[Chicago, IL] – Joffrey Ballet Artistic Director Ashley Wheater and Executive Director Greg Cameron announced today that Ballet Master Gerard Charles has been promoted to Director of Artistic Operations, effective immediately. A newly created position within the Joffrey, Charles’ duties will now encompass all production planning and implementation, including being a facilitator between production departments. With this primarily administrative position he will still maintain core artistic roles, including daily contact with the dancers.
“Gerard has been an accomplished dancer, choreographer, teacher and artistic director, so he knows the work, communication and attention to detail necessary to fully mount any production, whether at home in Chicago or on tour,” noted Wheater. “It’s his unique background and experience that makes him ideal for this position, which will allow me to focus on maintaining artistic excellence as well as the company’s long-term artistic vision.”
“Gerard’s new role will help us streamline the production process, create more efficient and effective communication between artists, designers, crew and facility managers,” added Cameron. “As the Joffrey continues to grow and pursue ever-higher levels of excellence, a role like this is key to making sure our entire operation implements best practices.”
Born in Folkestone, England, Charles received his dance training from Moya Kennedy and at the Royal Ballet School in London. He danced professionally for Ballet International in London, Milwaukee Ballet and BalletMet in roles ranging from corps de ballet to Principal. On retiring from the stage, he served as Ballet Master for BalletMet and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens. He became Associate Artistic Director of BalletMet in 1998 and promoted to Artistic Director in 2001. Under his leadership the company continued its artistic and financial growth, commissioning over 50 world premieres and multiple collaborations with other arts organizations. He has choreographed and staged works internationally and received an NEA Choreographic Fellowship.
In related news, Kirsty Mackellar has been promoted from General Management Associate to Company Manager and will manage all aspects of the day-to-day needs of the dancers and Joffrey guest artists; As Director of Production, Claude Binder continues his leadership role and maintains responsibility for all matters that relate to working with theaters at home and on tour; and Blair Baldwin has been named Artistic and Production Business Administrator, overseeing contracts, agreements, licenses and record-keeping.
The Joffrey Ballet celebrates 20 years of the company calling Chicago home in the upcoming 2014-15 season. The season launches September 18-21 with a one-weekend-only engagement of two Joffrey repertory favorites – George Balanchine’s Prodigal Son and Antony Tudor’s Lilac Garden – along with the Joffrey/Chicago Premiere of Yuri Possokhov’s Asian-themed RAkU. The 20th Chicago Anniversary season features both company favorites and a slate of eight premieres. For more information on The Joffrey Ballet and its programs, please visit joffrey.org.
[Photo of Gerard Charles courtesy Joffrey Ballet]