USA International Ballet Competition Rescheduled

The Dance World Will Come to Jackson, Mississippi, in 2023

The USA International Ballet Competition (USA IBC) will take the stage in Jackson, Mississippi, June 10-24, 2023. More than 100 dancers from around the world will
compete in Jackson for the 12th time on the stage at Thalia Mara Hall. The USA IBC is among the oldest and most prestigious international ballet competitions in the world.

The USA IBC competition was originally scheduled for June of 2022, but was rescheduled for 2023 when the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted 2020 competitions planned for Helsinki, Finland, and Varna, Bulgaria.

“USA IBC leaders worked with our sister competitions in three countries to develop new, coordinated schedules and ensure that despite the pandemic, dancers who had trained for years would still be able to compete and the world would still have the opportunity to come together for these celebrations of art and athleticism,” said Mona Nicholas, USA IBC executive director.

The forced postponements of the 2020 competitions would have moved their new dates to within months of the 2022 Jackson competition. Having three major competitions within two months would have negatively impacted all three of the IBCs. The pool of competing dancers would have been diluted and ticket sales would have suffered; the sister competitions would have essentially been competing with each other.

Instead, the four competitions came together to work out a solution. USA IBC led the way by volunteering to reschedule its competition until 2023.

“Our partners in Varna, Moscow, and Helsinki shared our belief that we should work together to make the competitions accessible to as many gifted dancers and as many
global audience members as possible,” Nicholas said. “The pandemic affected the entire world, with countries closing borders and the arts temporarily dark. Now more than ever, the people of the world need art. We need events that unify us and remind us there is still beauty in the world. These competitions do just that.”

For more information about USA IBC or becoming a sponsor, visit or contact Mona Nicholas at or call 601-355-9853 x 4.

New Competition Schedule

2021 Moscow
2022 Helsinki and Varna
2023 Jackson
2024 Varna
2025 Moscow
2026 Helsinki and Varna
2027 Jackson
2028 Varna

Impact of USA IBC in Mississippi in 2018, the most recent competition year

Total Economic impact of $12.5 million

The event generated in-state spending of more than $9.3 million, a payroll impact of more than $2.8 million and contributed $416,491 to the state general fund through tax
revenues, for a combined economic impact approaching $12.5 million.

Additionally, there were:

  • 40,400 attendees during the two-week competition and related events;
  • Ticket holders from 35 states and 25 countries;
  • 400 million media impressions worldwide;
  • 100 competing dancers from 17 nations;
  • 92 dance students from 17 states and three countries; and
  • 600 volunteers.


USA IBC / Jackson
The dance world comes to Jackson because legendary dancer and instructor Thalia Mara (1911-2003) brought it here. In 1975, the Jackson Ballet Guild invited Mara, who was then living and working in New York, to develop a professional ballet company and school for the state of Mississippi. As part of her developmental plan, Mara worked with city leaders to secure the USA IBC for the city of Jackson.

The first USA IBC was held in 1979, featuring 70 dancers from 15 countries. Robert Joffrey, renowned artistic director of the Joffrey Ballet, chaired the first international panel of jurors. In 1982, the United States Congress passed a Joint Resolution designating Jackson the official home of the International Ballet Competition.

Subsequent competitions have earned an ever-growing number of dancer applications and worldwide acclaim. Over the competition’s 40-plus-year history, many USA IBC
medalists have gone on to dance as principals in major international companies. The storied careers of Grand Prix Winners Nina Ananiashvili, Andris Liepa, Johan Kobborg,
and José Manuel Carreño were launched in Jackson. USA IBC alumni, including Jeffrey Cirio, Sarah Lane, Christine Shevchenko, Daniil Simkin, Misa Kuranaga, Isaac
Hernandez, and Jurgita Dronina, are helping to shape the ballet world today.

Varna IBC
Established in 1964, Varna IBC is the oldest event of its kind in the world. As a pioneer of the International Ballet Competitions movement, Varna IBC has set the highest
professional standards, and was later followed by the establishment of similar competitions in Moscow, Jackson, Helsinki, Lausanne, New York, Perm, Seoul,
Shanghai, and other locations.

For over half a century, Varna IBC has discovered and nurtured such legendary dancers as Mikhail Baryshnikov, Vladimir Vasiliev, Natalia Makarova, Maximiliano Guerra,
Aurelie Dupont, Vladimir Malakhov, Sylvie Guillem and Patrick Dupond. Some of the laureates have joined the Varna IBC’s prestigious jury, alongside Galina Ulanova, Yuri
Grigorovich, Serge Lifar, Alicia Alonso, and Robert Joffrey.

