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Jeannette Ordman

ORDMAN, JEANNETTE, Israeli ballet dancer and teacher; director of the Bat-Dor Dance Company and school. Born in Germiston, South Africa, her family moved to Johannesburg where she studied dance with Reina Berman and later with Marjorie Sturman, founder of the Johannesburg Festival Ballet (which became the Pact Ballet). She was still in her teens when Anton Dolin who had come to advise on dance selected her to dance the title role in Giselle.

Moving to London, she danced with the Sadler's Wells Opera Ballet and on television. In 1965 she went to Israel as principal dancer of a touring company. When the tour ended abruptly, she opened a studio. Her dancing had already made an impression and pupils flocked to her. At that time Batsheva de Rothschild, who had settled in Israel in 1958 and founded the Batsheva Dance Company in 1964, was looking for a suitable director to open a dance school. With her friend Martha Graham, then visiting Israel, she saw Ordman's classes. The result was the opening of the Bat-Dor Dance School in 1967 and of the Bat-Dor Dance Company in 1968, with Ordman as director and principal dancer.

From then on, the studio grew in importance and the company is one of the major dance companies in Israel and has toured widely. It was the first professional Israeli company to go to Poland (1987) and to Russia (1989).

After her great success in the Polish tour, Ordman developed hip trouble. After two operations, she made a successful comeback (1989) in Rodney Griffin's Piaf Vaudeville. She was invited a number of times to serve on the jury of the International Ballet Competition at Jackson, Mississippi (held every fourth year).

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.