Visiting Lecturer (Ballet)
Theatre, Drama, and Dance, Lee Norvelle, A300
Christian Claessens, born in Brussels, Belgium, began his ballet training at the Conservatoire de la Monaie. In 1978, he came to New York as a scholarship student at The School of American Ballet and the American Ballet Theatre School simultaneously. After graduating, he performed with the Kansas City Ballet and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. In 1984, he returned to Europe as a member of the Dutch National Ballet.
As a soloist, Claessens toured internationally in ballet troupes such as Stars of the American Ballet, Stars of the New York City Ballet, Stars of the Hong Kong Ballet, and Kozlov and Friends. In 1991, he cofounded the Scarsdale Ballet Studio with Diana White. In 1999, he codirected the International Ballet Project with Valentina Kozlova and White, both of the New York City Ballet. In 1998, he was asked to take over the directorship of the Purchase Youth Ballet, a division of the Conservatory of Dance at The State University of New York. He was the director of La Lecon: Christian Claessens School of Ballet in Westchester, N.Y.