Willy Shives joined The Joffrey Ballet in August 1999. Mr. Shives began his dance training in his native south Texas before receiving his formal training with the School of American Ballet and the Harkness Ballet School on full scholarship in New York. His professional career began in 1981 with the Eglevsky Ballet and he has performed with Tulsa Ballet Theatre, Minnesota Dance Theatre, Milwaukee Ballet, Pittsburgh Theatre, and Ballet Austin. His repertoire includes a vast list of 19th Century classics as well as contemporary masters including: Gerald Arpino, George Balanchine, Lew Christensen, John Cranko, Agnes de Mille, Lisa de Ribere, Choo-San Goh, Martha Graham, Loyce Houlton, Jiri Kylian, Robert Joffrey, Eugene Loring, Ruth Page, Ohad Naharin, Lynne Taylor-Corbett, Antony Tudor, and Ben Stevenson.
In 2003, Mr. Shives received the Dance Achievement Award from the Chicago Dance and Music Alliance and the Chicago Tribune named him “Chicagoan of the Year.” He was recognized as one of “Chicago Theatre’s 50 Leading Characters” in 2004. In 2008, Mr. Shives became a ballet master for The Joffrey Ballet.
Mr. Shives conducts ballet classes and master classes around the country and has staged and directed several ballets. He is married to Evie Pena-Shives, a former dancer and faculty member at the Chicago Ballet Arts and a teacher at the Walt Disney Magnet School. They have two beautiful daughters, Cecily and Ally. Mr. Shives enjoys attending the theatre, traveling, swimming, and sampling Mexican food.
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