Jon Lehrer, who was raised in Queens, New York, took his very first dance class at age 19 on a dare. While attending the University at Buffalo, Jon began dating a dancer, and after he teased her about how easy it was to get an A in a dance class, she dared him to take a beginning level modern class. Jon took the class, got an A, and knew he had found his true calling in life. Jon continued his training at the University at Buffalo, and two years later was asked to join the University’s Zodiaque Dance Company. In the summer of 1994, Jon received a scholarship to study at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, training with such esteemed faculty as Carolyn Adams, Danny Buraczeski, Gail Gilbert, Margie Gillis, Danny Grossman, and Mark Morris. Jon Lehrer has his B.F.A. in dance from the University at Buffalo
Jon acquired his first professional position as a company member with the John Passafiume Dancers in NYC. John Passafiume was a principle dancer with Anna Sokolow and Paul Sanasardo. In September 1995, Jon was hired by the internationally acclaimed Erick Hawkins Dance Company and for the next year toured the world with one of the most influential artists of modern dance. Looking for a change, Jon took a job dancing in Merv Griffin’s Funderful at Resorts Casino/Hotel in Atlantic City.
After 6 months performing in the Vegas-style show, Jon wanted to get back into concert dance, and auditioned for Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago. He was hired and began dancing with the world’s most acclaimed jazz dance company in May 1997. After only three years with GJDC, Jon was promoted to Rehearsal Director, and two years later was given the position of Associate Director. After ten years of performing with GJDC, Jon focused on his job as Associate Director, working side by side with Artistic Director Nan Giordano and Executive Director Ben Hodge. Among his duties as Associate Director, Jon acted as Tour Manager and was the company’s Resident Choreographer, having created seven original works for GJDC that received rave reviews all around the world.
In addition to his works on GJDC, Jon has choreographed for several dance companies in Chicago and around the world including; Thodos Dance Chicago, Instruments of Movement, Momenta Dance Theatre, Louisiana Dance Theatre, Le Jazz Groupe from Monterrey, Mexico, and Kannon Dance of St. Petersburg, Russia. Jon has also set his choreography on many University dance companies including the University at Buffalo, University of Nevada Las Vegas, University of Nevada Reno, East Central University, Northern Illinois University, and Hope College. In 2002 Jon was one of four Chicago choreographers selected to participate in the first ever Dance Chicago Choreography Project, sponsored by the Chicago Community Trust and Sara Lee; and was selected to participate again in 2004. Through the Project, Jon set an original work on dancers from the Joffrey Ballet, and another on Thodos Dance Chicago.
Jon continues to teach master classes throughout the U.S. and around the world. He has been on the faculty of the Jazz Dance World Congress, Dance Masters of America, Dance Teacher Summer Conference, Chicago National Association of Dance Masters, Chicago Dance Connection, Chautauqua Institution and is a frequent guest artist at colleges around the country. In 2000, Jon was one of four choreographers and teachers invited to the Jazz Dance Festival/New Generation in Ekaterinburg, Russia. In 2003 Jon had the honor of receiving the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University at Buffalo’s Zodiaque Dance Company for his accomplishments as a dancer and choreographer. Jon is on the Advisory Board of Dance Spirit Magazine and was featured on the November 2007 cover of Dance Teacher Magazine.