Joffrey Academy Announces 2017 Winning Works Choreographic Competition Winners

Emerging choreographer Jimmy Orrante is among the recipients of the Joffrey Winning Works Competition, which recognizes talented ALAANA choreographers with a world premiere showcase set on the talents of the Jofrey Academy of Dance Trainee Program (photo courtesy of Mr Orrante).

The Joffrey Ballet’s official school, The Joffrey Academy of Dance, has annonced the recipients of the seventh annual Winning Works Choreographic Competition. The new class of emerging choreographers who will be honored with a presentation of their world premiere work are: Shannon Alvis, Sean Carmon, Karen Gabay and Jimmy Orrante. The announcement follows a national call for ALAANA (African, Latino(a), Asian, Arab and Native American) artists to submit applications, which began in July. The choreographers’ world premiere works will be showcased on the members of the Joffrey Academy Trainee Program and Joffrey Studio Company in “Winning Works,” presented in collaboration with the Chicago Public Library Harold Washington Library Center located at 400 South State Street. The world premieres will be presented in three performances at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturday, March 11, 2017 and 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 12, 2017. For the first time in its seven-year history, the “Winning Works” performance will be free to audiences. 

The Winning Works Choreographic Competition was created to recognize talented and emerging ALAANA choreographers and to provide them with a platform to showcase their original and innovative work. The winning choreographers are awarded a $5,000 stipend and have the opportunity to seek guidance from Joffrey Ballet’s artistic director, Ashley Wheater, and the head of Studio Company and Trainee Program, Raymond Rodriguez.

​The award is a nod to growing need for inclusiveness while forging a future in modern dance. As Wheater explained, “It is through the work of emerging choreographers that we are able to experience the world we live in through the future of our art form. Winning Works not only allows the Joffrey Studio Company and trainees the chance to perform in these world premiere works, but also creates an opportunity to showcase the inspiring choreography of these diverse and talented artists.”

Said Greg Cameron, executive director of The Joffrey Ballet, "Dance is a robust and rich language and this year, the Joffrey is honored to partner with the Chicago Public Library Harold Washington Library Center as we present the seventh annual Winning Work. Chicago Public Library Commissioner Brian Bannon and Mayor Rahm Emanuel believe in the power of storytelling, community, and the expression of dance to engage and inspire - a mission well aligned with the Winning Works program. We're thrilled to present these four choreographers and look forward to activating the Chicago Public Library Harold Washington Library Center with their unique perspectives.”

​Tickets for Winning Works at the Chicago Public Library Harold Washington Library Center will be free and information on how to reserve tickets will be released January 2017.

​The Joffrey Academy Trainee Program is a one to two-year program for students ages 17 and older who are preparing for a professional dance career. Students are selected to participate in the Trainee Program by invitation from Ashley Wheater and Raymond Rodriguez. This esteemed and rigorous program gives students a unique and well-rounded experience to prepare them for the next step in their careers. Trainees rehearse and perform classical and contemporary works from The Joffrey Ballet’s extensive repertoire and have the opportunity to work with guest choreographers throughout the year. Graduates of the Academy have gone on to dance professionally with companies throughout the world including The Joffrey Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, Staatsballett Berlin, Dresden Semperoper, Kansas City Ballet, BalletMet, Slovak National Ballet, and many more.

​For more information on the Joffrey Academy of Dance, Official School of The Joffrey Ballet and its programs please visit