The Joffrey Ballet's Lemonis Bridge Program is aligned with The Chicago Guide for Teaching and Learning in the Arts and is designed to introduce students from Chicago Public Schools to the basic elements of classical ballet. This program provides kindergarten through second grade students with a highly structured dance experience where they also develop life skills, creativity and physical awareness. One of the main goals of the program is to identify and train the next generation of dancers at the Joffrey Academy of Dance, Official School of The Joffrey Ballet.
✶ Phase 1 | Students receive ballet instruction at their schools
✶ Phase 2 | Select students are invited to attend Saturday class for free
at the Joffrey Academy
✶ Phase 3 | Students participate in a three-week summer intensive
✶ Phase 4 | Students demonstrating excellent behavior, attendance,
and progress are awarded full scholarships to continue
studying at the Joffrey Academy of Dance
“Nothing is closer to my heart than a young person who finds a means of expression through dance. In many ways, that was my story, too.” -Ashley Wheater, Artistic Director of The Joffrey Ballet
The Joffrey Ballet’s longest running school program, is a weekly dance education program. Participating students and teachers learn about dance through a syllabus incorporating assessments based on Illinois Fine Arts Goals and Social Emotional Learning Standards. MSDC students work with Joffrey Teaching Artists to create original dances and have the opportunity to attend three Joffrey performances. The program culminates with two major events. The Spring Concert allows all schools to join together for a showcase of the students’ choreography, while the Intensive allows students to travel to other participating MSDC schools for a week of performances.
Many Middle School Dance Club students have had great success in their dance education and have been accepted to Chi Arts.
High School Dance Clubs (HSDC)
High School Dance Clubs is new to our weekly dance education programming. Participating students and teachers learn about dance through a syllabus incorporating assessments based on Illinois Fine Arts Goals and Social Emotional Learning Standards. HSDC students work with Joffrey Teaching Artists to create original dances and have the opportunity to attend three Joffrey performances. The program culminates with a Spring Concert which allows all schools to join together for a showcase of the students’ choreography.
“ My students started a month ago but they have already come into the awareness of what it takes to dance—concentration, focus, respect and discipline. Characteristics that are not only for a dancer, but also make the community better.”
Custom Residency Programs are ideal for schools looking for indepth, student-centered dance programming. Guided by Joffrey Teaching Artists, students are led through structured units to build a strong understanding of dance. Residency programs can be custom built to cater to the unique needs of every school. Programs can be adjusted according to program length, students’ ages and levels, and can incorporate a variety of dance styles including ballet, creative movement, modern, jazz, hip-hop, Latin, and African.
All of The Joffrey Ballet’s Custom Residency Programs meet Illinois State Goals for the Fine Arts, as appropriate for each grade level.
The Exelon Strobel Step-Up Program is a rigorous scholarship program offered to promising high school students. Named in honor of former Joffrey Board Chair Pamela B. Strobel, and long-time supporter Exelon Corporation, the group was founded in 2006 to help participants develop their dance skills and provide opportunities to showcase their talents. The group has performed at Millennium Park, Toyota Park, the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, Dance Chicago, the DuSable Museum of African American History, and other venues throughout Chicago. Additionally, in 2010, the Government of South Africa invited a group of Exelon Strobel Step-Up students to South Africa to help promote the Diski Dance and the 2010 FIFA World Cup tournament.
This partnership with the Chicago Public Schools at Gallery 37 involves yearlong dance instruction for ambitious high school students. Participants receive honors credit for attending daily classes in which they study a rigorous curriculum of dance technique, history, terminology and performance.
High School students work as apprentices or advanced apprentices in this seven-week summer partnership programs. With instruction by Joffrey dancers and Joffrey Teaching Artists, students participate in a rigorous rehearsal schedule, working with a number of guest choreographers and perform throughout the city.
As part of the intensive, each student group acts as an ensemble, perfecting a repertoire of 10-15 dances they perform throughout the program and at a final showcase in August.