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Joy Victor (a.k.a Jan Hamel) trained in ballet with Sacramento teacher Marguerite Phares. She attended the School of American Ballet in New York City on full scholarship at age 16. She was immediately placed in the highest class which was attended daily by superstars of the New York City Ballet such as Gelsey Kirkland, Suzanne Farrell, Edward Villela, Jacques D’Ambois, Maria Caligari, Susan Pilarre and Lourdes Lopez. She decided to acquire a college degree rather than continue on to an immediate professional ballet career.

After achieving a Bachelor of Science degree in Clothing Design/Home Economics and Art with a teaching certification for High School, she returned to training in ballet after a four year hiatus. Her chosen teacher was formerly of the Kirov and Bolshoi ballet companies, Vladimir Luppov. His intensive Vaganova-based preparation enabled her one year later to be signed on as a member of American Ballet Theatre in New York City whose home is the Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center.

Contact Joy

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Joy in Don Quixote pas de deux
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Joy pic 03 f5db5da620e747a74ab19c3bb647e572a0903d9fc95b9b6fad1095126ca6f819 the Sugar Plum Fairy in the Nutcracker
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Joy’s repertory while with American Ballet Theatre (ABT):

Coppelia, Swan Lake, Firebird, Giselle, La Bayadere, Nutcracker, Don Quixote. As a guest artist during this time, she danced the full length Sleeping Beauty in the title role of Aurora, The Sugar Plum Fairy in the Nutcracker, and Kitri in the wedding pas de deux from Don Quixote.

While with ABT, Joy was chosen in a unique opportunity by Natalia Makarova along with 3 ABT soloists to participate in an experimental choreography project with a visiting Russian choreographer. Daily contact and training with Natasha are some of the fondest memories Joy has of working with ABT. Natalia Makarova, considered the consummate ballerina of the 20th century, (“the most recognizable ballerina of the modern era” according to some ballet archivists), left an indelible mark on Joy as she worked with her during the setting of La Bayadere, Don Quixote, in daily class, and in specialized rehearsals.

Being close in day-to-day work with Makarova and legends of this caliber (Mikhail Baryshnikov, Cynthia Gregory, Cynthia Harvey, Anthony Dowell, Gelsey Kirkland, Fernando Bujones, Allesandra Ferri, Martine Van Hamel, Marianna Tcherkassky to name a few) informs Joy of the heights to which ballet can rise, the spirit of excellence that is required and the commitment necessary to achieve the mountaintop experience of aspired perfection in ballet technique.

Joy has experienced and observed first hand the ultimate in the ineffable expressions of human emotion and inspiration possible in ballet, which must rest effortlessly on top of the foundation of great technical expertise. This, in addition to the legendary teachers she has experienced, has informed Joy’s teaching presentation to a great degree and created her own definition of what is necessary to be a world-class artiste.

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Former teachers and mentors

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Marguerite Phares, Sacramento, CA

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Joy’s foundational teacher from age 10-16. The passing on of the oral tradition of ballet is only transferred in person by great teachers and cannot be duplicated from books or films. The impartation of technical knowledge, inspiration, meaning, and love for beauty is passed like a gift from generation to generation through highly-skilled training experiences. Marguerite shaped many successful dancers who have become soloists and principals with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, Boston Ballet, many broadway productions, American Ballet Theatre and Disney Studios. Rachel Moore, former Executive Director of American Ballet Theatre, was Marguerite’s student.