City Colleges Of Chicago’s Harold Washington College Partners with Acclaimed Joffrey Ballet to Offer New Associate Degree In Dance

August 11, 2018


Only Community College Dance Program of its Kind in Illinois Launches This Fall


(Chicago, IL – August 2018) In one of the more unique collaborations to be found in Illinois community colleges, Harold Washington College (HWC) is partnering with the internationally-acclaimed Joffrey Ballet to offer an educational pathway that leads to an Associate in Arts in Dance from City Colleges of Chicago’s Loop campus. Launching later this month, the program gives students the chance to develop their dance technique while completing an associate degree with credits transferrable to four-year colleges and universities across the country.  


The program will be one of only three such dance degrees offered by a community college in Illinois, and the only one working with a professional company. No other college or university in the state offers a program which is comparable.


“We are thrilled to be partnering with a performing arts organization of such stellar quality, reputation, history and commitment to the arts,” said Juan Salgado, Chancellor of City Colleges. “This collaboration will help students develop a diverse set of skills, including artistry, creativity, discipline, and confidence, while drawing on The Joffrey Ballet’s legacy of innovation.”


The curriculum calls for ten studio classes predominately taught at Joffrey Tower, the organization’s headquarters one block south of HWC. These courses include ballet, modern, jazz, world and hip-hop dance. Meanwhile, a student’s general studies courses in communications, mathematics, fine arts and humanities, social and behavioral sciences, and physical and life sciences will be taught at HWC. Students have already received a taste of what the curriculum offers through a new Dance Appreciation course which began last semester (spring of 2018) and is offered as one of the core courses in the program.


Former HWC student Jasmine Stewart, who is transferring with a dance minor to XXX in the fall, supports the new pathway. “Partnering with Joffrey makes an already strong dance program at Harold even stronger,” said Stewart. “Students are getting the best of both worlds—it’s a total win-win.”


Harold Washington College hopes to hire instructors from the Joffrey to teach courses in this new pathway. Eastern Illinois, University of Illinois at Urbana, University of Illinois at Chicago and other universities have agreed to accept credits earned in the new HWC dance program.


“Chicago is home to a vibrant performing arts scene with numerous career opportunities for those with a foundation in dance,” said HWC instructor Jennifer Hasso, who, along with the Joffrey’s Director of Community Engagement, Erica Lynette Edwards, conceived and developed the program. “The Associate in Arts with a Dance Concentration degree prepares an individual to transfer to a four-year college or university, or for a career in dance or a dance-related profession. In addition to training a student for the possibility of joining a dance company, there are career applications for those considering choreography, physical therapy and training, dance or yoga instruction.”


An advisory council with representatives from HWC and Joffrey will meet at least once each semester to review progress and suggest improvements to the program. With input from Joffrey leadership, HWC will be primarily responsible for planning and executing at least one performance event per semester, and identifying funding, partnership and student networking opportunities.


“This partnership is a unique opportunity for students interested in the performing arts,” said Dr. Ignacio Lopez, President of Harold Washington College. “Students will learn in the heart of Chicago’s downtown theater district, and at the same time they will receive the quality and affordable education that Harold Washington and City Colleges is known for.”


The Joffrey Ballet draws on more than six decades of innovation, expertise and global recognition to engage with a diverse community of dancers in the Chicago area. The organization provides an opportunity for Joffrey Academy of Dance students to train with professional dancers and acquire the skills and vocabulary to succeed in a multitude of performing arts careers.


“One of the Joffrey’s core tenets is the education and development of young dancers, dance makers, and arts leaders,” said Joffrey President and Chief Executive Officer Greg Cameron. “Our new partnership with Harold Washington College combines a wellspring of resources for the mutual benefit of all involved, especially students in Chicago. It is not only important for them personally and professionally, but for the success of the arts as well. We are excited to begin.”


For admissions and more information on the two-year program, contact Harold Washington College Admissions at 312-552-6010, or visit


About City Colleges of Chicago

The City Colleges of Chicago (CCC) is the largest community college system in Illinois and one of the largest in the nation, with more than 4,000 faculty and staff serving more than 80,000 students annually at seven colleges and five satellite sites city-wide. The City Colleges of Chicago includes seven colleges:  Richard J. Daley College, Kennedy-King College, Malcolm X College, Olive-Harvey College, Harry S Truman College, Harold Washington College and Wilbur Wright College. For more information about City Colleges of Chicago, or for registration information, call (773) COLLEGE or visit


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 the internationally renowned Ashley Wheater, The Mary B. Galvin Artistic Director, and President and Chief Executive Officer Greg Cameron.

For more information on The Joffrey Ballet and its programs, visit Connect with the Joffrey on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.



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