Moscow IBC
The Moscow IBC was established in 1969 and has been celebrated ever since as one of the world’s most important and prestigious ballet competitions. Staged at the world-famous Bolshoi Theater, Moscow IBC is recognized as a serious platform for young dancers. Legendary choreographer Yuri Grigorovich has served as the permanent chairman of the jury and artistic director of the competition since 1973.

Helsinki IBC
The Helsinki International Ballet Competition was founded by Professor Doris Laine-Almi, a former prima ballerina and director of the Finnish National Ballet. Professor Laine-Almi was inspired to found the Helsinki event after serving on the juries of international ballet competitions in Jackson, Moscow, and Varna. The first Helsinki IBC
took place in 1984. The home of the HIBC is the Finnish National Opera and Ballet.

Jackson, Varna, Moscow, and Helsinki are members of the International Federation of Ballet Competitions (IFBC), an organization founded in 2005 to coordinate international competitive activities and help young dancers develop their careers. IFBC includes 18 international ballet competitions.

Ferri-Cornejo-Levingston to perform Sept. 20 at Ford Center in Oxford

Internationally acclaimed ballet stars Alessandra Ferri and Herman Cornejo join Mississippi’s own renowned pianist Bruce Levingston to present brilliantly choreographed works set to the music of Bach, Chopin, Glass, Mozart and Rachmaninoff. The special evening of dance and music is set for 7:30 Thursday, Sept. 20, at the Gertrude C. Ford Performing Arts Center at the University of Mississippi.
The trio has taken their powerful collaboration to New York, Milan and other ballet capitals and return again to Mississippi, where Levingston is Artist in Residence at the University of Mississippi Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College. USA IBC patrons will recall their breathtaking performance as TRIO February 2016 in Oxford. Premium seats may be secured through the USA IBC by clicking here. Hurry: Limited tickets are available.
The Inn at Ole Miss is offering a 10% discount to ballet patrons who mention the USA IBC in making reservations for overnight accommodations Sept. 20.

MAC awards $26,010 operating grant to USA IBC

The USA International Ballet Competition has been awarded a $26,100 grant from the Mississippi Arts Commission (MAC). This grant is a portion of the $1.3 million in grants the Commission will award in 2018-2019 and will help the USA IBC fund operations and programming. The grants are made possible by continued funding from the Mississippi Legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts.

“Arts organizations throughout the state of Mississippi play a pivotal role in sharing the power of the arts with people from all walks of life,” said Malcolm White, executive director of MAC. “The arts are for everyone, and the Mississippi Arts Commission is pleased to support arts organizations committed to growing the presence of the arts in their communities.”

The USA IBC is the official international ballet competition for the United States, as designated by a Joint Resolution of Congress. Held in Jackson every four years, the competition attracts dancers and visitors from around the world and generates a multi-million-dollar economic impact for the state and capital city. In between competitions, the USA IBC presents a Reunion Gala performance by past medalists. It also sponsors CityDance, an ongoing ballet instructional program for students in the Jackson Public Schools.

The Mississippi Arts Commission, a state agency, serves residents by providing grants that support programs to enhance communities; assist artists and arts organizations; promote the arts in education; and celebrate Mississippi’s cultural heritage.  Established in 1968, the Mississippi Arts Commission is funded by the Mississippi Legislature, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Mississippi Endowment for the Arts at the Community Foundation of Greater Jackson and other private sources.  The agency serves as an active supporter and promoter of arts in community life and in arts education.

For information from the Mississippi Arts Commission, contact Anna Ehrgott, Communications Director, 601-359-6546 or



Offers extended to 2018 USA IBC medalists, competitors

As the 11th USA International Ballet Competition ended in June, 18 young dancers received medals and other awards. Most of these winners and 13 additional Jackson competitors also have received contract, traineeship or scholarship offers from 14 prestigious ballet companies and schools.

“Dancers come to Jackson to test themselves against the highest international ballet standards and to be seen by artistic directors who are looking to add to their companies,” Mona Nicholas, executive director, stated. “We are pleased to announce that dancers received at least 44 offers following their experience at the USA IBC.”

