May 1, 2012

Contact: Eric Eatherly/Beth Silverman
The Silverman Group, Inc.
Eric [at] silvermangroupchicago [dot] com



Chicago – May 2, 2012 – The Joffrey Ballet is pleased to welcome to the artistic team Gerard Charles, who will join the company as a Ballet Master beginning in July.  Charles has worked with BalletMet Columbus of Columbus, Ohio for 26 years, first as a dancer then as Ballet Master, and for the last 10 years as Artistic Director.  Charles will join current Ballet Masters Nicolas Blanc and Graca Sales under the artistic direction of Ashley C. Wheater.  Joffrey Ballet Master and former dancer Willy Shives will transition to an instructor role with the Joffrey Academy of Dance.




Charles has been recognized for his pioneering collaborations with other organizations like Jazz Arts Group, Phoenix Theater, Shadowbox Live and The Ohio State University.  He has received a National Endowment for the Arts Choreographic Fellowship and in 2011 was awarded the Columbus Arts Endowment Raymond J. Hanley Fellowship.  Charles will work with BalletMet to launch its 2012-13 season, kicked off by the Global Dance Stars Gala on August 18, 2012.




“I’ve known Gerard for many years and greatly respect his knowledge, experience and artistry,” said Wheater.  “Gerard has a passion for being in the studio, working directly with the dancers.  This will be a huge benefit for us.  The job of a ballet master is not well understood, but is critically important to a dancer’s individual growth and the quality of the performance.”




"The Joffrey Ballet is experiencing unprecedented growth this year, setting all-time records for ticket sales, attendance, academy enrollment and contributed revenue,” said Joffrey Executive Director Christopher Clinton Conway.  “The recruitment and retention of top talent such as Gerard Charles makes this possible."


"All of us at BalletMet greatly appreciate Gerard’s leadership, energy and creativity during his long tenure.  Our community has benefited from his leadership in developing a diverse and balanced repertoire that includes classical masterpieces like The Sleeping Beauty, cutting edge new works like DanceTech and 30 X 30, and family favorites such as Alice in Wonderland and his brilliant version of The Nutcracker which has entertained audiences in Columbus and on tour,” said BalletMet Board Chair Mary Duffey.


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 and audiences and repertoire which includes major story-ballets, reconstructions of masterpieces and contemporary works.  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.  The Joffrey Ballet is currently concluding its 56th season with performances of “Spring Desire,” featuring choreography by Jerome Robbins, Edwaard Liang and a World Premiere by Val Caniparoli, at the Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress Parkway, through Sunday, May 6.  Tickets are available by phone at (800) 982-2787 or online at  For more information on The Joffrey Ballet please visit


About BalletMet Columbus


BalletMet Columbus, renowned for its versatility and innovative repertory, ranks among the nation’s largest dance companies with 25 full time dancers, and its Dance Academy ranks among the five largest professional dance training centers. Since its inception in 1978, BalletMet has added 154 company premieres to its repertoire and produced 129 world premieres. It has also developed DanceReach, a series of educational and outreach programs that serve nearly 30,000 people annually; and awards up to 70 scholarships each year to promising young dancers at its Academy. It has performed to acclaim in New York, Moscow, Poland, Spain, Egypt and many cities and dance festivals in the United States.


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