Who We Are:
The Joffrey is a world-class, Chicago-based ballet company and dance education organization committed to artistic excellence and innovation, presenting a unique repertoire encompassing masterpieces of the past and cutting-edge works. The Joffrey is committed to providing arts education and accessible dance training through the Joffrey Academy of Dance and Community Engagement programs.
Founded by visionary teacher Robert Joffrey in 1956, guided by celebrated choreographer Gerald Arpino from 1988 until 2007, The Joffrey Ballet continues to thrive under internationally renowned Artistic Director Ashley C. Wheater and Executive Director Christopher Clinton Conway. Although the Joffrey is one of the younger performing arts institutions in Chicago, since its arrival to the city in 1995, the organization has become a major player in the city's cultural landscape. The Joffrey is the largest dance organization in Chicago and is well-known for its artistic innovation, presentation, and diversity all over the world. As a leader in the field of American dance as well as classical ballet and like its peers in New York, San Francisco, Washington, and Boston, the Joffrey attracts and retains the brightest and best talent from around the world.
What We Do:
Annually, The Joffrey Ballet performs its regular October-May season at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University in Chicago, as well as several domestic tours throughout the year. Its repertoire consists of major story ballets, reconstructions of classical masterpieces, contemporary works, and commissioned world premieres, as well as its December performances of The Nutcracker. As one of the world’s leading classical ballet companies with 42 dancers, the Joffrey will presents approximately 50 performances each season. The Joffrey also tours its repertoire, bringing high-quality performances to audiences nationally and internationally.
The Joffrey Ballet is committed to providing accessible and affordable dance instruction and opportunities to children throughout the city through its Community Engagement (CE) programs. The Joffrey’s CE programs are offered through the Joffrey Academy of Dance, Official School of The Joffrey Ballet, and in partnership with Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and After School Matters. Although the Illinois School Code specifies that every school provide arts instruction to all students, CPS has set minimal graduation requirements in arts learning. Many schools in Chicago do not offer comprehensive arts programming that includes dance. The Joffrey’s CE programs are able to fill this gap, exposing students to the discipline and colorful history of dance as an art form. Dance programs in schools allow students to express themselves creatively, while exposing them to new cultures and helping them develop critical thinking and social/emotional skills.
The Bridge Program is an initiative that was launched in the fall of 2010. The goal of this program is to introduce classical ballet to African-American and Latino students in Chicago Public Schools with limited access to fine arts programs. Instruction is provided to first and second graders, introducing them to the joy of dance while developing motor skills, creative expression, and the ability to work cooperatively. This program also identifies talented students and provides them with scholarships to attend classes at the Joffrey Academy of Dance. Students of classical ballet begin classes as early as three years of age, with formal training starting at ages 6-8. Because these CPS students lack the financial ability to enroll in private dance classes, they also lack the basic skills and experience needed in order to be comfortable attending regular Joffrey Academy classes. The Bridge Program addresses this problem, introducing elementary school students to classical ballet at an age appropriate time, allowing them to matriculate into Joffrey Academy classes at the same level of ability as their peers.