Companies and the invitations extended were:

American Ballet Theatre Studio Company, company membership for the 2018-2019 season:

  • Rheya Shano, Junior Bronze Medalist
  • Kanon Kimura, Semifinalist
  • Maddison Goodman

Atlanta Ballet 

  • Company contract: Katherine Barkman, Senior Silver Medalist
  • Apprenticeships: Nicole Barroso, Jury Encouragement Award winner; Isaac Mueller, Semifinalist; Emma Guertin and Fuki Takahashi
  • Atlanta Ballet 2 position: Mya Kresynak, Robert Joffrey Award winner
  • Summer intensive scholarships: Alexa Torres and Katherine Stevens

Ballet West 

  • Company contracts: Chisako Oga, Senior Bronze Medalist; Ryo Munakata, Finalist
  • Traineeships: Diego Altamirano, Semifinalist, and Luke Westerman
  • Ballet West II: Joseph Markey, Junior Bronze Medalist, and Derek Drilon

Ballet X, summer intensive scholarship:

  • Avery Tessmer

Colorado Ballet Academy, scholarships to the pre-professional division:

  • Stephen Myers, Finalist
  • Isaac Mueller, Semifinalist

Columbia Classical Ballet

  • Traineeships: Hyuma Kiyosawa, Junior Silver Medalist: Harold Mendez, Junior Bronze Medalist
  • Full-tuition school scholarship: Alexandra Manuel, Finalist

Columbia City Ballet

  • Contracts: Stephen Myers, Finalist; Alexas Torres and Princess Reid
  • Scholarships: Joseph Markey, Junior Bronze Medalist; Isaac Mueller, Semifinalist; and Arthur Erlanson

Houston Ballet, scholarships for Houston Ballet Academy professional division, summer intensive and Houston Ballet II contract:

  • Elisabeth Beyer, Junior Gold Medalist
  • Carolyne Galvao and Julia Rust, Junior Silver Medalists
  • Rheya Shano and Tia Wenkman, Junior Bronze Medalists
  • Alexandra Manuel, Finalist
  • Mya Kresnyak, Joffrey Merit Award winner
  • Hyuma Kiyosawa, Junior Silver Medalist
  • Joseph Markey, Junior Bronze Medalist

Nashville Ballet

  • Contract with Nashville Ballet II: Stephen Myers, Finalist
  • Full scholarship to 2019 summer intensive: Isaac Mueller, Semifinalist

Perm Ballet School offered a full scholarship to Isaac Mueller, Semifinalist.

The Joffrey Ballet and Joffrey Academy of Dance

  • Contracts: Sangmin Lee and Soobin Lee, Senior Silver Medalists/Best Couple; Julia Rust, Junior Silver Medalist; Derek Drilon and Princess Reid
  • Scholarships: Nicole Barroso and Razmik Marukyan, Jury Encouragement Award winners; Hyuma Kiyosawa, Junior Silver Medalist; Tia Wenkman, Junior Bronze Medalist; Albjon Gjorllaku and Stephen Myers, Finalists; and Isaac Mueller, Semifinalist

The Washington Ballet/TWB School

  • Scholarships: Diego Altamirano, Semifinalist; Harold Mendez, Junior Bronze Medalist; Rheya Shano and Tia Wenkman, Junior Bronze Medalists; Mya Kresnyak, Robert Joffrey Merit Award winner; Isaac Mueller, Semifinalist; Maddison Goodman; Alexandra Gray; Lucy Hassman; Avery Tessmer; and Luke Westerman
  • Traineeships: Dulguun Battsengel, Semifinalist; Sangmin Lee, Senior Silver Medalist; and Boris Ceballos

Tulsa Ballet

  • Apprentice contract: Alexa Torres
  • Full trainee scholarships: Isaac Mueller, Semifinalist; Stephen Myers, Finalist; Maddison Goodman; Alexandra Gray; Yaman Kelemet
  • Scholarships for the school year: Jaden Grimm and Lucy Hassman

Royal Winnipeg Ballet, school scholarships:

  • Jaden Grimm
  • Mya Kresnyak, Robert Joffrey Merit Award winner
  • Yujin Park, Finalist
  • Avery Underwood


Scholarship awards go to 19 USA IBC Dance School students

Fifteen ballet schools have awarded scholarships to 19 students of the 2018 USA International Ballet Competition Dance School. The awards were presented at the conclusion of the two-week school that was held in conjunction with the 11th USA IBC, June 10-23, in Jackson, Mississippi.

The 19 scholarship recipients were chosen from 104 dance students from four nations who completed the 2018 USA IBC Dance School. Students trained with leading teachers in ballet and contemporary dance daily and attended competition performances nightly. All classes met in the Bitsy Irby Visual Arts and Dance Center at Belhaven University, where students lived.

