Career Leap

Young dancers prep at ballet’s Second Company

By Jessica Laskey
May 2024

Hard work and months of rehearsal come together when Sacramento Ballet’s Second Company performs its spring showcase May 11–12 at Hiram Johnson High School Auditorium.

Second Company was started two years ago by Jill Krutzkamp as a way to give dancers ages 18–21 intensive training before leaping into the professional dance world.

The company encompasses the Trainee Project for promising students who pay tuition, and SB2 for dancers who receive scholarships and stipends.

“Our mission is to get them jobs, help them get to know themselves more and have time to figure out if this is really what they want to do,” Jill says. “Second Company gives them that pre-professional leg up. We want to create the best dancer we can so they’re more marketable.”

Jill came to town in 2017, when her husband Anthony Krutzkamp became executive director at Sacramento Ballet. She soon identified a gap in the company’s educational structure.

Every ballet company she and Anthony danced for—including Cincinnati Ballet, where they met, and Kansas City Ballet—had a second company. It was “a missing piece” the couple believed would contribute to the organization’s strength.

The board agreed to start a second company and hired Jill as director, thanks to her background as an educator in dance and Pilates. She ran a physical therapy and Pilates clinic specializing in dance medicine in Kansas City. She also worked as an adjunct instructor for the dance conservatory division at University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Today she oversees Second Company’s 23 trainees and seven scholarship dancers. This is the first year the corps has a showcase separate from the main company. The Hiram Johnson performance will raise funds for scholarships to “provide greater inclusiveness and equitability for our school as a whole,” she says.

The program includes five pieces, including one by choreographer Adam Hougland that the Krutzkamps originated at Cincinnati Ballet in 2007.

“I remember being a dancer in my young 20s doing this piece. I had a nice relationship with it,” Jill says of “K281,” Hougland’s playful piece set to Mozart. “It really made contemporary movement and partnering click for me. I felt like it made me learn how to move better and bigger in my pointe shoes.”

Houghland, principal choreographer for Louisville Ballet, says, “This hasn’t seen light of day since 2007, so I’m excited to bring it back. It’s so fun and has a young choreographer feeling about it. It was me being a little ambitious, so it’s quite challenging, but (Second Company dancers) dove right in.”

Hougland set the dance on the corps in September. They’ve rehearsed ever since. Jill Krutzkamp loves how the 14-minute piece helps dancers learn new skills and strengthen their confidence. She plans to continue building the repertoire to give her young dancers more opportunities to grow.

“They’ve already gained so much from it,” she says. “This is hard work, but it helps mature them and show up to auditions a little bit more physically and mentally prepared. Even if they don’t become professional dancers, it’s helping them become better adults and better people.”

Sacramento Ballet Second Company Showcase performs May 11 at 5 p.m. and May 12 at 2 p.m. at Hiram Johnson High School Auditorium at 6879 14th Ave. For information, visit

Jessica Laskey can be reached at Follow us on Facebook and Instagram: @insidesacramento.

Stay up-to-date with our always 100% local newsletter!

* indicates required
Type of Newsletter
Share via
Copy link