Jaroslow has been making and performing dances in New York City and across the country
since 1974. Dance has been a part of her life since she was five, when she played the Queen
in Murray Louis' The Frog Prince. Fifteen years later, she graduated from Bennington College,
where she studied with Viola Farber, who had a profound influence on her.
Her Company, Risa Jaroslow & Dancers, is dedicated to merging performance and community work and to including diverse communities as participants and audience. The Company has performed at the major venues for new dance in New York City, including Dance Theater Workshop, Danspace Project, Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors, The 92nd Street Y, the Joyce Theater and Central Park Summerstage. The Company has also performed and taught nationally and internationally.
Jaroslow has taught technique, composition, and repertory at colleges and universities including Adelphi University, Trinity College, Pratt Institute, University of Wisconsin, Bennington College, and Dartington College (England). She has conducted extended residencies with Kannon Dance in St. Petersburg, Russia, and the dance departments at University of Maryland and American University. From 1990 to 1999 she conducted a yearly residency in Bytom, Poland.
In 1988, Jaroslow created Arts at University Settlement, a neighborhood arts program serving New York City's Lower East Side and the downtown dance community. Jaroslow ran the program until 1999, raising funds to renovate Speyer Hall for rehearsals, classes and performances for the Lower East Side and other communities. The program and theater space she created continue to serve as a resource for the neighborhood and for downtown dance artists
Using the distinctive series of teaching techniques she has developed, Jaroslow engages dancers of all levels and people of all ages and abilities. She has worked with The New York Society for the Deaf; The Initiative for Women with Disabilities; The Welfare Rights Initiative; Project FIND, serving senior adults; The Lower East Side Girls Club, serving pre-teen girls; Youth Enrichment Services, serving gay and lesbian youth; and Voices of Women and Dwa Fanm, serving survivors of domestic violence. She has received a NYFA fellowship, and in 2005 was the first Jerome Robbins Fellow at the Liguria Study Center in Bogliasco, Italy.