With amounts ranging from half tuition to full tuition for 2019 summer study programs, the scholarships were offered to the following students (alternates are in parentheses):

Kansas City Ballet – Amanda Kuebler, Colorado (Sarah Bedford, Mississippi);

Maryland Youth Ballet – Sage Jernigan, Alabama (Elle Herrington, Mississippi);

Next Generation Ballet – Wilton McDowell, Mississippi; Polly Ryals, Florida; Devonna Curtis, Mississippi;

Oklahoma City Ballet – Bella Chelette, Louisiana (Camila Araujo, Lima, Peru);

Pacific Northwest Ballet – Isabelle Rhodes, Arkansas (Shelby Rambo, Louisiana);

Texas Ballet Theatre – Victoria Mungan, Mississippi (Blaire Shelton, Mississippi);

Anaheim Ballet – Naomi Felix Aldebol, Florida (Annabelle Mack, Louisiana);

Ballet Chicago – Alana Barasorda, California (Kathryn Lawrie, Mississippi);

Ballet West – Graham Barnes, Tennessee (Kristina Lorelli, Mississippi);

Carolina Ballet – Aubree Lavergne, Louisiana (Polly Ryals, Florida);

Cincinnati Ballet – Sammy Wheat, Mississippi (Cade Butler, Mississippi); Ellie Crawford, Alabama (Lotus Drada, Louisiana);

Grand Rapids Ballet – Maxyne LeBlanc, New Brunswick, Canada (Anna Leah Jolly, Mississippi);

Houston Ballet Academy – Gwyneth Smith, Tennessee (Kyla Downey, Arizona);

Joffrey Ballet School – Connor Batson, Mississippi (Kallie Green, Maryland); Elena Remez, Washington D.C. (Elizabeth Nelson, Missouri);

Joffrey Ballet Year Long School – Carlos de Quesada, Florida (no alternate).


Medalists Announced for USA IBC XI

JACKSON, Miss., June 22, 2018 – Following two weeks of intense, world-class competition, 18 dancers from eight nations were selected as 2018 USA International Ballet Competition medalists and award recipients.

Senior Division Medalists are:

Men’s Senior Gold Medalist – Sicong Wu, China

Women’s Senior Gold Medalist – Yunting Qiu, China

Men’s Senior Silver Medalist – Sangmin Lee, Republic of Korea

Women’s Senior Silver Medalist – Soobin Lee, Republic of Korea

Women’s Senior Silver Medalist – Katherine Barkman, USA

Men’s Senior Bronze Medalist – David Schrenk, USA

Women’s Senior Bronze Medalist – Chisako Oga, USA

Best Senior Couple – Soobin Lee & Sangmin Lee, Republic of Korea

Junior Division Medalists are:

Men’s Junior Gold Medalist – No gold awarded

Women’s Junior Gold Medalist – Elisabeth Beyer, USA

Men’s Junior Silver Medalist – Hyuma Kiyosawa, Japan

Women’s Junior Silver Medalist – Julia Rust, USA

Women’s Junior Silver Medalist – Carolyne Galvao, Brazil

Men’s Junior Bronze Medalist – Harold Mendez, USA

Men’s Junior Bronze Medalist – Joseph Markey, USA

Women’s Junior Bronze Medalist – Tia Wenkman, USA

Women’s Junior Bronze Medalist – Rheya Shano, USA

Special Awards included:

Robert Joffrey Award of Merit – Mya Kresnyak, Canada

Jury Award of Encouragement – Veronica Atienza, Philippines

Jury Award of Encouragement – Nicole Klaudine Barroso, Philippines

Jury Award of Encouragement – Razmik Marukyan, Armenia

Choreography Award – Zhang Disha for “Sad Birds,” performed by Sicong Wu & Yunting Qiu

Choreography Award – Fei Bo for “Permanent Yesterday,” performed by Sicong Wu & Yunting Qiu

For videos of classical performances from 2018 and previous USA IBCs, download order form here. 

The USA IBC is a two-week, “Olympic”-style competition where tomorrow’s stars vie for gold, silver and bronze medals; cash awards; company contracts; and scholarships. The event is designated as the official international ballet competition in the United States by a Joint Resolution of Congress. Presented under the auspices of the International Dance Committee, International Theatre Institute of UNESCO, the USA IBC is held every four years in Jackson, Mississippi. For more information about USA IBC, visit or

And the winners are…

The Jury has made its decisions, selecting the following dancers as medalists and winners of other awards at the XI USA International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi. These dancers have been notified that they have won a prize and will perform in tonight’s Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Awards Gala. In tonight’s awards ceremony, they will find out which prizes they have won.

