who make the commitment to 'show up' regularly are rewarded with real progress in their dance over the course of weeks, months and years as Aaron structures his class syllabus to deliberately build week to week.  Come to Aaron's class for a reason (for fitness, to get back to dance, to try something new), stay for a season and it may turn into a lifetime love.”

        ―      Ginny Wydler, October 2015


“I really love your workshops because they give me the opportunity for an intensive work on myself. You create an atmosphere of deep concentration with focus on the core which allows me to get in a deeper touch with my body and my bodys possibilities of tension, strength, and force. Until now, I always felt great changings at the end of the week; more consciousness, more sensibility and more strength...it always feels great, the reward for hard working! I love the way how you leed through classes, you seem to be relaxed, always with a sense of humour, but still focused on the important things and never loosing the concentration that helps me/us to keep on working...

        ―        Annina Castellano, October 2015

“Aaron Jackson is a master ballet teacher who creates a Zen environment perfect for learning. His expertise commands the room, and you realize “you have landed” as you focus 100 percent on classical ballet technique, the sound of his voice, and your own improvements.  Aaron was trained in the Balanchine style and his students benefit from that precision and focus.  As he walks through the class, he never takes his eyes off his students.  He applies corrections on the spot, constantly pushing all of us forward and providing an unparalleled level of instruction.  I am so grateful that I walked into his class at the Washington School of Ballet two years ago. He is a gift to the ballet world.”

        ―          Kimberly Pyle, October 2015

“The moment you walk into Aaron’s class you know you are in a special place.  Aaron makes a point of welcoming and learning the names of each new student.  If you are lucky enough to take a class with Aaron, you will no doubt be inspired to "open your heart and mind"!  This is one of my favorite Aaron sayings and even the way he says it makes the room light up.  Aaron’s positive attitude is contagious!  I had no previous ballet experience yet Aaron makes me feel like I have been dancing my whole life. He is an incredibly gifted and encouraging teacher.   He is able to unite veteran and novice dancers within one class – no small feat.  He encourages his students to keep learning regardless of skill level.  Anyone who steps into his class can see that Aaron is beloved and respected by all his students.”

        ―            Claire Munter, October 2015 

“Aaron Jackson is a gifted teacher, who never for a moment “phones it in” but is always fully present and inspirational with each and every one of his students! His classes are always focused on classical ballet philosophy and techniques and they are never easy. Aaron has the remarkable ability to challenge all of his students, whether they are advanced ballet dancers or beginners like me! He learns everyone’s names on first meeting and manages to give individual instruction even when his classes are packed. Although I started training with Aaron as a middle-aged adult with no ballet training beyond a year of instruction as a child in rural Vermont, I have been amazed by the progress I’ve made in 2 ½ years. I enjoy watching the remarkable progress of all of the dancers in Aaron’s classes, from beginners to the most advanced. He creates a safe and inspirational learning environment for all of us."

        ―         Melanie Choukas-Bradley, October 2015  

Article in the Washingtonian from October 2013

Press Release from Berrend Dance Center