Founder and Artistic Director
Gilchrist draws inspiration for her choreography from years of studying, teaching and performing this art form. She received her early training in ballet, modern dance, jazz and more at Harriet Hoctor Ballet School, Boston Ballet School, José Mateo Ballet Theatre, Broadway Theatre Project, Concord Academy, and Dance Theatre of Harlem. She continued her studies at the Hartt Conservatory (University of Hartford) where she was a lead dancer and earned a BFA in Dance Performance. Gilchrist had significant roles at the Hartford Ballet, New Jersey Ballet, José Mateo Ballet Theatre, and Tony Williams’ Urban Nutcracker where she made her debut as the Sugar Plum Fairy. In addition to a very busy performance schedule, Miss Janelle was the principal and head teacher at the José Mateo Ballet School in Dorchester as well as ballet teacher in several programs including Tony Williams Dance Center, Step By Step, and Boston University’s Reach Program. Gilchrist is currently a full-time dance teacher at the Boston Arts Academy and a company dancer with City Ballet Boston. Moving forward, she hopes to create new pieces accompanied by live music and nurture the next generation of dancers.
Janelle created JGDT in 2011 to further explore her ideas in movement, and since then has found her choreographic voice as she has grown her troupe from pick-up gigs to a regularly rehearsing and committed group of six dancers. Janelle’s most recent years of work have included full length performances with live music, as well as pieces commissioned for film and stage.
Janelle Gilchrist Dance Troupe performs dynamic contemporary ballet pieces that highlight line, form, core initiation, fluidity of the arms, and movement patterns. Using the dancers as an ensemble, in smaller groups, or solos, Janelle grounds her choreography in strong ballet technique, fused with modern and jazz, to produce cohesive pieces driven by an underlying idea. Pieces are often about a story, an emotion, African American culture, and popular culture. Pieces are often about a story, an emotion, African American culture, and popular culture. Music is also an important aspect. Music styles they dance to include classical, jazz, and modern. The Troupe sometimes performs to live music. As a small company, donations to support our work at unpaid arts festivals and community events are greatly appreciated and can be made on Venmo @janelle-gilchrist.