Joffrey Bridge Program

Grades K-2

The Joffrey Bridge Program is aligned with The Chicago Guide for Teaching and Learning in the Arts and is designed to introduce students from Chicago Public Schools to the basic elements of classical ballet. This program provides kindergarten through second grade students with a highly structured dance experience where they also develop life skills, creativity, and physical awareness. One of the main goals of the program is to identify and train the next generation of dancers at the Joffrey Academy of Dance, Official School of The Joffrey Ballet.

✶ Phase 1 | Students receive ballet instruction at their schools

✶ Phase 2 | Select students are invited to attend Saturday class for free

                   at the Joffrey Academy

✶ Phase 3 | Students participate in a three-week summer intensive

✶ Phase 4 | Students demonstrating excellent behavior, attendance,

                   and progress are awarded full scholarships to continue

                   studying at the Joffrey Academy of Dance


 “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 Wheater, The Mary B. Galvin Artistic Director of The Joffrey Ballet

Middle School Dance Clubs

Grades 5-8

The Middle School Dance Clubs (MSDC)

The Joffrey Ballet’s longest-running school program is a weekly dance education program. Participating students and teachers learn about dance through a syllabus incorporating assessments based on Illinois Fine Arts Goals and Social Emotional Learning Standards. MSDC students work with Joffrey Teaching Artists to create original dances and have the opportunity to attend three Joffrey performances. The program culminates with two major events. The Spring Concert allows all schools to join together for a showcase of the students’ choreography, while the Intensive allows students to travel to other participating MSDC schools for a week of performances.

Many Middle School Dance Club students have had great success in their dance education and have been accepted to Chi Arts. 


“ My students started a month ago but they have already come into the awareness of what it takes to dance—concentration, focus, respect, and discipline. Characteristics that are not only for a dancer but also make the community better.” — Ms. Krystal Webb, Wentworth Elementary School


Custom Residency Programs

Grades Pre-K - 12

Custom Residency Programs are ideal for schools looking for in-depth, student-centered dance programming. Guided by Joffrey Teaching Artists, students are led through structured units to build a strong understanding of dance. Residency programs can be custom built to cater to the unique needs of every school. Programs can be adjusted according to program length, students’ ages, and levels, and can incorporate a variety of dance styles including ballet, creative movement, modern, jazz, hip-hop, Latin, and African.

 All of The Joffrey Ballet’s Custom Residency Programs meet Illinois State Goals for the Fine Arts, as appropriate for each grade level.

Dance Exploration

Age: Grades 3–5


Dance Exploration: This exciting program combines history, culture, and movement into one hour of fun, while also developing Social Emotional Learning and Fine Arts skills. Students will learn the origins and technique for Latin, Modern, Hip-Hop, Jazz, and African dance styles, with an added emphasis on ballet technique. Dance styles are incorporated into choreography that can be showcased throughout the program.

AIR (Arts Integration Residencies)

Ages: Grades K-12

AIR is a program for higher learning. Residencies are designed to improve student comprehension of school curriculum through the discipline of dance. Teaching artists will collaborate with classroom teachers to connect the program with Common Core Standards. Each class will use dance instruction to help students interpret and reinforce their studies throughout the school year.

Exelon Strobel Dancers

Advanced High School Students


The Exelon Strobel Dancers is a rigorous scholarship program offered to promising high school students. Named in honor of former Joffrey Board Chair Pamela B. Strobel, and long-time supporter Exelon Corporation, the group was founded in 2006 to help participants develop their dance skills and provide opportunities to showcase their talents. The group has performed at Millennium Park, Toyota Park, the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, Dance Chicago, the DuSable Museum of African American History, and other venues throughout Chicago. Additionally, in 2010, the Government of South Africa invited a group of Exelon Strobel Dancers to South Africa to help promote Diski Dance and the 2010 FIFA World Cup tournament.


After School Matters Summer Intensive

High school students

High School students work as apprentices or advanced apprentices in this seven-week summer partnership programs. With instruction by Joffrey dancers and Joffrey Teaching Artists, students participate in a rigorous rehearsal schedule, working with a number of guest choreographers and perform throughout the city.

As part of the intensive, each student group acts as an ensemble, perfecting a repertoire of 10-15 dances they perform throughout the program and at a final showcase in August.


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Nutcracker Student Matinees

Special thanks to our sponsors for giving Chicago Public School students the opportunity to enjoy this must-see tradition boldly reimagined for a new generation.