Armenia – Razmik Marukyan, Junior Men Brazil – Carolyne Galvao, Junior Women Canada – Mya Kresnyak, Junior Women China – Yunting Qiu, Senior Women; Sicong Wu – Senior Men Japan – Hyuma Kiyosawa, Junior Men Philippines – Veronica Atienza Republic of Korea – Sangmin Lee, Senior Men; Soobin Lee, Senior Women USA – Katherine Barkman, Senior Women; Chisako Oga, Senior Women; Elisabeth Beyer, Junior Women; Julia Rust, Junior Women; Rheya Shano, Junior Women; Tia Wenkman, Junior Women; David Schrenk, Senior Men; Joseph Markey, Junior Men; Harold Mendez, Junior Men

Share their victories and see them dance the Jury’s favorite selections at 7:30 p.m. Thalia Mara Hall. Tickets are at  


32 Finalists Announced at USA IBC XI

Jackson, Miss., June 18, 2018 – Thirty-two of the world’s finest young dancers will compete for gold, silver and bronze medals plus cash awards in Round III of the 2018 USA International Ballet Competition.

Named finalists for Round III are the following dancers from 10 nations:

Senior Males:

Jorge Barani, Cuba

Albjon Gjorllaku, Great Britain

Takahiro Hayashi, Japan

Yuki Kaminaka, Japan

Sangmin Lee, Republic of Korea

Ryo Munakata, USA

David Schrenk, USA

Keynald Vergara Soto, Cuba

Sicong Wu, China


Senior Females:

Veronica Atienza, Philippines

Katherine Barkman, USA

Rieko Hatato, Japan

Shin Jungyoon, Republic of Korea

Soobin Lee, Republic of Korea

Risa Mochizuki, Japan

Chisako Oga, USA

Yunting Qiu, China


Junior Males:

Hyuma Kiyosawa, Japan

Joseph Markey, USA

Razmik Marukyan, Armenia

Harold Mendez, USA

Stephen Myers, USA


Junior Females:

Nicole Barroso, Philippines

Elisabeth Beyer, USA

Carolyne Galvao, Brazil

Mya Kresnyak, Canada

Jolie Rose Lombardo, USA

Alexandra Manuel, USA

Julia Rust, USA

Rheya Shano, USA

Tia Wenkman, USA

Park Yujin, Republic of Korea

Each finalist will receive a $1,500 travel stipend, awarded through the Peggy Mize Fund of the Community Foundation for Mississippi. The 32 dancers will perform both classical and contemporary pieces in Round III, June 19-21. Jurors will select medalists and other award winners based solely on the competitors’ Round III scores.

USA IBC XI jurors are John Meehan, USA, chairman; Stanton Welch AM, Australia; André Lewis, Canada; Feng Ying, China; Xiomara Reyes, Cuba; Hae Shik Kim, Republic of Korea; Gennadi Nedvigin, Russia; Trinidad Vives, Spain; Vadim Pisarev, Ukraine; and Ashley Wheater, United Kingdom.

USA IBC medalists and award winners will be announced and honored at the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Awards Gala June 22. Tickets to the Round III performances, Awards Gala and June 23 Encore Gala are available at All performances begin at 7:30 p.m. at Thalia Mara Hall.

The USA IBC is a two-week, “Olympic”-style competition where tomorrow’s stars vie for gold, silver and bronze medals; cash awards; company contracts; and scholarships. The event is designated as the official international ballet competition in the United States by a Joint Resolution of Congress. Presented under the auspices of the International Dance Committee, International Theatre Institute of UNESCO, the USA IBC is held every four years in Jackson, Miss., in the tradition of sister competitions in Varna, Bulgaria; Moscow, Russia; and Helsinki, Finland. The USA IBC is a member of the International Federation of Ballet Competitions and the International Dance Council.

“Honoring Robert Joffrey” Discussion is 10 a.m. Monday, June 18

Robert Joffrey, co-founder of The Joffrey Ballet, is being remembered at the 2018 USA International Ballet Competition. Joffrey was instrumental in the launch of the first IBC in Jackson in 1979 and chaired the juries for the first three Jackson competitions.

Representatives of the Gerald Arpino and Robert Joffrey Foundation will present a panel discussion on Joffrey at 10 a.m. Monday, June 18, in the 3rd Floor Theatre of the Jackson Convention Complex. Speakers include Charthel Estner, Trinette Singleton, and Nicole Duffy Robertson. Ashley Wheater, artistic director of the Joffrey Ballet, will moderate.

