The Joffrey Ballet Academy of Dance Review—Another creative leap with towering promise

Classes to begin January 5, 2009! Is not, for most, a call to quicken the heart. But this is different. This is The Joffrey Ballet. This class captures the imagination and fills it with a wealth of possibilities as mundane as a wonderful workout to planning a life as a ballerina!

In its continued commitment to provide dancers with the highest quality of dance training, The Joffrey Ballet, led by Artistic Director Ashley C. Wheater, has added yet another artistic notch to its creative belt: the launch of the Academy of Dance, Official School of The Joffrey Ballet, which will be housed in the Joffrey Tower, 10 East Randolph Street.

The opening of the Academy of Dance will address various recognized needs in Chicago's dance education programs including the establishment of a professional dance school associated with a world-renowned company in the Midwest; and the continuation of professional dance training offered to current Education & Community Engagement students by providing scholarship assistance to those without the financial means to pursue their dance interests. Housed in the Joffrey Tower - the new home of The Joffrey Ballet - the Academy of Dance will enjoy one of the most advanced facilities for dance. With approximately 12,000 square feet of space the Academy of Dance will operate out of the new Exelon Education Center, which is the current home of Joffrey's education and outreach programs. This expanded studio and rehearsal space will provide students a place for comprehensive hands-on training, learning and creative expression, as well as more access to The Joffrey's artistic staff and dancers, and exposure to a professional dance environment.

Academy of Dance Programs:

Community Open Classes offer training to students, age three through adult. Children's community classes will provide basic training for toddlers to teens in ballet, jazz, tap, hip-hop and Latin dance techniques. These classes are designed to make dance exciting and engaging, yet still technically challenging. The adult community classes are created for adults age twelve and up, beginning through professional.  Classes include instruction in ballet, jazz, tap, Pilates, African, Latin, contemporary and two workout classes, "Keep FitJazz Workout" and "Keep Fit Ballet Workout."

The Pre-professional Training Program is designed to prepare dancers for a professional career.  This program features a curriculum created and led by Wheater and taught by some of the world's most sought-after faculty,
including the artistic staff of The Joffrey Ballet. The program includes classes in ballet technique, pointe, pas de deux, character, male virtuosity, contemporary, core strengthening/stretch, Lester HortonTechnique, Latin and jazz.  The Pre-Professional Training Program will also include special classes in Bournonville Technique, Dance History, Looking at the World through Art and Dance Careers, and a Parents Class that will educate parents about dance as a career.

The Trainee Program, scheduled to begin in the fall of 2009, is a program that will specifically meet the needs of 17- through 20-year-olds who seek to take the next steps towards a professional dance career.  Daily technique classes, pointe, pas de deux, character, male virtuosity, repertoire in classical and contemporary styles, as well as other dance disciplines are all a part of this professional program.  The comprehensive program will prepare students to transition into the professional world of dance and, with the guidance of the Joffrey staff, will help prepare each student for their career as a dancer.  Curriculum topics include auditions, teaching, business matters and finances.

Participation in the Trainee Program is by invitation only from Joffrey Artistic Director Ashley Wheater.  Auditions for the trainee program will be held in the spring and summer of 2009.  International Exchange Scholarships will also be available through this program.

Students will be evaluated during the first weeks of all classes to ensure proper placement, and evaluations will continue throughout the semesters to ensure continued accurate placement.  A formal written evaluation will be given to each student at the end of the year with placement for the
next semester.

For more information about The Joffrey Ballet; the Academy of Dance,Official School of The Joffrey Ballet; and the company's current productions please call 312-739-0120 or visit www.joffrey.org.

Photographs by Herbert Migdoll courtesy of The Joffrey Ballet

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