The Joffrey Ballet’s Bridge Residency Program is designed to introduce students from Chicago Public Schools to the basic elements of classical ballet ultimately finding and training the next generation of dancers. This program provides students in grades 1 and 2 with a highly structured dance experience where they will develop life skills, creativity and physical awareness. The Joffrey Ballet is committed to providing the highest level of classical dance instruction to Chicago’s youth, thereby teaching students about the concept of pursuing dance as a career when they otherwise would not have had this exposure.
The program is structured into three phases. During the first phase, students work on perfecting basic classical exercises, increasing ballet vocabulary and improving body placement. These classes are taught twice per week at the beginning levels by a Joffrey Teaching Artist at Chicago Public Schools. Additionally, students will increase their physical awareness, strength and flexibility. They will also improve their coordination and balance through a series of exercises designed especially for this age group. Thus, they will develop a greater understanding for the technical elements of classical ballet while improving their ability to follow directions. Finally, participants will enhance their self-management skills and character traits such as respect, responsibility and teamwork. Some students will be selected to continue this program in transitional classes that take place on Saturdays at the Joffrey Academy of Dance. These classes are by invitation only and only available for students that participated in the Bridge Program at their school during the first semester of the academic year. Students that demonstrate excellent attendance, behavior and progress will be awarded a scholarship to continue studying at the Joffrey Academy of Dance, Official School of the Joffrey Ballet, as the third and final phase of the program. These students will have an opportunity to be integrated into the Children’s and Youth Division classes that summer and beyond. See the Program Overview.
May 18 – Bridge Final Presentation, 1:00 pm, Black Box Theater, Joffrey Tower
“Nothing is closer to my heart than a young person who finds a means of expression through dance. In many ways, that was my story, too.” -Ashley C. Wheater, Artistic Director of The Joffrey Ballet
Community Engagement in ABC News (February 2013)
Director of Community Engagement, Pierre Lockett is interviewed on ABC News.
Bridge Program - In the news - ABC (February 2011)