Founded by Daniel Duell, one of the world's finest ballet artistic directors, Ballet Chicago believes every aspiring artist deserves the opportunity to explore his or her full potential, and strives to make classical ballet training accessible to all talented students who have the desire to dance.
Ballet Chicago founders and professional ballet dancers Daniel Duell and Patricia Blair, a former ballerina and expert teacher, create a powerhouse of talent. Mr. Duell was a long-time student of George Balanchine; an artist who revolutionized classical ballet and is regarded as one of the most influential choreographers in the world of ballet. Mr. Duell and Ms. Blair are committed to carrying on Balanchine's legacy by providing one of the highest caliber curriculums in the nation that is based on his technique.
Ballet Chicago's objectives are to:
Ballet Chicago is dedicated to rigorous technical training in a culture that fosters personal growth, and by teaching impeccable technique as well as fundamental life skills, our students go on to find success in dance and life.
THE SCHOOL OF BALLET CHICAGO
The School of Ballet Chicago, the foundation of Ballet Chicago's programming, consists of three divisions: Preparatory Divison (ages 3-6), Student Division (ages 7-12), and Professional Division (ages 12-20). Students work through each successive level of each division, only advancing when they achieve the required skills and technique for that level. Many have the goal to achieve the skill level neceessary for placement in the Professional Division of which students are admitted by audition only. At this highest level, students observe a daily regimen that prepares them artistically, physically, and mentally, to pursue a career in professional ballet.
Currently, enrollment in the School is comprised of a culturally, economically, and geographically diverse student body with students from many of metropolitan Chicago's communities, suburbs, and areas throughout the nation and around the world.
THE BALLET CHICAGO STUDIO COMPANY
The most advanced students from the Professional Divison make-up the Ballet Chicago Studio Company, a pre-professional dance program that replicates a professional dance company experience. The Studio Company performs in our Nutcracker at the Athenaeum Theatre and a repertory program at the Harris Theater at Millennium Park.
THE BALANCHINE REPERTORY PROJECT
As part of Ballet Chciago's efforts to promote and carry on the legacy of George Balanchine, the School has fostered a strong relationship with The George Balanchine Trust. Through this relationship, we are able to acquire rights to many of Balanchine's choreographic works for the Studio Company students to perform. This is a great honor for students and allows the opportunity for Chicago to experience Balanchine's work on an annual basis. Balanchine founded the School of American Ballet and New York City Ballet and in his lifetime created over 400 ballets, nearly 100 of which are performed regularly by ballet companies worldwide.
COMMUNITY & OUTREACH
Ballet Chicago has several outreach initiatives. Dance for Tomorrow is our most treasured program and has been in place since 1996. It provides tuition-free training and free dance attire to children in foster care, adoption, subsidized guardianship, and others who are underserved.
Another exciting outreach program comes in the form of a three-organization collaboration, Dance Vision. Through this program we present new choreography by two emerging choreographers that is then danced to live music by Midwest Young Artists. This program is presented by the International Music Foundation, and has been performed at the Chicago Cultural Center admission-free to thousands of Chicago school children. We also regularly perform at community events such as the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events' Dance-Along Nutcracker and the Salvation Army's Tree of Lights ceremony.