Charthel Arthur Estner began her dance training in Pasadena, California, and also had one year of classes with Mme. Bronislava Nijinska. She went to New York after high school and was given a full scholarship to the Joffrey Ballet School, soon becoming a member of the Joffrey Ballet. She performed with the company for 13 years as a principal dancer touring the United States, Russia, Canada, London and Vienna. She performed twice at the White House. During her years with the Joffrey she created roles and performed in the works of Joffrey and Arpino, Balanchine, Robbins, Ashton, Tudor, Jooss, DeMille, Ailey, Massine, and Fokine, among others. She, her husband, and son moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan, to establish a professional ballet school in 1983. The School of the Grand Rapids Ballet has produced dancers that have gone on to major companies throughout the United States. As artist director of the Grand Rapids Ballet for 10 years, Estner raised the level of the company from a small civic group to a professional ballet company. Robert Joffrey asked her to join him to instruct at his Joffrey Workshop in San Antonio, Texas, where she taught each summer from 1981 until 1992. She rejoined the Joffrey Ballet as a ballet master in 1998 and can be seen in the 2003 Robert Altman feature film “The Company,” as well as the 2012 documentary “Joffrey, Mavericks of American Dance.” Retiring from the Joffrey Ballet in 2011, she continues to guest teach and stage Arpino and Joffrey ballets throughout the world. Currently she is Executive Director of The Gerald Arpino Foundation, the licensor of the two men’s works.

Trinette Singleton began her professional career with New York’s Joffrey Ballet in 1965.  Upon graduating from high school, she attended The Joffrey Ballet School, NYC, on full scholarship. She joined the company a year later and toured the U.S, Canada, Mexico, and Europe, performing in ballets by notable choreographers such as Joffrey, Arpino, Ashton, Balanchine, Cranko, DeMille, Jooss, Tharp, and Tudor. She has performed at the White House for two presidents and King Olaf of Norway. She appeared on Broadway with The Joffrey as part of Nureyev and Friends, Tribute to Diaghelev. She was thrust into national prominence in 1967, appearing in the multi-media ballet, Astarte, created on her by her mentor, Robert Joffrey. She was the first American dancer to appear on the cover of Time magazine.Following her performing years, she was administrative assistant to Robert Joffrey and Ballet Mistress for the company, 1979-1984.  After the birth of her daughter in 1984, she joined the faculty of The Joffrey Ballet School, NYC, teaching until 2004. In 2002, she restaged Astarte for the Joffrey Ballet, Chicago. Currently, Singleton is Co-Artistic Director of Repertory Dance Theatre in Allentown, Pennsylvania. She is on the faculty at DeSales University, Center Valley, Pennsylvania, where she teaches ballet, pointe and partnering technique, as well as directing the Conservatory of Dance. For the past 15 years, she has been on the faculty of The Joffrey Texas Workshop in San Antonio, set up by Robert Joffrey 40 years ago. Singleton serves on the Advisory Board for Cecchetti USA, and is frequently a guest Master Teacher at their seminars. She is an honorary member of Cecchetti International Classical Ballet. In 2010, she was appointed to the Board of Directors for the Gerald Arpino Foundation, a position she continues in. She holds her Licentiate, Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance, London, England, and her Doctor of Fine Arts, Honoris Causa, DeSales University.

Nicole Duffy Robertson is a co-founder and Associate Artistic Director of the New York Dance Project. She danced with the Joffrey Ballet for over a decade, based both in New York and Chicago, performing works by Joffrey, Arpino, Ashton, Balanchine, Cranko, DeMille, Limon, Massine, and Nijinska, among many others. She is a répétiteur for The Gerald Arpino Foundation, most recently staging Arpino’s Light Rain and assisting Trinette Singleton in the reconstruction of Robert Joffrey’s Gamelan. She teaches nationally and internationally, and is on the faculty of the Ballet Hispanico School, Marymount Manhattan College, and a guest teacher at STEPS on Broadway. Duffy was raised in Puerto Rico, where she began her training with Ana Garcia and Maria Carrera at Ballets de San Juan, dancing the classical repertory. She has a B.A. in Art History from Columbia University, and is a master’s candidate at New York University’s Gallatin School. Her writing has been published in The Massachussetts Review, Eye on Dance and the Arts, and the NYU journal Esferas.

Ashley Wheater was born in Scotland and raised in England, where he 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.