Pamela Bjerknes

Lower Division Head

Faculty, School Leadership, School Administration, The Washington School of Ballet - Northwest Campus, Washington School of Ballet, Lower Division Faculty, Upper Division Faculty

Pamela Booth Bjerknes, a former member of American Ballet Theatre (ABT), brings extensive teaching, directing, and performing experience to The Washington School of Ballet. Performing classical and contemporary ballets throughout her career, she was privileged to work with many master teachers and luminaries including Antony Tudor, Jerome Robbins, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Twyla Tharp, and Agnes de Mille.

Bjerknes began her studies in Wilmington, Delaware with former Ballet Russe ballerina Helena Antonova and James Jameison. Studying at School of American Ballet (SAB) and American Ballet Theatre School, she began her professional career with ABT’s apprentice company under the direction of Gage Bush and Richard Englund. She later joined Houston Ballet, under the direction of Ben Stevenson, dancing soloist and principal roles. Following her time in Houston, she joined American Ballet Theatre under the direction of Mikhail Baryshnikov.

Following her career at ABT, Bjerknes served as Ballet Mistress for the Universal Ballet Company in Seoul, Korea. Upon her return to the states, Bjerknes founded a young dancer program, Ballet Ecole, in Bethesda, Maryland and taught for the Maryland Youth Ballet. During this time, the Joffrey Ballet requested she train the children for their performances of The Nutcracker at the Kennedy Center. Continuing her work with Joffrey Ballet, she joined the faculty for their Summer Intensives.

In September 2000, Pamela and late husband Michael Bjerknes founded the American Dance Institute, a non-profit arts center in Rockville, Maryland. In 2015 she joined the faculty of the University of Oklahoma School of Dance teaching in the undergraduate and graduate ballet programs.

Earning teaching certifications in all levels of the Vaganova Syllabus, Bjerknes is an ABT certified teacher through the ABT National Training Curriculum. She was invited to join the faculty of American Ballet Theatre’s Summer Intensive Programs and has taught at the Kaatsbaan Summer Intensives in New York under the direction of Martine Van Hamel. Bjerknes, in addition to her teaching, continues to pursue a degree in Elementary and Special Education with a focus on Educational Psychology.

As Lower Division Head, managing Levels 1A through Level 3, Bjerknes oversees the artistic and administrative success of its students and faculty. Bjerknes’ values balance of creativity, dedication, and artistic enrichment to the traditions and teachings of dance at this important stage of training.

Photo by XMB Photography.