Joffrey Academy of Dance Names New Head of Studio Company and Trainee Program
Christopher Marney takes over as the new Head of Studio Company and Trainee Program
Raymond Rodriguez, Abbott Academy Director of the Joffrey Academy of Dance, Official School of The Joffrey Ballet, is pleased to announce Christopher Marney as the new Head of Studio Company and Trainee Program at the Academy. Marney begins his new role on November 3, 2021, just eight weeks after the Joffrey Academy of Dance opened its new “Joffrey for All” studio space and training facilities at 1920 South Wabash Avenue.
“Christopher’s ethos of championing young people to thrive as individuals in the arts will be crucial as the Academy expands via its new studio space in Chicago’s South Loop,” said Rodriguez. “His passion will help us continue this positive momentum, add more classes, support new programs and build upon our work of creating a holistic lifestyle of a dancer.”
“I am delighted to be joining the Joffrey family at an exciting time when the dance industry is once again rising to its feet,” said Marney. “The philosophy of The Joffrey Ballet and its Academy align with my own and I am eager to bring my experience of working in ballet and contemporary dance companies across Europe as I join the melting pot of creatives associated with the Joffrey Ballet.”
Prior to this role, Marney was Artistic Director and choreographer at the Central School of Ballet in London, where he just finished a five-year tenure. During his time there, he boosted the profile of the School and prepared its students for international careers in the dance world. He commissioned and programmed repertoire for five international tours which included leading industry choreographers such as Kenneth MacMillan, Frederick Ashton, Wayne McGregor, Matthew Bourne, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, and Jasmin Vardimon.
As a dancer, Marney has worked internationally for Balletboyz, Gothenburg Ballet (Sweden), Ballet Biarritz (France), and Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures where he has danced many principal roles. He has danced works by choreographers William Forsythe, Jiri Kylian, Nacho Duato and John Cranko to name a few. He danced with Michael Clark Company in The Rite of Spring and Les Noces at Rose Hall, Lincoln Center in New York. His final performance was in 2017 with Ivan Putrov’s Men in Motion where he danced the Faun in Nijinsky’s L’Apres Midi d’un Faun in the Ukraine, a particular career highlight.
Marney was nominated for Outstanding Performance in Modern Dance two years in a row during the Critics Circle National Dance Awards and was among Dance Europe’s Outstanding Male Dancer 2013 list. In 2009, Marney was named associate artist of the UK Foundation for Dance.
As a choreographer, he has created five works for Ballet Black, which have been seen internationally. For Images of Dance he has choreographed Carnival of the Animals seen at London’s Peacock Theatre. He has created ballet for English National Ballet, Regensburg Opera House, Ballet Central, the Edinburgh festival and most recently, Lady Macbeth at the New National Theatre in Tokyo. He has also choreographed for McQueen The Play at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, and Tell Me on a Sunday at the St. James. For Matthew Bourne, Marney was the Associate Choreographer for New Adventures production of Sleeping Beauty, which performed at Orb Theatre Tokyo, Sadlers Wells London and at City Center New York.
The Joffrey Academy of Dance, Official School of The Joffrey Ballet, is committed to providing students of all ages, levels and backgrounds who have a desire to dance with an exceptional education built on a foundation of classical ballet. With the talents cultivated at the Joffrey Academy, students can pursue careers as professional dancers at companies throughout the world, higher education opportunities in dance, or success in other fields. Through the Joffrey Academy’s programs, students develop a diverse set of skills including artistry, creativity, discipline and confidence. The Joffrey Academy’s high-quality educational programming forms future audiences and support for the Joffrey and builds the organization’s reputation worldwide. The Academy occupies approximately 12,000 square feet among four state-of-the-art studios within the Exelon Education Center, housed at 10 E. Randolph Street in Joffrey Tower. Each studio meets the highest technical standard of dance flooring and sound systems, and boasts floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the high-profile corner of State and Randolph Streets.
A Growing Academy and a “Joffrey for All”
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic in March of 2020, under the leadership of Ashley Wheater MBE, The Mary B. Galvin Artistic Director, and Greg Cameron, President and Chief Executive Officer, the Joffrey developed a five-year strategic plan, set for completion in 2025, that rebrands educational programming at the Joffrey Academy and Joffrey Community Engagement under the mission “Joffrey for All.”
“Joffrey for All” envisions a three-tiered approach for a holistic Joffrey education, which include:
- Tier 1: A prospective student’s first exposure to dance via Joffrey Community Engagement
- Tier 2: Scholarships and further training at the Joffrey Academy of Dance
- Tier 3: A professional contract with The Joffrey Ballet or other major professional dance company
The establishment of the new Joffrey studios at 1920 South Wabash allows the Joffrey to offer more classes, provide more teaching opportunities, and reach more students in the Chicago region with a passion for dance than at any time in its history, while also increasing revenue through scholarship support.