About Janice Ross

Atherton, California

Janice Ross (CBA ’19) is a professor in the Theatre and Performance Studies Department at Stanford University, where she has taught for more than 20 years. She is the author of four books including Like A Bomb Going Off: Leonid Yakobson and Ballet as Resistance in Soviet Russia (Yale University Press 2015), San Francisco Ballet at 75 (Chronicle Books 2007), and Anna Halprin: Experience as Dance (UC Press 2007). Her honors include the 2015 CORD Award for Outstanding Scholarly Research in Dance, Guggenheim and Fulbright Fellowships, Stanford Humanities Center Fellowships, Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture Fellowship, and a 2015 Israel Institute research grant. She is a former president of the International Society of Dance History Scholars.

Ballet and Orthodoxy

Ross’ project sought to understand why in Israel – a nation where fault lines between the secular and religious etch deeply across political and cultural divides – dance, historically emblematic of secular Zionist culture, is suddenly emerging among a surprising population: ultra-Orthodox young Jewish women and, in a form inimical to the Jewish state, classical ballet. Ross’ research traced this arc of ballet from unwanted to profoundly emblematic in the Jewish state. Propelling her investigation is the question of why ballet is suddenly attractive to religious conservatives in a nation that, since its founding, has actively embraced folk and contemporary dance to shape national identity while shunning ballet.