May 24, 2017

New curriculum builds foundation for professional dance career for students ages 14-18


CHICAGO – May 24, 2017 - The Joffrey Ballet is pleased to announce the launch of a new Joffrey Conservatory Program within the Joffrey Academy of Dance, Official School of The Joffrey Ballet, beginning September 2017. Led by Karin Ellis-Wentz, Head of the Joffrey Academy’s Pre-Professional Program, the program will cater to highly skilled students ages 14-18 who are seeking a successful balance between academics and intensive training as they prepare for professional careers in dance. Classes will be offered weekdays Monday – Friday from 9:00am-3:30pm at Joffrey Tower, 10 E. Randolph Street in downtown Chicago.


The Joffrey Conservatory Program will be offered to up to 20 outstanding students selected by Artistic Director Ashley Wheater and Ellis-Wentz. The program’s curriculum, created by Wheater and Academy staff, is designed to help students better prepare for the rigorous training of the Joffrey Academy Trainee Program and Studio Company offered to students ages 17 and older. The Conservatory will also lay the foundation for a successful career in professional dance or in other fields by developing artistry, creativity, discipline and confidence. This is the first time the Academy has offered day-time curriculum to students outside of the Trainee and Studio Company programs.


Following Robert Joffrey’s vision for artistic training, the curriculum will be rooted in classical ballet featuring English, Russian, and French techniques along with modern and contemporary classes to give students a well-rounded, comprehensive dance education.


Conservatory students will also have the opportunity to perform works from The Joffrey Ballet’s extensive repertoire and to work with the Company’s staff and dancers, as well as guest choreographers. Students may also be selected to perform in the Academy’s Fall and Spring productions, as well as the Company’s highly successful new Nutcracker choreographed by Tony Award® winner Christopher Wheeldon, and the Gala.

This program will mark the first-time the Joffrey Academy of Dance has partnered with K12, which offers accredited, personalized education courses accessible online, at any time, to help Conservatory students receive their high school diploma amongst the demands of a budding dance career. Students will also benefit from the Joffrey’s housing partnership with Infinite Chicago, which provides housing within walking distance of Joffrey Tower.


“The Joffrey Conservatory Program is an ideal pathway to joining a trainee program and ultimately a professional company,” said Ellis-Wentz. “The program will provide students with the resources to prepare mentally and physically for life as a professional dancer. In addition to their enhanced dance training, Conservatory students will develop life skills such as time management, discipline, commitment and passion which will translate into finding success in the professional world as an artist or another discipline. We will strive to develop well-rounded dancers, proficient technicians, and storytellers who love and respect the art form.”



“The launch of the Joffrey Conservatory Program comes on the heels of our new vision to fully realize the Academy at every level,” added Wheater. “We recognized a need for our students to continue professional training before they reach Joffrey’s Training and Studio Company and to offer competitive day-time curriculum. This is an important step for our students and will allow the Academy to become one of the best and most comprehensive training programs in the country.”


“The Academy, under the leadership of Director Karine Provost, is recognized internationally,” said Greg Cameron, Executive Director of The Joffrey Ballet. “This strategic expansion of our already well-rounded training program represents the next phase of Joffrey’s commitment to the future generation of professional dancers and positions the Joffrey Academy of Dance alongside our respected peers worldwide.”


About The Joffrey Ballet

Classically trained to the highest standards, The Joffrey Ballet expresses a unique, inclusive perspective on dance, proudly reflecting the diversity of America with its company, audiences, and repertoire which includes major story ballets, reconstructions of masterpieces and contemporary works.


The company’s commitment to accessibility is met through an extensive touring schedule, an innovative and highly effective education program including the much lauded Academy of Dance, Official School of The Joffrey Ballet, Community Engagement programs and collaborations with myriad other visual and performing arts organizations.


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 Wheater and Executive Director Greg Cameron.


For more information on The Joffrey Ballet and its programs, visit


About The Joffrey Academy Pre-Professional Division

The Pre-Professional Division at the Joffrey Academy of Dance is designed to meet the highest artistic standards for students ages 10-18. Led by Karin Ellis-Wentz, Head of Pre-Professional Programs, the artistic staff trains dancers to develop a strong foundation in classical ballet throughout five levels of training. With the discipline and confidence cultivated at the Joffrey Academy, students can pursue careers as professional dancers, or find success in other fields. Placement in the Pre-Professional Division is by audition only.


As part of the Pre-Professional Division, students participate in a full schedule of evening dance classes, and perform in the Joffrey Academy’s annual Fall and Spring productions. Past productions have included Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Don Quixote Suite and Coppélia.


For more information on the Joffrey Academy of Dance, Official School of The Joffrey Ballet and its programs please visit


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