Jais Zinoun started his ballet training at age 7 in Casablanca with his parents, both former dancers. At age 15, Jais left Morocco to attend Maurice Bejar’s Mudra School in Brussels where he studied different dance styles, from traditional classical to Martha Graham technique. Jais’ polished classical line and strong technical skills earned him the Grand Prix Award at the 1987 Prix de Lausanne in Lausanne, Switzerland. The following year he was invited to join the newly formed American Ballet Theatre School where he studied with Mikhail Baryshnikov and Alexander Filipov. One year later, in 1989, he joined San Francisco Ballet and quickly rose to the rank of Soloist.
As a Soloist with San Francisco Ballet, Jais danced numerous leading roles in the company’s repertoire. His remarkable flexibility and poise inspired a variety of choreographers including Mark Morris, Ben Stevenson, James Kudelka, and Helgi Tomasson. Jais has been praised for his natural grace and musicality and also excelled in such classical works as Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet, The Nutcracker, the Corsaire Pas de Deux, and in Balanchine’s Stravinsky Violin Concerto No. 2 and Symphony in C.
In addition to performing with the San Francisco Ballet throughout the world, Jais has appeared as a guest artist with Utah Ballet, Riverside Ballet in California, and Deutsch Oper Rhin Ballet in Germany, as well as in ballet galas in Portugal, Holland, and France. He also appears regularly as a resident guest artist and teacher at Ballet Theatre Zinoun, the company founded by his father in 1977 in Morocco.
Seeking a wider spectrum of artistic challenges, Jais left San Francisco Ballet to pursue an independent career as a performing artist and dance instructor.
In the past few years Jais Zinoun worked as an assistant to director for several films in Morocco.
Today Jais Zinoun still teaches ballet at the ballet theatre Zinoun and directed his first short film Karkoubi.