Joffrey Contemporary Ballet Trainee Program

Program Details

  • Ages 17+
  • Requirements Audition
  • Commitment Full-Time

The Joffrey Academy Contemporary Ballet Trainee Program is a full-time, one-to-two-year program for students focusing on contemporary ballet. Students are selected to participate in the Contemporary Ballet Trainee Program by invitation from Ashley Wheater and Katlin Bourgeois, current Head of Contemporary Ballet Trainee Program. The Joffrey’s new Contemporary Ballet Trainee Program, the first of its kind for the Joffrey, is intended to cultivate a versatile set of skills for future professionals in the field of professional dance, specifically related to contemporary ballet training. Students will continue to focus on the foundations of classical ballet (technique, pointe work, partnering), in addition to the defining characteristics of contemporary training: improvisation and floor work. The Contemporary Ballet Trainee Program provides dancers with a holistic training model that emphasizes a vast range of techniques. Students will establish strong artistic and technical skills through a comprehensive training and performance curriculum consisting of ballet, contemporary, modern, hip hop, choreography/improvisation, West African, partnering, and repertoire, preparing them for a future in dance and the performing arts.

2022-2023 Important Dates

Schedule subject to change.

  • Fall Semester: September 6, 2022-January 22, 2023
  • Fall Program: November 18-20, 2022
  • Thanksgiving Break - No Classes: November 23 at 1:30pm through November 27, 2022
  • Winter Break - No Classes: December 24, 2022-January 8, 2023
  • MLK Day - No Classes: January 16, 2023
  • Spring Semester: January 23-June 2, 2023
  • Winning Works Performances: March 16-19, 2023
  • Spring Break - No Classes: April 3-9, 2023
  • Spring Program: May 18-21, 2023
  • Memorial Day - No Classes: May 29, 2023
  • Studio Company & Trainees Final Presentation: June 2, 2023

Auditions and Admission

Joffrey Contemporary Ballet Trainees are selected by The Joffrey Ballet’s Mary B. Galvin Artistic Director, Abbott Academy Director, and Head of Contemporary Ballet Trainee Program. Admission to the Joffrey Contemporary Ballet Trainee Program is by audition only. Students may audition by submitting a video audition.

Visit the Academy's Audition page for more information.

Financial Aid Application

Students applying for Financial Aid for the upcoming season must submit an application by clicking here

Resources and Information

The Joffrey Academy is now offering M1 visas for international students. To learn more, please visit our International FAQ page.

The Joffrey Academy has an ongoing housing partnership with Infinite Chicago for students in the Pre-Professional Division and Professional Training Programs. Infinite Chicago is located on Wabash and Jackson, within walking distance to Joffrey Tower and designed to fit the busy lifestyle of Joffrey students living in the downtown Loop area. 

All apartments come fully furnished and include a large array of amenities including an in-unit washer and dryer, full kitchen, and cable and internet service. Housing at Infinite is unchaperoned and recommended for students 16 and older. Students 15 and under are encouraged to move to Chicago with a parent/guardian.

Joffrey Academy has a referral-based relationship with K-12 Online Private Schools. K-12 enables students to learn at their own pace, whether they are seeking greater academic challenges, in need of a more nurturing environment, or working around budding careers, travel, and extracurricular pursuits. With a flexible approach to online schooling, students can enroll at any time as a full-time student on track to receive a high school diploma, or part-time to supplement a traditional home school curriculum.

Please note: The Joffrey Academy does not take any responsibility for arranging academic needs and does not provide an accredited program for the completion of high school. All academic arrangements are the responsibility of the student.

Graduates of the Trainee Program have found positions with professional dance companies dancing successfully with The Joffrey Ballet, American Ballet Theater, New York City Ballet, Staatsballett Berlin, Dresden Semperoper,  Estonian National Ballet, Tulsa Ballet, Complexions, Cincinnati Ballet, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Atlanta Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet, Memphis Ballet, Kansas City Ballet, Texas Ballet Theatre, BalletMet, North Carolina Dance Theatre, Pittsburg Ballet Theatre, Polish National Ballet, Slovak National Ballet, Ballet West, Royal New Zealand Ballet, Alabama Ballet, Ballet Austin, Ballet Nebraska, Oklahoma City Ballet, Colorado Ballet, and more.

Required Attire

Joffrey Academy’s dress code is designed to encourage unity, discipline, and improved concentration among our students.

Option 1:

Black camisole leotard (Wear Moi Faustine), flesh-tone or pink convertible tights* (Bloch Adaptatoe convertible tights style T1935L or Body Wrappers convertible tights style A31), sheer black wrap skirt (Body Wrappers chiffon wrap skirt style P981), flesh-tone or pink shoes*

*Tights and shoe colors must match

Flesh-tone leotard required for performances

Option 2:

White fitted t-shirt (Body Wrappers short-sleeve “snug fit” pullover t-shirt style M400), gray convertible tights (Body Wrappers convertible tights in slate gray style M92, nude dance belt, white ballet shoes, and white ballet socks

Black tights, black shoes, and black socks required for performances

Attire is at the discretion of the instructor.

Meet the Contemporary Ballet Trainees