Podcast Interview: ASHLEY WHEATER –Joffrey Ballet Artistic DirectorJoffrey Ballet Artistic Director Ashley Wheater photographed by Cheryl Mann.
Artistic Director Ashley Wheater on navigating the legendary ballet company through a pandemic while continuing to connect to their patrons using new media and technology. We also discuss the forthcoming inaugural season at the Lyric Opera as the Joffrey Ballet celebrates 25 years in Chicago.
Born in Scotland and raised in England, Wheater was trained at The Royal Ballet School. Wheater began his professional career with The Royal Ballet and danced at the London Festival Ballet, The Australian Ballet, The Joffrey Ballet, and San Francisco Ballet. In 1997, he became Ballet Master at San Francisco Ballet, and in 2002, Assistant to the Artistic Director.
In 2007, Wheater was appointed Artistic Director of The Joffrey Ballet. New work is the life blood of a company, and he has introduced numerous premieres to the repertoire. In 2008, the Boeing Corporation recognized his commitment to community outreach and diversity in the world of dance, presenting him the “Game Changer” award. In 2010, Wheater, representing The Joffrey Ballet, was named Lincoln Academy Laureate, the highest honor presented by the State of Illinois. The Chicago Tribune selected Wheater as 2013 “Chicagoan of the Year” for his contributions to dance. In 2014, Wheater accepted the Chicago Spirit of Innovation Award for The Joffrey Ballet and in 2015, he received the University of Chicago Rosenberger Medal for Outstanding Achievement in the Creative and Performing Arts. He also serves as the Artistic Director of the Joffrey Academy of Dance, the Official School of The Joffrey Ballet.
About The Joffrey Ballet
Classically trained to the highest standards, The Joffrey Ballet expresses a unique, inclusive perspective on dance, proudly reflecting the diversity of America with its Company, audiences, and repertoire, which includes major story ballets, reconstructions of masterpieces and contemporary works.
The Company’s commitment to accessibility is met through an extensive touring schedule, an innovative and highly effective education program, including the much-lauded Joffrey Academy of Dance, Official School of The Joffrey Ballet, Community Engagement programs and collaborations with myriad other visual and performing arts organizations.
Founded by visionary teacher Robert Joffrey in 1956, guided by celebrated choreographer Gerald Arpino from 1988 until 2007, The Joffrey Ballet continues to thrive under The Mary B. Galvin Artistic Director Ashley Wheater MBE and President and CEO Greg Cameron.
The Joffrey Ballet gives special thanks to Bliss! Production Sponsor the Shea Family Foundation in loving memory of Joanne Sevcik Shea. The Joffrey extends its gratitude to The Times Are Racing Production Sponsor Jane Ellen Murray Foundation. Additional support for Bliss! provided by Elizabeth Yntema in honor of women in leadership in dance.
The Joffrey Ballet is grateful for the support of its 2019-2020 Season Sponsors: Abbott Fund, Alphawood Foundation Chicago, the Daniel and Pamella DeVos Foundation, The Florian Fund, and Live Music Sponsors Sandy and Roger Deromedi, Sage Foundation, and The Marina and Arnold Tatar Fund for Live Music. The Joffrey also acknowledges our Preferred Partners Chicago Athletic Clubs and Athletico Physical Therapy, official provider of physical therapy for The Joffrey Ballet.
For more information on The Joffrey Ballet and its programs, visit joffrey.org.