Chicago’s Joffrey Academy Launches Contemporary Ballet Trainee Program
Amy Brandt, Pointe magazine
Joffrey Ballet artistic director Ashley Wheater announced today that the Joffrey Academy of Dance is starting a full-time Contemporary Ballet Trainee Program this fall. The school has appointed two new leaders to oversee the launch: Katlin Michael Bourgeois, who will direct the Contemporary Ballet Trainee Program, and former Joffrey artist Oğulcan Borova, head of the Studio Company and Ballet Trainee Program. “Both have a gift for nurturing students and talent, at a time when the models of training are quickly evolving,” Wheater said in a press release.
The new initiative, innovative for a major U.S. classical ballet company, is intended to prepare young dancers ages 17-plus for careers in contemporary ballet. The program’s curriculum, while offering coursework in ballet technique, partnering and pointework, will also provide classes in improvisation, floorwork, hip hop, modern and West African dance. The 15 selected dancers will train separately from Joffrey’s ballet trainees and Studio Company members, although Academy director Raymond Rodriguez said via email that they would still be considered for Joffrey’s main company.